Hat-trick hero Chae Brangman makes light work of Town
Robin Hood 5 Dandy Town 1
Robin Hood delivered one of their finest performances of the season to inflict a right thrashing of previously unbeaten Dandy Town Hornets in this top-of-the-table clash at Goose Gosling Field on Saturday night.
Striker Chae Brangman was again the star of the show with his second successive hat-trick on the back on a sterling display in the 3-0 win over stumbling champions North Village a week ago.
This time, the big man achieved the feat inside 31 first-half minutes before being withdrawn at the interval with a slight knock and wrapped in cotton wool.
By then, the sting had been knocked out of Dandy Town, who were missing inspirational captain Angelo Simmons through injury. Hood had an injury setback of their own, going into the big match without influential midfielder Justin Corday.
This began as a much ballyhooed battle of the only two undefeated teams in the Premier Division; it ended as a mismatch.
Town were hoping to avoid a two-game slide in all competitions, having been dethroned by Devonshire Cougars in the Dudley Eve Trophy final, while Hood were hoping for maximum points to stay ahead of the chasing pack. Either way, the points would be crucial to both teams, and it would be the latter to secure all three points with a dominant display that had coach John Barry Nusum in delirious rhapsody.
“We came out with the same type of energy we had against Village,” Nusum said. “We ran at them hard knowing they had a tough midweek clash with Cougars. We got a little fortunate as well, as that early goal helped set the tone a little bit and allowed us to take charge.”
The coach added: “To get the goals we did looks good on the scoreboard, but we also played well and had a good performance, too.”
Hood had Town on the back foot as early as the fourth minute when Brangman back-heeled Aaron Nelson’s cross to wrong-foot goalkeeper Jaiden Manders, the ball sailing pass his right shoulder into the net.
Town did well to respond quickly, as they capitalised on a rear error in goal by Hood’s Jade Morrissey to equalise. The goalkeeper’s bad clearance was intercepted by Judah Chapman, whose pass to Cecoy Robinson was quickly laid off to Jahnazae Swan.
Swan dribbled then shot from an angle. The recovering Morrissey did well to get a hand to the ball, but couldn’t prevent it from entering the net.
Hood found another gear after this and Town had no answer, despite vocal encouragement from coach Kwame Steede.
The league leaders went in front for good in the 29th minute when Danté Leverock headed an Adrian Trott free kick into the path of Brangman, who had the simple task of tapping in without breaking stride — a striker’s goal!
The opportunist Brangman was not done yet, and he completed his hat-trick minutes later. Manders had done well to block Justin Bell’s shot after being put through, Brangman was quickest to react to the rebound and scored from close range.
Hood’s 3-1 lead at the interval was thoroughly deserved, and they felt confident enough that they would lose nothing by way of dominance by replacing Brangman with the accomplished Antwan Russell.
But it was Town who made the earlier inroads, nearly pulling one back when Jomei Bean-Lindo’s free kick skimmed the crossbar with Morrissey a mere spectator.
The free-spirited Hood outfit resumed their scoring spree midway through the half when Russell produced a clinical finish. After receiving a through-ball in the middle of the penalty area, he kept his composure to beat his defender before side-footing past the outrushing Manders.
Russell had enough opportunities to bag a hat-trick for himself, but Manders refused to give in and produced back-to-back saves from point-blank range to keep Town in with the remotest of chances to turn it around.
With the score now 4-1, the best goal was yet to come. Hood won a free kick some 20 yards out, centrally located. Former Town player Tomiko Goater’s free kick cleared the wall and nestled into the right corner of the net despite a gallant effort from the diving Manders. “That is my first goal against my former team,” a jubilant Goater said later.
Town almost had a consolation goal late in the game when David Jones slipped a pass to Kamali Davis, but his low drive was gathered by Morrissey at the second attempt.
Hood assistant coach Keishon Smith summed it up in the end, saying: “Hood are on fire. These guys are gelling nicely right now and if they keep this up, they will be hard to stop.”
With this victory over their nearest rivals, Hood have temporarily opened a five-point gap with three games to play before reaching the halfway mark, and eight over a suddenly floundering Village.
Robin Hood: Brangman 4, 29, 35, Russell 64, Goater 71
Dandy Town: Swan 24
Robin Hood (3-4-2-1): J Morrissey – L Evans, D Leverock, J Bather – A Trott, A Simons (sub: C Castle, 80min), P Parsons, A Nelson (sub: E Outerbridge, 80) – T Goater, J Bell – C Brangman (sub: A Russell, 46). Substitutes not used: T Bean, T Frias, K Knights. Booked: A Nelson, A Simons.
Dandy Town (4-2-3-1): J Manders – E Blankendal, E Trott, J Lindo-Bean, D Jones – L Emery (sub: N Carmichael, 46), S Darrell – K Davis, J Chapman (sub: J Richardson-Martin, 35), J Swan (sub: T Smith, 73) – C Robinson. Substitutes not used: A Simmons, J Roser, M Mello-Cann. Booked: Darrell, Jones, Carmichael.
Referee: M Wyer.