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Hood hold firm to keep Eagles at bay

Photograph by Lawrence TrottTough challenge: Russell loses his balance as Eagles’ Smith of Somerset Eagles puts in a tackle at Goose Gosling Field

Robin Hood won a fiercely contested match against Somerset Eagles to advance to the first round of the Friendship Trophy.

Lejaun Simmons put Hood in front, in the first half, and then Zuhri Burgess doubled their lead with a penalty after the break at Goose Gosling Field yesterday.

Eagles almost staged a late fight back when Tristan Smith scored with just five minutes remaining. Eagles could not find the all important levelling goal, though.

Simmons, the Hood forward scored in the ninth minute. A precise diagonal ball from the Hood midfield was not cut out by the Eagles defence, and Simmons, out wide on the right side, latched onto it, and fired in a venomous shot across the face of goal that flew in and gave goalkeeper Lorenzo Lambert no chance.

In the twentieth minute, Eagles had a chance to equalise when they were awarded a free kick. Khimo Harrison delivered an exquisite free kick that dropped right onto the head of Gino Smith, the Eagles central defender.

Smith connected with the ball, but drove his powerful header right against the bar, with Jason Simons, the Hood goalkeeper well beaten. The rebound fell to Khanai Fray, the Eagles midfielder, but he raced his shot and sent the ball blazing over the bar.

Five minutes later, Hood were then awarded a free kick, which Simmons took and found the head of Antwan Russell, but the striker’s header was easily saved by Lambert.

Next, Davin Riley-Clarke, the Eagles defender, found himself, one-on-one with goalkeeper Simons, but somehow fired wide and another good chance for an Eagles leveller went a-begging.

Early in second half, the game would have to be held up because of two players sustaining serious-looking head injuries.

Eagles’ Harrison and Hood’s Ereico Outerbridge collided while attempting to head a long ball that was played into the visiting side’s final third.

The referee, Raoul Ming, stopped the match so that both Harrison and Outerbridge could receive medical treatment. After 15-minute delay, the match restarted, with Hood and Eagles having to make substitutions for their injured players.

Eagles would make a second substitute, soon after, with Cardel Henry coming on for Jelani Simmons, the Eagles forward. Henry almost made an immediate impact on the game, as he fired in a deadly cross from the right, low across the face of goal that just needed a touch.

Hood would soon be on the attack again, with Simmons having a point-blank shot saved by goalkeeper Lambert. Russell began to have more of an influence on the game for Hood, and he would eventually play a part in Hood getting their second goal. Russell raced on to a smart through ball that had dissected the Eagles’ defence, and charged into the box.

After feeling contact from Riley-Clarke, Russell went down inside the box, although the contact did appear to be very slight.

When Russell went down, the referee pointed to the spot, much to the disbelief of the Eagles’ players and supporters. Having won the penalty, it was somewhat surprising when Russell, arguably, one of Bermuda’s most lethal strikers stepped aside and let the youngster Burgess, take the kick. Burgess stepped up and converted the spot kick to double their lead.

Eagles were incensed by the awarding of what looked a soft penalty and so perhaps driven by this perceived injustice they pushed forward and soon they would be rewarded.

A free kick was called against Hood for dangerous play just outside the box. From the resulting free kick, Tristan Smith, the Eagles forward would rise highest to steer the ball into the back of the net. And just like that, Eagles were back in the game.

Eagles rightly went looking for an equaliser, but they were almost caught out by Hood again. Russell had a free kick which struck the Eagles’ wall and then Elizay Furbert, who had only come onto the pitch moments before, had to make a last ditch tackle on Simmons to stop him from increasing Hood’s lead.

Eagles could not find the second goal they sought and the referee blew the whistle to end the game and Hood marched on into the quarter-finals.

Kyle Lightbourne, the Hood Coach, admitted that it was not an easy match, by any means.

“It was a game that I don’t think we played particularly well, but we got the result that we were looking for,” Lightbourne said.

“Somerset Eagles are newly promoted team and so they have a lot of heart and determination and we just wanted to get the result today. We had a few guys missing.”

n In the opening Shield match, Hamilton Parish beat Southampton Rangers 2-0. Both goals came in the first half, with Tareek Webb scoring in the 35th minute and then John Hunt-Tucker scoring in the 37th, to give Parish their first win of the season.

However, Parish player, Jeremiah Steede, was sent off in the 84th minute for using foul language to the referee.