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Village mauling maybe just what Hood needed

Rare opportunity: Antwan Russell, the Hood midfielder, tries his luck at goal against Village in the Dudley Eve Trophy at Police Field (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Kyle Lightbourne, the Robin Hood coach, has demanded an instant response from his players after last weekend’s Dudley Eve Trophy mauling against North Village.

Hood were unceremoniously dumped out of the Dudley Eve Trophy after a 7-0 hammering against Village at Police Field, allowing Devonshire Cougars to sneak into the semi-finals on goal difference.

With a tough opening league fixture away to champions Dandy Town at the weekend, Lightbourne is backing his side to bounce back from their “reality check” and display the type of character that helped them win the FA Cup last season.

“We’re disappointed with the result and there are no excuses,” Lightbourne said.

“We need to get our season up-and-running and Dandy Town is just the sort of game we need right now.

“I know I have guys with a lot of heart and spirit, and we will have to show plenty of character against Dandy Town.

“I gave the players a night off from training [on Monday] and hopefully we can get back to working as a team and fighting for each other.”

Hood’s heavy defeat was “one of those games”, according to Lightbourne, where nothing went right for his team and even Devarr Boyles, the Village coach, admitted the scoreline flattered his side.

Lightbourne was, however, concerned with how quickly his players’ heads dropped in the second half, and said he expects his players to show more backbone in the face of adversity.

“We can’t expect to have things our own way all of the time and that’s the way football goes,” Lightbourne said.

“There are ups and downs and you win together and lose together. I was disappointed with the way our heads dropped after Village’s fourth goal. The scoreline could have been anything after that.

“Everything went so well for us last season and things have been gradually getting better and better.

“I have to put it down to a one-off and maybe it’s exactly what our players needed.”

Hood’s defensive uncertainly against Village can partly be explained by the loss of Jaylon Bather, Hood’s captain last season, who has joined English non-League side Ilkeston, while Chris Fosker, his fellow centre half, is out injured.

Other injury absentees include defender Corey Boyce, midfielders Chris Caisey and Donte Brangman, while Marcelo Thomas missed Hood’s defeat to Village as he was off the island.

“It’s not going to be easy because we’ve lost our captain [Bather] and we have several players injured,” Lightbourne said.

“We have a number of players who can instantly help us out and we’ll have to nurse those back because they’ve lost a bit of fitness.”

Hood, who finished second in the Premier Division last season, face Town at St John’s Field on Sunday.

In the other games Flanagan’s Onions make their return to the top flight at home to Somerset Trojans, Boulevard face Village at Police Field, Cougars take on PHC Zebras at home, while Somerset Eagles meet Devonshire Colts at White Hill Field.

All matches start at 3pm.