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We've proven we can hold our own Hogges coach Lowe

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Bermuda Hogges goalkeeper Tahj Bell punches a cross during their match against Ocean City FC at BAA Field on Saturday night. Hogges and City drew 1-1.

Hogges 1 Ocean City 1Bermuda Hogges coach Maurice Lowe believes his team’s hard-fought draw against Ocean City FC has given his players the belief they can more than hold their own against the league’s top teams.Hogges, after two successive home defeats, picked up their first point of the season on Saturday after coming from behind to snatch a share of the spoils against a physical and well-organised City side at BAA Field.The visitors had looked set to grab a victory when burly defender Kevin Strunk powered home a close range near post header from a 70th minute corner.But the Hogges dug deep and struck back ten minutes from time when substitute Domico Coddington cut inside from the left wing and rifled in a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Pat Hannigan from the edge of the area.With Hogges heading on their first road trip of the season to New Jersey this week, where they will play four matches in just seven days, Lowe admitted he was relieved to see his side halt their two-game losing run.“It feels good to get off the mark,” said Lowe. “We’ve been competitive all season and I don’t think the results we’ve had so far have been a fair reflection of how we’ve played.“It was important to get something out of this game and I think it will give the players and the coaches greater belief in what were doing.“We showed a lot of character to come back after going a goal down.”Although Hogges created the better chances, with Antwan Russell and Angelo Simmons both going close to opening the scoring, they were a little fortunate to finish the first half on level terms.Moments before the break Tahj Bell was called upon to smoother a shot from City striker Jack Bailey, while the visitor’s Max Hamilton rattled the Hogges goalkeeper’s crossbar with a thunderous strike from distance.Soon after the break, though, it was Hogges who should have taken the lead when striker Russell, returning from a one-game suspension, saw a weak effort denied by Hannigan.A defence-splitting pass from skipper Keishen Bean had released Russell, who timed his run to perfection but couldn’t find the required finish with only the onrushing Hannigan to beat.At the other end, the impressive Tahj Bell gave a commanding performance between the sticks for Hogges, taking the pressure off his backline by coming and collecting almost every cross he came for.Even so, City’s strategy of bombarding the Hogges box with aerial balls at every opportunity was still troubling the Hogges defence, and there was a sense of inevitability when the visitors opened the scoring via a flag kick that Strunk got on the end of.Sensing the high ball was Hogges’ weakness, City coach Neil Holloway urged his players to expose that perceived achilles heel by “dumping it in the box” in search for a winner.But with Hogges appearing like they were slipping to a third successive defeat, Coddington came to their rescue with a superb finish to earn them a well-deserved draw.Lowe’s side are now braced for a “gruesome” schedule of away games which kick off on Wednesday against mid-table Westchester Flames.“We will look to rotate our players again (against Westchester) which is not a problem because we have plenty of quality,” said Lowe, who handed first starts of the season to fit-again defender Marquel Waldron, midfielder Chris Casey and right back Seion Darrell at the weekend. “It’s going to be a gruesome trip as we have four games in seven days.”Bermuda Hogges: T Bell, S Darrell, J Bather, C Casey, M Waldron, R Trott, K Steede, K Bean, A Simmons (K Tucker, 67), A Russell, D Ming, (D Coddington, 67)Substitutes not used: M Crockwell, C Castle, R LeeGoals: Coddington, 80Ocean City: P Hannigan, C Williams, S Pistone, K Strunk, M Hamilton, L Mahan (J Roach, 45), K Curran, D Dove, J Chapman, J Granese, J Bailey (C Teel, 85)Substitutes not used: J McCarthy, M Leslie, J Pio, A WeidmanGoals: Strunk, 70Yellow cards: K Curran, J Bailey, J ChapmanReferee: A FrancisMan of the match: T Bell (Hogges)