Debutants help Hood thrash Onions
Flanagan's Onions 1 Robin Hood 5
Goalkeeper Dale Eve and schoolboy striker Arnezha Astwood made their debuts for Premier Division champions Robin Hood in a comfortable victory over Flanagan's Onions to move level on points with leaders PHC Zebras last night.
Eve, whose international clearance finally came through after a stint in England, filled in for the injured Jason Simons in goal, while Astwood, nephew of former PHC striker Stephen Astwood, came off the bench to score two late goals in his first senior appearance.
In the end it was a deserved win for Hood, although Onions were still very much in contention at half-time after pulling a late goal back through Mohamed Aden after Shaki Swan's lob came back off the crossbar. However, when Antwan Russell restored Hood's two-goal lead with his second penalty on the hour, the Premier Division champions began to take control.
Astwood, who replaced Russell ten minutes later, responded with two goals in four minutes late in the game to make certain of the win, after Onions striker Keston Lewis limped off with an injury in the 67th minute.
“Arnezha just turned 16 last week so it was good to get his feet wet and to start with two goals is a bit more than what we were expecting,” said John Barry Nusum, the Hood coach, who coached the youngster at Bermuda under-15 level. “We just wanted to get him in and assimilated with the team.
“He played centre back there [U-15s], but he can play right through the centre all the way up the front. He's strong and has a lot of potential.
“In the first half we always felt in control of the game but at 2-1 anything could happen. In the second half we were able to get a couple of goals and it just opened up the game a little bit.”
Onions had a couple of good early chances with Anthony Rocker glancing a back-header just past the far post after defender Mark Field headed the ball back into the box from a corner. Moments later Lewis chested the ball down on the edge of the box before putting his shot just over the bar.
After that Hood enjoyed a good period of pressure, forcing five corners in quick succession as they tried to break down the Onions defence. Shakir Smith started to threaten with overlaps down the left side, running onto a perfect pass before shooting into the side-netting.
Five minutes later Hood broke the deadlock when Smith went on a similar run down the flank, this time crossing behind the stretched Onions defence for Simmons, still limping from a knock minutes earlier, to calmly side-foot past goalkeeper Lejuan Matthews from ten yards.
Eve was called on to make a crucial save two minutes later after a long back into the Hood defence from a free kick saw Jack Higson's shot at the far post turned away for a corner by Eve.
Russell doubled the lead in the 35th minute when he converted a penalty after Simmons was challenged from behind by Higson after taking a return pass from Russell.
After Matthews blocked a shot from Simmons near the edge of the box when Field's ball out of defence was intercepted by Mazhye Burchall, Onions finally got on the scoresheet when Aden scored from a rebound.
Eve made a good reflex save to turn a shot from Lewis around the near post five minutes into the second half. Simmons limped off for Hood a minute later but Hood scored a second penalty on the hour to stretch their lead. Defender Markez Laws was penalised by referee Anthony Francis for a handball and Russell calmly scored again from the spot.
“It's definitely a bonus to have Dale,” Nusum said. “Jason has been helping us out where he can but he's got an ankle injury that's been very serious.
“Now that we've got Dale we can let Jason rest and make sure he's ready for next season.”
Chris Caisey just missed scoring the best goal of the night from all of 35 yards when goalkeeper Matthews left an open goal when he headed the ball from the edge of his box. However, Caisey's lob dropped just over the open goal.
Shakir Smith laid on the pass to set up Astwood with a simple sidefoot for his opening goal. He then drove a low effort past Matthews from near the edge of the box to close out the scoring in the final minute.
Robin Hood 5
Simmons 28, Russell 35 (pen), 60 (pen), Astwood 85, 89
Flanagan's Onions (4-3-3): L Matthews — N Dunkle, Markez Laws, M Field, C Burns — M Aden, J Higson (sub: J Morgan, 81min), A Rocker — K Lewis (sub: O Wilson, 67), T Smith, S Swan. Substitutes not used: Martel Laws, M Lindsey-Bailey.
Robin Hood (4-3-3): D Eve — J Pereira, D Andrade, J Bather, S Smith — C Caisey, Z Burgess, C Ryan — A Russell (sub: A Astwood, 70), L Simmons (sub: E Outerbridge, 51), M Burchall. Substitutes not used: T Figureido, P Fronzioni, J Nusum.
Referee: A Francis.