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Hood’s title pursuit halted

Devonshire Cougars 3 Robin Hood 1

Devonshire Cougars eliminated Robin Hood from the title race and virtually secured their own survival in the process, after handing the visiting side their first league loss of the season at Devonshire Recreation Club yesterday.

Hood, five points behind leaders North Village with three games left heading into the weekend, can no longer catch Village who now hold an eight-point advantage over Somerset Eagles.

Cougars coach Vance Brown, who was in the Dominican Republic the day before as assistant coach of the Bermuda women's Under-20 team that lost 9-1 to Jamaica in the Concacaf Championship qualifiers, arrived back on the island to watch his team end Hood's 18-game unbeaten league run stretching back to March 3 last year when PHC Zebras beat them 1-0.

Cougars capitalised on the wind in their backs in the first half, scoring in the 23rd and 35th minute through Calin Maybury and Allan Douglas to stun the title contenders who lacked that cutting edge in the first half.

Things got better for them after the restart when they scored through captain Lejaun Simmons as they fought hard for an equaliser late in the game before Douglas sealed their fate with his second goal from the last kick of the game.

“We knew what three points would do for us so the guys just stepped it up,” Brown said.

“It feels good, Robin Hood are a good team and we'll take that victory but we are not finished yet.

“We have two matches left and I'm expecting two positive results. This is a good result for us.

“We knew that the conditions would suit us on our home field so we had to start on the front foot, put them under pressure and see what happens.”

Cougars took the lead midway through the first half when midfielder Jayori Fox was knocked over inside the box by Ashton Bell and Maybury calmly placed his spot kick low to goalkeeper Ascento Russell's right.

They doubled their lead 12 minutes later when striker Douglas tucked his left-footed shot into the corner, with Cougars sensing an upset was on the cards. However, Hood came out fired up in the second half and went close after just two minutes when they forced goalkeeper Ajai Daniels to make a crucial point-blank save to deny Aaron Nelson.

A few minutes later Simmons shot wide of the post as Hood created another good chance as they battled to protect their proud unbeaten league record.

A goal in the 58th minute cut the deficit and opened up the game when full back Bell found Simmons with his cross from the left to the back post and he side-footed into the opposite corner from a narrow angle.

Hood made some important substitutions after that, bringing on Tomiko Goater for Ereico Outerbridge and then Dominique Williams and Shakir Smith in a double substitution as Simmons limped off with a thigh injury.

Cougars, keen to protect their slim advantage, had earlier brought on defender Zekiro White for Andrew Samuels and Koshun Durrant for Fox in midfield.

Hood threw players forward in the dying minutes in search of the equaliser and were stretched at the back when Cougars penetrated and Douglas converted with a well placed low shot past Russell.

“I came back this morning because I knew Cougars needed me, we're in this together,” Brown said. “I left right after the game. I got here first thing this morning and got the boys ready. I wanted to show them that I was prepared to sacrifice as well.

“I'm thankful to my support staff who took the training and got them ready.”

SCORERS

Devonshire Cougars: Maybury pen 23, Douglas 35, 90+4

Robin Hood: Simmons 58

TEAMS

Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): A Daniels — D Cox, Zeko White, A Samuels (sub: Zekiro White, 65), D Williams — C Maybury, Z Simmons, J Fox (sub: K Durrant, 71) — A Douglas, T Tucker, C Caisey. Substitutes not used: D Bascome, J Furbert-Wade, N Simmons, J Mouchette, J Wade. Booked: Caisey, Zeko White.

Robin Hood (4-3-3): A Russell — L Steede, J Bather, L Evans, A Bell — P Parsons (sub: D Williams, 75), C Ryan, J Corday — L Simmons, (sub: S Smith, 75), A Nelson, E Outerbridge (sub: T Goater, 65). Substitutes not used: C Castle, C Ricca, N Outerbridge. Booked: Corday.

Referee: A Francis.

Vance Brown, the Devonshire Cougars coach

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Published March 02, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated March 01, 2020 at 11:36 pm)

Hood’s title pursuit halted

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