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Butterfield proud of battling Cougars

Omar Butterfield, the Devonshire Cougars coach, hailed his side's fighting spirit after they earned a draw away to Robin Hood in the Premier Division on Saturday night.

Cougars lived dangerously at times, with Hood twice rattling the crossbar through a first-half Nathan Peskett header and a strike from Antwan Russell late in the game, but held on for an important point.

Butterfield admits his tactics were largely to frustrate Hood, still unbeaten after four games, and praised his young side, including several debutants, for remaining disciplined throughout.

“I'm really proud of my players as we had a lot of youngsters out there tonight and a few debuts,” he said.

“We wanted to frustrate Hood and keep them from playing their game because we knew they would come out flying early on.

“We kept our shape, stayed compact, and it worked out pretty well — we just didn't create enough chances to win the game.”

Somewhat ironically, Cougars had several starters away on international duty with Bermuda at the Caribbean Football Union Under-20 Championships in Curaçao under the tutelage of Kyle Lightbourne, the Hood coach.

Lightbourne's side have qualified for the Concacaf Under-20 Championships to be held in Costa Rica in February.

“We have a few guys off the island with the Bermuda Under-20 team, plus suspensions and a few injuries, so I'm very proud of the players who stepped in,” Butterfield added.

“So far we're doing OK and we just need to get some more consistency. We're still building as it's a young group and we're just trying to keep them motivated.”

For Hood it was their second successive draw at Goose Gosling Field, having been held by North Village in last Saturday night's Premier Division match.

After a cagey start it was the home side who threatened first when midfielder Peskett got on the end of a Lejuan Simmons cross only to plant his header against the crossbar.

Simmons then had the ball in the back of the net but his effort was ruled offside and moments later Peskett headed wide after being picked out by defender Kilian Elkinson from the left.

Cougars continued to smother their opponents in the second half, defending deep in numbers and offering little in the way of attacking intent as Hood tried to find their spark.

They came close to breaking the deadlock on a rare counterattack when Simmons picked up the ball deep inside his own half before releasing midfielder Colin Ryan who then found striker Russell in space.

The Hood captain, who was kept quiet for the most part by Cougars' resolute backline, drove through the heart of the visiting side's defence before crashing a shot against the crossbar.

Cougars had survived again and the broad smile on Butterfield's face at the final whistle was confirmation that this was a point gained for Cougars and two lost for Hood.

Lejuan Simmons showed flashes against Cougars

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Published October 31, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 31, 2016 at 2:23 am)

Butterfield proud of battling Cougars

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