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Hornets dig deep after Friendship blow

Photo by Nicola MuirheadOn the ball: Town defender Korvon Tucker makes a pass upfield as Jarizinho Bassett watches at St John's Field yesterday.

Dandy Town Hornets 3

St George’s 2

Dandy Town Hornets hit back from the disappointment of having the Friendship Trophy taken away by the Bermuda Football Association, by beating St George’s Colts at St John’s Field to move up to sixth in the table.

The defending league champions were stripped of the Friendship Trophy title for fielding Kevin Hurdle as a substitute when he was not listed on the teamsheet against Robin Hood in the New Year’s Day final.

Hurdle and his coach Jomar Wilkinson were both suspended for one game by the BFA over the incident.

Yesterday, however, Hornets picked up another three points to close the gap to within three of the leaders after top pair PHC Zebras and Devonshire Cougars both lost at the weekend.

Town were in a no-nonsense mood against a side they recently thrashed 6-0 in the Friendship Trophy quarter-finals, taking a 3-0 lead by the hour mark after two early goals in the second half by teenager Ayshaun Smith. St George’s gave the scoreline some respectability with two goals in the space of six minutes midway through the second period.

“My team seems to like to do things hard, but we’re still a work in progress,” said Dennis Zuill, coaching the Hornets in the absence of Wilkinson. “We’re still playing 16-year-olds every game so there is still room for improvement. I’m very happy with the result.

“St George’s made it close in the end and they come from a similar cloth like us, no guts, no glory, and were never going to lay down.

“The disappointment is we’re not putting teams away but they showed good character and good strength to see this one through. This was the hardest test for them today, to go and see this one through with that [Friendship Trophy ruling] still on their mind.”

Town showed their intentions from the outset with goalkeeper Zeko Burgess put under early pressure. Town broke the deadlock in the nineteenth minute when Smith’s run through the St George’s defence was stopped by captain David Signor’s challenge. Damon Ming stepped up to place his spot-kick low to the right of the diving Burgess.

Town were forced into a substitution minutes later when Reiko Trott limped off and was replaced by Jahtino Richardson-Martin.

The second half started with Town still in control as teenage midfielder Amar Lewis’s shot on the turn was inches too high. St George’s started the second half with striker Jarreau Hayward switching to a midfield role in a bid to strengthen that area.

Town struck twice in the space of eight minutes to put the match out of St George’s reach, with Lewis feeding the perfect pass for Smith to run behind the defence and score into the far corner in the 52nd minute.

Another ball into the box on the hour by Korvon Tucker set up Smith again as he raced through on the right side before smashing a shot into the roof of the net.

Another 6-0 win was starting to look likely, but St George’s showed tremendous character after that to pull back two quick goals in almost identical fashion. Jarizinho Bassett scored the first when he blasted into the roof of the net after slack defending by Town. In the 70th minute Dominique Lambert drive home from close range after a free kick was driven into the area to make it 3-2.

Tempers started to flare as things got tense in the last 20 minutes with Town substitute Justin Denbrook booked for a two-footed tackle which angered Kameron Fox, the St George’s coach, who was subsequently ordered from the bench.

The defeat dropped St George’s to the bottom of the table, but Fox had praise for the way his team battled back from a three-goal deficit.

“Week in, week out we’re showing a fighting character but we need to start that from the beginning,” Fox said. “It’s never-say-die down in St George’s and that’s what I enjoy down there. We’re going to do better as we go forward, we only have three away games in the second half and the rest are down at Wellington Oval.”

Hayward has returned to the team after an absence of about a year and Fox is happy to have him back for the second half of the season.

“He hasn’t played in almost a year and a bit and it’s taking time to get used to the conditions,” Fox said.

Dandy Town (4-4-2): M Crockwell — K Tucker, B Minors, G Dyer, D Ming — R Trott (sub: J Richardson-Martin, 25min), F Frankson, A Lewis, J Swan (sub: J Stowe, 85) — A Simmons, A Smith. Subs not used: A Furbert, H Butterfield, C Burgess. Booked: Lewis, Stowe.

St George’s (4-3-3): Z Burgess — K Bean, D Signor, T Govia, E Signor — K Denbrook (sub: J Denbrook, 59), M Simmons (sub: J Daniels, 66)), R Smith — D Lambert, J Hayward, J Bassett (sub: dd Darrell, 70). Subs not used: J Darrell, J Anderson, G Wade, C Marshall, K Greaves. Booked: Simmons, Darrell, J Denbrook.