Minors completes Town comeback
Captain Brandon Minors' 86th minute header completed a dramatic second-half comeback victory for Dandy Town in their opening Dudley Eve match at Bernard Park, and Devonshire Cougars now face another early exit from the competition.
Minors rose high to head home a right wing corner from substitute Saki Tuzo and complete a turnaround by Town who looked set to pay the price for a defensive error in the first half which resulted in Cougars' opener from Domico Coddington and a penalty miss from Damon Ming midway through the second half.
However, Cougars' lack of form in the competition continued for a second straight year, leaving them struggling to advance from their group.
Last year Cougars suffered defeats at the hands of St George's and Dandy Town, who beat them 4-1 in their second match.
Coddington, who gave them the lead in the 21st minute of that match, broke the deadlock this time in the 22nd minute when he pounced on a dangerous pass across the Town back line to Kyle Wade and beat goalkeeper Treadwell Gibbons with his shot from close range.
Cougars were looking the better team in the first half but failed to add to their tally. A couple of low saves by the two 'keepers Gibbons and Kioshi Trott of Cougars in the space of a minute late in the first half kept the score at 1-0, as Trott turned Deashun Butterfield's effort around the near post and Gibbons pushed aside a Coddington effort.
Gradually Town began to fight back in the second half as Cougars lost the upper hand from the first half. Damon Ming put a left footed effort just over the bar from 20 yards. Ming was causing problems for the Cougars defence with his pace and in the 67th minute they got the opportunity to draw level when the overlapping Terrence Webb was fouled inside the box by fullback Darren Williams, leaving referee Ronue Cann to award the penalty. However, Ming blasted his effort over the bar.
The miss did not take the spark out of Town, however, as they kept pushing forward and were rewarded six minutes later when a cross from the right was parried by Trott and Ming followed up to drive the ball home from 10 yards despite a slight deflection off a defender. Town kept on the pressure in search of a winner and it came with four minutes remaining when the unmarked Minors headed home Tuzo's corner to give Town the victory. He also scored Town's first goal against Cougars in the Dudley Eve last year.
Referee Cann booked six players — Seion Darrell, K'wonde Lathan and Damon Ming of Town and Coddington, Philip Parsons and Darius Cox of Cougars. The competition continues on Saturday with an afternoon double-header at Bernard Park with both Cougars and Southampton Rangers needing victories to stay in the competition. Rangers take on North Village in the 3pm opener and Cougars play Somerset at 5pm.