Eagles spoil Vasco return
Somerset Eagles 2 Vasco da Gama 0
Somerset Eagles spoilt Vasco da Gama's return to the FA Cup after a two-decade absence with a comfortable win at White Hill Field yesterday.
Vasco, who were a powerhouse in the 1980s and 1990s, played second fiddle to the home team who should have won by more had it not been for bad finishing.
Eagles, caught Vasco players still settling into positions and scored as early as the second minute when Jahkhari Hollis ran onto a through ball, controlled and then hit a firm shot passed the flat-footed Jamie Cedenio in the Vasco goal.
They should have scored a minute later when Ethan Fubler sidestepped three defenders as he cut inside only to choose power over placement; blasting his shot over the top from six yards out.
Vasco nearly equalised when Ryan Lopes sent in a cross which just eluded the outstretched foot of captain Ricardo Ponte as he came sliding in.
At the other end, Fubler would give a square pass to Leo Burgess whose shot screamed off the crossbar and landed back in play.
Eagles clearly dominated the first half with repeated attacks only to lack that final touch or have defender Artur Paulino cut out the threat by winning balls with last-minute sliding tackles.
Marco Molta thought he had scored for Vasco just before the half but his surprise shot on the turn, rolled inches passed Eagles goalkeeper Lorenzo Lambert's far upright.
Eagles should have scored two minutes after the break when Burgess picked up a partial goalmouth clearance and ran at goal only to be fouled from behind. He dusted himself off but hit a tame penalty kick straight at Cedenio, who blocked it with his chest before Burgess conceded a foul on the follow-up.
Vasco captain Ponte was causing a bit of problem with his dribbling but was guilty of holding onto the ball too long and would be dispossessed by the Eagles defenders. On one occasion, Ponte was challenged from behind and tumbled. Appeals for a penalty fell on referee Antoine Augustus's deaf ears.
Eagles would make two substitutions which had a major impact on the game. Tahj Wade and Marlon Rojas, the former Eagles coach, both came off the bench and immediately the tempo increased.
Rojas impressed with his close dribbling skills and penetrating passes while Wade was hungry looking for through balls. These two combined to create Eagles second. Rojas was brought down from behind on one of his forward dribbles and it was Wade who stepped up and curled his kick over the wall, before ricocheting off the upright into the net.
Ponte should have had a consolation goal in injury time after his dribble put him through but he slammed over the top when well placed. Despite the loss, Vasco's coach, Brian Dickinson, was quite upbeat.
“We are glad to be back,” he said. “I don't mind the loss today. I just want my players to play hard until the very end. It also gave me the opportunity to play some players that have been with the club since we have started training.”
Somerset Eagles (4-2-3-1): L Lambert – S Lambert, L Burch, G Smith, A Morrissey – G Fubler (sub: T Wade, 57min), C Medeiros (sub: J Ratteray, 75) – A Telford, J Hollis (sub: M Rojas, 60), E Fubler – L Burgess. Substitutes not used:
D Simmons, J Dill.
Vasco Da Gama (4-4-2): J Cedenio – A Paulino, R Smith, K Pacheco (sub: A Brewster, 50), K Arruda – M Molta (sub: Florin Teleman, 58), R Lopes, D Teleman, S Teleman – E Vieira, R Ponte. Substitutes not used: F Coelho, R Pacheco, C Correia. Booked: D Teleman.
Referee: A Augustus.