Cougars cruise past Trojans
Devonshire Cougars 4 Somerset Trojans 1
Devonshire Cougars kept their Dudley Eve hopes alive with an emphatic victory in their ‘must-win' match against defending champions Somerset Trojans.
Cougars, who lost their opening Group A match against Dandy Town, returned to winning ways with a convincing performance at St John's Field on Saturday to march into the semi-finals of the competition.
Bizarrely, the match was delayed after Trojans goalkeeper Shaquille Bean was ordered to remove his metal eyebrow piercing by referee Kuhne Evans before he could take the field for safety reasons.
It took Trojans' coaching staff around ten minutes to dislodge the piece of jewellery, but when the game finally got underway Cougars wasted no time in gaining the ascendancy.
Spotting Bean marginally off his line, Cougars new-boy Philip Parsons opened the scoring on seven minutes with a sublime strike from distance after bursting through the midfield.
Trojans, who beat North Village in last year's final, were struggling to impose themselves on proceedings and would have fallen further behind had it not been for a goalline clearance from Jameko Harvey-Outerbridge after Kwame Steede had flicked a Domico Coddington cross past keeper Bean.
Cougars doubled their advantage soon after when the dangerous Coddington was afforded too much and space, firing a low shot from the edge of the box beyond Bean's outstretched dive.
Despite Cougars' first half domination, Trojans pulled a goal back before the break after being awarded a penalty when Darren Williams was adjudged to have fouled Leo Burgess who stepped up to convert from the spot.
After the interval Trojans continued to struggle to combat Cougars' attacking brio, with the Big Cats adding a third when midfielder Chris Caisey scored a penalty after defender Trevin Ming handled in the box.
Coddington should have made it four after weaving through Trojans' porous defence, taking the ball around the advancing Bean before slicing his shot into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.
Cougars kept on creating chances at will, with full back Jesse Seymour completing the rout with a close range finish on 80 minutes.
Dennis Brown, who guided Cougars to the Premier Division, FA Cup and Friendship Trophy last season, was encouraged by his team's display although he believed they should have won by an even greater margin.
“One thing we're concentrating on this season is consistency and we improved on our last match (against Dandy Town),” he said
“We still need to improve our finishing and it could have been a bigger scoreline.
‘It was a case of win or go home and I was pleased we got the result.”
Brown praised the performance of midfield anchor Parsons who offered superb protection for Cougars' defence.
“We have good competition for places and nobody can afford to be complacent,” added Brown.
“(Parsons) was brilliant today, brilliant for the team, and it's too bad he is going back to school but we do have other options.
“He will be back for holidays and stuff like that,”
Trojans must now defeat Dandy Town at Devonshire Rec. on Friday night to advance to the Dudley Eve semi-finals.
Devonshire Cougars: D Johnson, D Williams, J Seymour, Z White, D Cox, C Caisey, D Coddington, D Bascome (Z Iris, 70), Moses Steede, P Parsons, K Steede (K Tucker, 72)
Substitutes not used: M Butterfield, D Daniels, Mark Steede, T Dill, J Butterfield, K Trott
Goals: Parsons, 7, Coddington, 18, Caisey, 68, Seymour, 80
Somerset Trojans: S Bean, T Ming, V Blanchette, J Harvey-Outerbridge, S Brangman, T Harvey, R Somner, K Goddard, L Burgess, Al-Rashid Ebbin (D Lister, 80), A Burrows
Substitutes not used: G Smith, N Smith, A Charles, W Webb
Yellow cards: L Burgess, T Ming
Goals: Burgess, 38
Referee: K Evans
Man of the match: P Parsons (Cougars)