Cougars brush Boulevard aside
Devonshire Cougars 2 Boulevars Blazers 0
Devonshire Cougars started their Premier Division campaign off on the front foot after securing an impressive shutout victory at home to Boulevard yesterday.
Erin Butterfield slotted home from inside of the box to send the hosts into the break with a 1-0 advantage before Cris Caisey’s late 40-yard thunderbolt made the points safe.
Cougars’s margin of victory could have easily been wider had they capitalised on more of their chances while Caisey was unlucky not to grab a second after his blast from outside of the area cannoned off the bar.
Vance Brown, the Cougars coach, praised his players’ hard work ethic and the manner in which they bounced back from a heavy 7-0 trouncing against champions Robin Hood in the Dudley Eve Trophy in their previous outing.
“They had a tough result last week and what a way to respond,” Brown said. “The guys really worked hard today.
“We didn’t play badly last week. So we just had to keep it going and put away our chances and I thought the team played well.
“They [Boulevard] didn’t come as we thought they would, which helped our game. But other than that, it all goes to the boys, they worked hard.”
Cougars’ victory came at a cost as forwards Trey Tucker and Drewonde Bascome both went off injured either side of the break.
“They both went off with hamstring injuries,” Brown confirmed. “We hope they will be back soon.”
After a cagey start by both teams, Boulevard had the first real chance of the game. Striker Ian Coke was played through by a defence-splitting pass but Zeko White, the Cougars captain and central defender, recovered to deal with the threat.
Cougars responded with Tucker forcing Antione Famous, the Boulevard goalkeeper, to turn his effort around the near post. Famous also did well to tip Zeko White’s header over the bar from the ensuing corner.
The home side controlled possession, but were nearly caught on the counter attack by their opponents on two occasions. First, Aldonte Smith had an angled shot from just inside the box saved by Ajai Daniels, the Cougars goalkeeper.
Coke then lobbed a long pass down the middle just wide of an empty net under pressure from the charging Daniels.
Cougars’ slick movement gradually stretched the visitors and created space in the attacking third where they mounted waves of attacks in search of the breakthrough.
Playmaker Shaki Pearman, who did a superb job at both ends of the pitch and was at the heart of most of Cougars’ attacks, had a shot in the box blocked by defender Jaleel Crockwell.
Butterfield then had a spectacular overhead kick from Pearman’s corner sail just over the bar.
By now it was not a matter of whether Cougars would score, but rather when and Boulevard’s luck finally ran out when Butterfield controlled Tucker’s pass, turned sharply in the box and planted his shot into the far corner.
It was all one-way traffic after the restart with Cougars firing on all cylinders and moving for the kill. Boulevard were fortunate to escape punishment after Pearman chipped Teron Butterfield’s wayward pass from 30 yards out just wide. Zari Simmons and Bascome then fired wide as Cougars kept the pressure on.
Boulevard barely had a pulse at this stage of the game but they nearly equalised against the run of play. Coke got behind the defence and squared the ball in the middle but team-mate Khiry Easton was unable to connect cleanly.
Cougars’ charge was temporarily halted as Brown was forced to make another change after Bascome pulled his hamstring and was replaced by substitute Shaki Swan.
However, the setback did little to disrupt their flow as they continued to pile on the pressure with Samuels having a header saved before Caisey brought the crowd rushing to their feet with a gem of a goal.
The experienced midfielder controlled Famous’s goal kick straight at him with his chest just inside of Boulevard territory before beating the stranded goalkeeper off his line with shot that flew into the left side of goal.
Caisey went close to grabbing a second when his shot from 25 yards out crashed onto the bar as the hosts finished strongly.
Butterfield 30, Caisey 75
Devonshire (4-3-3): A Daniels — Zekiro White, Zeko White, C Maybury, D Williams — Z Simmons, C Caisey, S Pearman (sub: E Darrell, 80)- T Tucker (sub: J Samuels, 31), E Butterfield, D Bascome (sub: S Swan, 71). Substitutes not used: J Guerrero, J Wade, N Simmons.
Boulevard (4-2-3-1): A Famous — T Butterfield, J Crockwell (sub: T Stovell, 61min), J Williams, N Augustus — D Taylor, Z Stovell, N Smith, K Easton, A Smith — I Coke.
Booked: Coke, A Smith, Augustus, Williams.
Referee: G Swainson
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