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Hood bounce back in best possible fashion

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Leading by example: Russell gets the ball under control at St John’s Field (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Dandy Town 1

Robin Hood 3

Robin Hood bounced back from their seven-goal thrashing by North Village in the Dudley Eve Trophy last weekend with a deserved victory over the league champions at St John’s Field.

Hood, who handed Town their first league loss last season when Antwan Russell’s injury-time penalty gave them the points at St John’s in January, were again inspired by Russell who scored twice, from a free kick and then a penalty early in the second half.

Angelo Simmons had levelled for the home team before Aaron Nelson, a second-half substitute, made certain of the points with a third for Hood eight minutes from the end. Last season Hood began their league campaign with a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Dandy Town who remained unbeaten in the first half of the campaign.

Yesterday Russell, a former Town player, broke the deadlock with a well-placed free kick from 20 yards, curling the ball low inside the near post despite the efforts of goalkeeper Ajai Daniels who got his fingers to the ball.

Town responded immediately, with Simmons scoring from the penalty spot three minutes later after he was tripped inside the box. A minute later Town almost took the lead when Jason Simons, the Hood goalkeeper, miskicked outside his penalty area before Tomiko Goater quickly pounced on the loose ball, but had his shot towards the goal booted clear by a defender.

Both teams created openings after that in a fast-paced first half as Simmons and Goater threatened for Town, and Russell and Lejuan Simmons continued to test the Town defence. Hood went close right at the start of the second half when Simmons crossed from the right and Russell laid the ball back for Nathan Peskett who blasted his effort over the crossbar at the far post.

Russell restored the Hood lead in the 56th minute when he was brought down by Jahtino Richardson-Martin inside the box before taking the penalty himself and sending Daniels the wrong way with his spot kick. It was a lead they did not lose a second time as Town struggled while Hood seemed to find another gear.

“We played Dandy Town in the first game last year and that’s where we lost the league,” said Russell, who pointed to the skies after converting his penalty as a gesture to his brother Tokia, a former Bermuda defender, who was killed in a bike accident.

“I carry my brother with me every game, everybody knows my brother was not just a part of my football life but my life period. It’s hard playing with something like that on my mind, but I do my best to shake it for the two hours that I’m out on the field.

“I only lost my brother three months ago so it is still fresh. It hurts, but I’ll dedicate my life to him. He left three kids behind and I’ll look out for them and try to lead by example.”

Russell looked certain to get another penalty in the 74th minute when a quick break by Hood exposed Town down the left side as Russell raced towards goal before being floored by a challenge from both Kwonde Lathan and goalkeeper Daniels. Referee Anthony Francis awarded a goal kick to Town.

“I think it was a clear penalty, but I’m used to calls going against me,” Russell said. “I’ll take a hat-trick of points over [a hat-trick of] goals any day, it’s all about the team now.

“I’ve been around the top scorers in Bermuda for a few years, but I want to chip in other ways than just my goals, through leadership and knowhow. We have a young group of guys and they need me to lead from the front.”

Hood were enjoying a good spell late in the game and went close when Zuhri Burgess’s effort was deflected for a corner as Daniels was sent the wrong way with the ball going just wide. Two minutes later Nelson, who had only been on the field six minutes, completed the victory with a well-taken goal in the 82nd minute after getting through on the left side and beating Daniels with his low shot.

“Dandy Town are a good team as everybody knows and if they get a few points ahead it can be an uphill battle from there,” Russell added. “I spent four wonderful years at Dandy Town, so they have a place in my heart, for sure. It’s always nice to come back and play against an old team.”



Dandy Town (Simmons 10, pen)

Robin Hood (Russell 7, 56 (pen), Nelson 82)

Dandy Town (4-3-3): A Daniels — S Darrell, J Richardson-Martin, K Lathan, K Tucker — J Swan, D Bascome (sub: R Wells 76min), D Ming — A Simmons, D Butterfield, T Goater. Substitutes not used: E Blankendal, C Burgess, N Smith, J Amory.

Robin Hood (4-3-3): J Simons — D Taylor, N D Cox, M Johnson, P Froncioni — N Peskett, Z Burgess (sub: M Thomas, 90), C Ryan — A Russell (sub: S Burchall, 90), L Simmons, E Outerbridge (sub: A Nelson, 76). Substitutes not used: D Andrade, T Dill, J Pereira, S Nasir.

Referee: A Francis.

Off and running: Lejuan Simmons, the Hood striker, in full stride at St John’s Field yesterday where the league champions suffered their first loss of the season (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)
Nice one: Nelson, left, celebrates with Lejuan Simmons after scoring Hood’s third at St John’s Field (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)