‘It’s not in our hands any more’
John Barry Nusum has conceded Robin Hood's title challenge is no longer in their hands after a 1-0 defeat to PHC Zebras, which resulted in their rivals opening up a nine-point lead at the top of the Premier Division.
In a tense affair at Goose Gosling Field last night, Marco Warren's 23rd-minute strike, capitalising on a rare error by goalkeeper Dale Eve, ultimately proved the difference, as PHC moved a step closer to retaining their title.
Despite not being mathematically out of the hunt, with a game in hand over Hood, who have just three games remaining, Nusum all but conceded his side's challenge may be over, barring a complete capitulation by their rivals in their remaining fixtures.
“We probably won't catch them now, because they have gone nine points clear and we only have one game in hand,” the Hood coach said.
“Really, we have to hope for a meltdown from them; it's not in our hands any more.
“It didn't go the way we wanted but PHC are a good team. They play hard and we gave them a goal, which was the difference in the match.
“It was unfortunate and hard for us because we gave them that opportunity, let alone the opportunities that they created on their own, so it doesn't help when you give them one.
“We fought hard but they are the champions for a reason. They dug a little deeper than we did and won on the day.
“At the end of the day, we gave them a goal and didn't capitalise on our chances. It's what happens in football.”
After what could prove a pivotal victory, PHC coach Scott Morton urged the team to maintain their level of consistency over the remaining fixtures, while hailing the endeavour of the squad's desire.
“It was always a matter of matching their intensity,” said Morton, whose side avenged a 4-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to the same opposition last month.
“We saw in the last game that didn't happen and they brought it to us, so we made sure that wasn't going to happen this time.
“We just have to keep fighting, keep believing as we've always done.
“We have got a few players that are injured but are still going, and that just shows the commitment and sacrifice for the club.”
Elsewhere, Somerset Trojans were left devastated at Southampton Oval after Dion Stovell's stoppage-time equaliser for Paget Lions left the West Enders rooted on the bottom of the table, six points from safety with three matches remaining.
The Trojans looked set to claim a much needed three points after Jaz Ratteray-Smith's penalty early in the second half, before being dealt the cruel late blow, which all but seals their fate.
Devonshire Cougars earned a valuable victory after beating X-Roads 3-2 at Garrison Field.
Cougars headed into the match just four points above the relegation zone, but ended the day with a far more comfortable cushion courtesy of goals from Allen Douglas, Che Brangman and substitute Demetre Daniels after Donavan Thompson had cancelled out Douglas's opener and Nassir Richardson had put the home side ahead.
Dandy Town showed their clinical touch to come from behind and overcome Boulevard Blazers 3-1 at Lord's.
Having fallen behind to Khiry Easton's opener Town struck back brilliantly with goals from Omar Wilson, Daeshun Butterfield and Angelo Simmons.
In Saturday's encounter, Keith Jennings rolled back the years with a vintage display to inspire North Village to a come-from-behind win over BAA at Goose Gosling Field.
The 42-year-old midfielder netted Village's winner in second-half stoppage time, having created their opener, to earn his team three vital points.
An evenly contested game seemed destined for a draw after Keishen Bean, a former Village and Bermuda player, and defender Patriac Castle traded first-half goals.