Village end Hood’s title hopes
North Village 1 Robin Hood
North Village earned a vital point to retain their top-flight status for next season after holding Robin Hood to a draw at Bernard Park yesterday.
Antwan Russell and Keith Jennings traded penalties either side of the break in a tight contest. The result moved Village to the safety of 18 points, which is beyond the reach of Somerset Trojans and Paget Lions, and also dashed Hood's title hopes which were already slim at best going into the match.
Village had the first chance of the match which came in the fifteenth minute.
Midfielder Jonathan Briers linked up well with striker Jaizel Smith-DeShields just outside of the box but failed to get enough boot on his effort, which was easy pickings for Hood goalkeeper Dale Eve.
The home side threatened again when Rai Simons ran into open space out wide and crossed in the middle, where Jennings fired over from ten yards.
After weathering the early onslaught, Hood finally got a foothold in the match and started creating openings at the opposite end of the pitch during a good spell of possession.
The pressure eventually told on Village when Russell went sprawling in the box under a late challenge from defender Jecoa Thomas, referee Martin Wyer pointing towards the penalty spot without any hesitation.
Russell was clinical from 12 yards as he sent Tahj Bell, the Village goalkeeper, the wrong way to put the visiting side out in front. Bell produced a fine save to keep out Shakir Smith's delightful lob and then breathed a sigh of relief when Ereico Outerbridge hit the rebound into orbit.
Outerbridge also headed Russell's corner over the bar and then flashed a shot just wide of the target as Hood ended the first half on the front foot.
The visiting side picked up where they left off at the start of the second half, Russell firing just wide from outside of the box after spotting Bell off his line.
Hood squandered another glorious opportunity when Russell's pass put Aaron Nelson in behind but the midfielder was unable to capitalise with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Randy Spence, the Village coach, replaced forward Pierre Smith with substitute Chekai Caisey in the 69th minute and the tactic worked like a charm as Caisey won a penalty during his first possession of the ball.
Caisey drove into the box where he was brought down by Hood captain Jaylon Bather.
Jennings sent Eve the wrong way with a firm, low shot into the left bottom corner to wipe out the arrears. Bather nearly redeemed himself in stoppage time, however, Bell was equal to the task as he tipped the defender's free kick over the bar.
North Village (4-3-3): T Bell — Z Hendrickson (sub: G Butterfield, 78min), J Thomas, K Dill, J Davis — P Castle, J Briers, R Simons — K Jennings, P Smith (sub: C Caisey, 69), J Smith-DeShields. Substitutes not used: K Knights, D Dillas, W Shakir. Booked: Simons.
Robin Hood (4-4-2): D Eve — C Castle, J Bather, J Barry Nusum, T Bean (sub: T Goater, 69) — P Parsons, C Ryan, A Nelson, E Outerbridge — S Smith, A Russell. Substitutes not used: D Andrade, L Symonds.
Referee: M Wyer.