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Bell heroics keep wasteful Hood at bay

Robin Hood 1

North Village 1

Tahj Bell, the North Village goalkeeper, was in superb form as he helped secure his side a point against Robin Hood in the Premier Division at Goose Gosling Field last night.

Bell, who signed for Village in the summer after several seasons in the English non-Leagues, reeled off a series of splendid saves to ensure Village remained top of the table on goal difference ahead of Hood.

The 25-year-old kept Hood, also undefeated after three league matches, at bay during the first half, twice denying striker Antwan Russell — who had a goal ruled out for offside — as well as making a magnificent relax save to thwart midfielder Chris Caisey from close range.

If Village were slightly lucky to still be on level terms at half-time, there was nothing fortuitous about the opening goal of the game from the visiting side's Shayne Hollis in the 49th minute.

Hollis, who took his league tally to nine, having struck four against both Boulevard and Devonshire Colts, made a late surge into the box and curled his first-time effort from Pierre Smith's cross into the bottom corner.

Hood, in the absence of coach Kyle Lightbourne who is off the island with the Bermuda Under-20 side, pressed for an equaliser and got their just rewards when referee Martin Wyer awarded a 66th-minute penalty after defender Kyler Knights pushed Russell in the back.

Russell made amends for his earlier misses by making no mistake from the spot, placing the ball out of the reach of Jason Simons, the Hood goalkeeper.

Hood, who were beaten 7-0 by Village in the Dudley Eve Trophy group stage, squandered another opportunity late on when substitute Zuhri Burgess, who had only been on the pitch for a few moments, blazed over the bar with just Bell to beat.

Devarr Boyles, the Village coach, praised Bell for his eye-catching performance and admitted he was more than happy with a share of the spoils.

“It's always satisfying to get a point [away to Hood],” Boyles said. “When we were leading 1-0 I got a little bit greedy, but when I look at the balance of play a point was good. Tahj made some super saves. I think he was a difference maker and it's just a shame we couldn't reward him for the way he played. He did his job and then some.”

Boyles was forced to make a couple of changes in defence and said he expected mistakes to be made given the youthful look of his backline.

“It's been a learning curve for us at the back as we have our youngest players in the team there and they will make some mistakes. Tonight we had to make two changes and those changes were not natural defenders, and that impacts us all over the pitch. We have a small squad and we're finding ways to cope and I'm very happy with where we are.”

Timmy Figureido, the Hood assistant coach, also commended Bell on his display but believed his side had created more than enough chances to win the game.

“Tahj kept Village in the game and made one fantastic save from a point-blank shot and stopped three one-on-one chances.

“We're pleased to get something out of the game, although it's a little disappointing because I thought that was our best performance of the season.

“We had a good chance late on and [Burgess] is young, only 16, and these things happen. We needed to put away our early chances as that would have changed the course of the game.”

TEAMS

Scorers

Robin Hood (Russell 66, pen)

North Village (Hollis 49)

Robin Hood (4-3-3): J Simons — J Perreira, C Fosker, J Titterton (sub: Z Burgess, 75min), D Brangman (sub: K Elkinson, 45) — N Peskett, C Caisey, C Ryan —

E Outerbridge, A Russell, L Simmons. Substitutes not used: D Andrade, S Burchall, M Thomas, M Johnson.

North Village (4-5-1): T Bell — K Knights, A Furbert, P Parsons, D Tankard (sub: E Zuill, 55)— K Bean, S Hollis, K Dill, J Davis, T Watson — P Smith. Substitutes not used: D Dillas, S Jennings. Booked: Parson.

Referee: M Wyer.

Superb display: Bell pulled off a string of fine saves (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published October 25, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 25, 2016 at 11:13 am)

Bell heroics keep wasteful Hood at bay

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