Symonds sad to see old side crash out to Wells’ strike
Legendary sportsman Cal (Bummy) Symonds has “mixed emotions” over Nahki Wells’ FA Cup pearler.
While the local Sports Hall of Famer is happy to see his younger compatriot dominate the highlight reels, he also expressed disappointment as Wells’ thumping goal dumped his former club Rochdale out of the English FA Cup.
The 21-year-old Bradford City striker gave another glimpse of the enormous potential he possesses when he came on as a substitute to bang in the eventual game winner with a humdinger that flew into the top left corner from distance.
“I am happy for Nahki because he came off the bench and scored a great goal in an FA Cup game,” said Symonds, who had a playing stint with Rochdale in the 1950s. “But I do have mixed emotions because he sunk my side, he put a dagger in my team.”
Symonds said Wells’ absolute belter will have done his confidence the world of good.
“I’m happy for him because this achievement will boost his confidence and give him some pride,” he added. “He hasn’t matured yet, but he’s getting the experience in the British game. This is one way how our football can grow in Bermuda, getting as many players as possible into the British game to get that experience.”
During his stint at Rochdale Symonds played in a FA Cup tie against Charlton Athletic. Rochdale suffered a heavy defeat on that occasion, losing 4-1 to their opponents.
“Charlton had great players in those days,” he said. “It’s a big deal playing in the FA Cup and Charlton used to be a good football club years ago.”
Wells’ stunning strike was just reward for the hard work he has put into target practise lately.
“I’ve been staying after training to do some shooting from 30 yards and doing a lot of finishing, which obviously paid off,” he told
The Royal Gazette. “The manager said we have to keep the finishing up because we are not scoring enough goals.”
Bermuda Football Association’s 2009/10 MVP rates his ruthless goal against Rochdale as his best to date.
“It was definitely the best goal I’ve scored. I won the ball off their midfielder deep in my own half and broke free,” he recalled.
“I continued to dribble and noticed it was a clear counterattack and I had to chose my options right. My team-mates made great runs which gifted me some space and I just let one rip and a second later it was in the top bin.
“I know what I am capable of and know that I have the ability to strike the ball from that distance. But to score in that match and at the stage in the game was even better, it just felt like the world was on my shoulders at that point. It wasn’t even a crowded stadium, but it still felt as though there was ten thousand people there.”
As for dumping Symonds’ former team out of the FA Cup, Wells smiled: “I didn’t even know that he played for Rochdale, but it’s nice to know that.
“Obviously they are a league above us. They have a lot of high expectations as opposed to us, so it was a lot less pressure on us and we delivered.“