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Butterfield baffled by referee call

Photograph by Blaire SimmonsOff balance: Symonds, left, tussles for the ball with Cougars’ Burns at the Devonshire Recreation Club

Devonshire Cougars 0 Boulevard

Opposing coaches Omar Butterfield and Shawki Worrell vented their frustration over the officiating after their teams battled to a goalless draw in the Premier Division at Devonshire Recreation Club yesterday.

“The Bermuda Football Association is asking us to get our coaching licences and do what we have to do to make the game better and I think they [match officials] also have to make some steps to make things better,” Butterfield said.

Cougars were denied what appeared a clear penalty in the second half which left Butterfield seething on the sideline.

“I don’t think there’s anything more clearer than that,” he said.

Butterfield’s opposite number Worrell also voiced his displeasure over the officiating.

“I think the officials were in it a bit too much today,” he said. “There were a lot of calls that seemed relaxed and inconsistent and that was the story of the game.”

Both team’s enjoyed swathes of possession but lacked cutting edge and far too often gave the ball away cheaply.

Cougars suffered a setback just before kick off when starting defender Darren Williams was scratched from the teamsheet after pulling a muscle during the warm-up.

Both teams were locked in a battle of attrition in midfield for most of the opening stanza and never really threatened until Lamont Brangman, the Cougars striker, went close right on the stroke of half-time.

Brangman dispossessed Boulevard defender Keemo Smith, rounded advancing goalkeeper Daniel Adams, but rather than pass to open team-mate Lavintz Tota shot tamely towards goal where right back Jakio Williams cleared the danger.

That proved to be Williams’s last act as he rolled his ankle on the play and was substituted.

Cougars looked more organised at the start of the second half and let their intentions be known with Charmuri Burns’s corner going untouched across the face of goal.

By now Cougars held the upper hand and their pressure seemed to finally take its toll on the visiting side when Boulevard midfielder Nico Smith tripped up Tota in the box.

However, the home side were left fuming after being denied what seemed a certain penalty.

After absorbing plenty of pressure Boulevard grew into the match and caused some anxiety of their own.

Striker Ian Coke, who was a constant threat out wide, brought off a fine fingertip save from Cougars goalkeeper Xyon Outerbridge-Smith, while substitute defender Maquel Tankard sent an effort high and wide from a corner.

Tempers flared as both teams battled gamely in search of a breakthrough goal with referee Wendy Woodley forced to reach into her pocket on several occasions.

Jason Symonds, the Boulevard midfielder, had Cougars’ hearts fluttering when first, he placed a diving header just wide and then skimmed the bar from 30 yards out after some good movement between Smith and substitute Antione Famous down the right side.

Cougars midfielder Jomeko Mallory tested Adams when he hit Burns’s free kick just over late on.

The visiting side were satisfied to come away with a point in their bid to qualify for the Dudley Eve Trophy, of which Cougars are the champions.

“We are trying to solidify sixth place and this is a good step in that direction,” Worrell said.

“Cougars did take all three points at our home game, so we were happy to come here today and take a point away from home.”

Butterfield, whose team have already qualified for the Dudley Eve Trophy, also seemed content with the result.

“We had a few chances,” he said. “But unfortunately they didn’t fall all the way for us and that is something we have to try and improve on next season.”