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Hood reach first major final

It was not pretty but Robin Hood advanced to their first major final yesterday when they beat defending champions Somerset Trojans in the semi-final of the Friendship Trophy at Wellington Oval.

There will be a battle against time, however, for goalscorer Tre Dill to be fit in time for the New Year's Day final after the winger was replaced at half-time with a suspected pulled hamstring.

His goal on the half-hour mark came against the run of play and was all that could separate the teams as Trojans, ten-times winners, threw everything at their opponents in the final 15 minutes in a desperate bid for an equaliser.

“It looks like [Dill] has damaged his hamstring and we will assess it but he will be touch and go for the final,” Kyle Lightbourne, the Hood coach, said.

Justin Corday, a second-half substitute, nearly snatched a dramatic injury-time equaliser for Somerset when his well-struck free kick drew an equally impressive save by Jason Simons in the Hood goal.

In the closing minutes of regulation time, as Somerset piled on the pressure, Jaylon Bather nearly steered the ball into his own net as he connected with a ball into the penalty area to concede a corner.

Hood were riding their luck with a shot on the turn by Malachi Jones being tipped over the crossbar by Simons after Justin Donawa laid on the cross from the left.

Somerset were also enjoying a good period in the first half when Hood scored the game's only goal against the run of play.

Simons made a couple of saves inside the first ten minutes as the holders began to impose themselves with the pace of Donawa causing some early problems for the Hood defence. The game burst to life midway through the first half when a quick break from Somerset enabled Donawa get through before the alert Simons blocked his shot. Before Donawa could pounce on the rebound Corey Boyce, the Hood defender, booted the ball clear. From the corner on the left, Trevin Ming headed the ball back towards the six-yard box where William White glanced his header against the post.

Hood, with striker Antwan Russell getting frustrated with the lack of service, made Somerset pay for the misses when Dill converted at the far post after the Trojans defence failed to clear captain Bather's ball into the box from a free kick deep on the left side.

Dill's injury came in the 32nd minute when he sprinted for a ball down the right flank and pulled up holding his right leg.

He limped through the final minutes of the half with Marcelos Thomas replacing him after the break.

“This field is such a big field that the quality starts to lack because there is so much space out there for the teams,” Lightbourne said.

“Somerset probably had more of the possession, which I expected, but we had periods in the game when we knocked it around a little bit.

“We managed to defend our 1-0 lead which we got in the first half against the run of play. I didn't think Somerset would hurt us right up the middle. Malachi [Jones] is a decent player but he is not going to run away from our defenders. Their wide men caused us a few problems but I was quite content with them keeping Malachi there — my two defenders kept him honest.”

Hood will await the outcome of today's semi-final at Bernard Park where Lightbourne's former team, PHC Zebras, will take on Dandy Town Hornets at 2.30pm.

Lightbourne said that he would not mind facing Zebras in the final on New Year's Day at the National Sports Centre.

“PHC would be nice but they have to do their work tomorrow,” Lightbourne said.

n A minute's silence was observed at the start of yesterday's first match for Brian Godwin, a member of the Big B security firm which regularly provides security at football matches. Godwin died last weekend at the age of 51.

Photograph by Akil Simmons Jones, the Trojans striker, goes on the attack
<p>TEAMS</p>

Somerset (4-3-3): S Bean — W White, T Ming, S Brangman, S Iris — M Joell (sub: J Corday, 76min), V Blanchette (sub: R Burrows, 62), A Trott — J Ratteray-Smith (sub: J Greaves, 76), M Jones, J Donawa. Substitutes not used: K Brown, L Burgess, D Lister, J Rogers, T Wade. Booked: R Burrows.

Robin Hood (4-3-3): J Simons — J Fox (sub: M Armstrong, 77min), C Boyce, J Bather, P Froncioni — S Brown, K Butterfield, D Andrade — T Dill (sub: M Thomas, 46), T Tyrell, A Russell. Substitutes not used: J Duffy, D Joell, A Martin, M Johnson, J Titterton.

Referee: M Wyer.

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Published December 27, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 26, 2014 at 9:27 pm)

Hood reach first major final

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