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Dill’s strike keeps title hopes alive

On the mark: Hood striker Lejuan Simmons, left, was on target at Wellington Oval

Hamilton Parish 0

Robin Hood 2

Tre Dill scored the first and then laid on the second for Lejuan Simmons as Robin Hood kept alive their title hopes in the Premier Division yesterday.

Hood, who are second in the table, took taking advantage of Dandy Town’s defeat to Devonshire Cougars on Friday to cut the league leaders’ lead to six points.

Hood squandered a 2-0 lead to Parish in the FA Cup quarter-finals last weekend, but there would not be a repeat of that as they held on to win comfortable and leave Parish anchored at the bottom of the table.

The league race is still Town’s to lose with five matches remaining, but a second-place finish certainly represents a good season for Hood who have already passed last season’s points haul which earned them a fourth-place finish.

“I’m sure Dandy Town are disappointed with their result, it makes the title race go on for a couple more weeks,” said Kyle Lightbourne, the Hood coach who admitted the blustery conditions did not make for a good match at Wellington Oval.

“It wasn’t a good game to watch, the conditions were difficult, but I asked my team at half-time to show why we are in second spot. The first half was very disappointing, the second half we came out and played with more intensity, upped our pace and it showed that Parish couldn’t live with us.

“I always find St George’s a difficult pitch to play on because of the size of it so I’m happy we got the result and that we can keep moving on.”

The teams made changes from last week’s match, with Hood bringing in Corey Boyce in the heart of the defence and starting with Simmons in attack. Antwan Russell played in a deeper midfield role as Parish welcomed back goalkeeper Nigel Burgess.

“Lejuan has been nursing an injury for a few weeks and in-between that was suspended for a game, so it’s nice that he is back in,” Lightbourne said.

“I said to Antwan he needs to challenge himself, he’s been the leading scorer for many years, and I’m going to start playing him in a different position so he can learn the game from a different perspective.

“He has the ability to play in a deeper role and I’m going to try to get the best out of him between now and the end of the season.”

The main talking point in the first half was a handball by Burgess in what looked to be outside the penalty box in the 34th minute after Nathan Peskett, the Robin Hood striker, caught him well out of his goal and tried to lob the ball over him.

Neither referee Anthony Bailey nor his assistant were in a position to determine if Burgess was outside the box and the experienced goalkeeper escaped a possible red card.

Both teams went close to taking the lead late in the half, Chris Fosker of Hood clearing a ball off the line in the 37th minute after a high ball into the box from a Chris Caisey free kick caused the defence some problems. In the final minute Lejuan Simmons unleashed a shot from 20 yards that Burgess managed to top over the crossbar.

Hood finally broke the deadlock ten minutes into the second half when Dill raced through on the right flank before hitting a low shot inside the far post. Dill, who scored his team’s second goal last weekend, helped set up Simmons for the second goal, providing a perfect left-foot chip along the goalline for Simmons to head home at the far post.

Substitute Tyriko Williams had a good chance to make it 3-0 in the 89th minute but delayed his shot as he ran into the box and Burgess was able to save at his feet.



Robin Hood (Dill 55, Simmons 75)

Hamilton Parish (4-4-2): N Burgess — K Cann, E Signor, A Smith, J Bean — B Edwards, C Caisey, I Creighton, T Webb (sub: P Richardson, 35min) (E Parsons, 76) — D Thompson, R Tyrell (D Minks, 71). Substitutes not used: M Ingham, C Wade, M Clemens.

Robin Hood (4-3-3): J Simons — E Outerbridge, C Boyce, C Fosker, P Froncioni — D Andrade, A Nelson, A Russell — N Peskett (sub: A Ivo, 88), L Simmons (sub: T Williams, 76), T Dill. Substitutes not used: J Titterton, S Burchall, M McGowan, L Simons, D Taylor. Booked: Peskett.

Referee: A Bailey.