Free-scoring Chae Brangman ready for top clash with former team
Chae Brangman is expecting a tough match on his return to the Den as Robin Hood meet Devonshire Cougars in a mouthwatering, top-of-the-table match on Sunday.
The former Devonshire Cougars striker has been in blistering form, with hat-tricks in his past two games against North Village and Dandy Town making him joint top scorer on seven goals with another young striker, Enrique Russell, of PHC.
Last weekend, Brangman’s treble in the space of 31 minutes in the first half helped ease Hood to a 5-1 win over Town, their first loss in the league.
Brangman went off as a precaution with an injury at half-time, but should be back to lead the Hood attack as they look to strengthen their grip on first place. Hood and Cougars are the top scorers in the division, Hood with 25 goals from seven matches and Cougars with 17 in eight games.
“It’s definitely going to be a big game, due to the fact we’re top of the table,” Brangman said.
“I was brought up at [Devonshire Cougars], so it’s definitely going to be a tough one. I did play for the club from my childhood days up until two years ago. I have a lot of connections there — friends and family who support the club — so it is going to be a fight.
“I definitely wish them all the best. They’ve been doing good this season, had a couple of good pick-ups and the team has been gelling well. We’ll take that into consideration and bring our style of game to them and see how they handle it, as well as us doing our part by handling whatever they throw at us.”
Lejaun Simmons, now back at Cougars, is another player who will be playing against his former team, having been a part of the Hood squad the previous few years.
With Simmons gone, Brangman has stepped up to lead the Hood attack alongside Tomiko Goater, who has four goals in the league.
“I’m confident we’re going to bring our best game to them, we need to make a statement,” said Brangman, who has been nursing a hamstring injury the past two months.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another, but I’m trying to get back fully fit and ready to play against Cougars. At the beginning of the season, I started then was coming off the bench, then missed one or two games.”
The 25-year-old hasn’t set himself any scoring targets this season; he just wants to see the team in contention for the next three trophies up for grabs — the league, Friendship Trophy and FA Cup. Hood have had four top-two finishes in the past five years, winning the league once, in 2016-17.
This season they have been the most consistent team in the league and look favourites in the title race. “A big part of our team is that nobody is really complacent,” Brangman added.
“The main goal is to win trophies, no matter if I score or somebody else scores. There is definitely still a lot to play for.”
Cougars are just two points behind Hood, who played one fewer game. Town, now in third place, are looking to end a two-game stumble when they meet St George’s at Goose Gosling Field.
Sunday’s other matches will see Somerset Trojans taking on PHC, the two teams level on 13 points, a point behind Town, while champions North Village are seeking to end a four-game winless run when they take on Somerset Eagles at Bernard Park.
On Saturday, bottom team X-Roads host Devonshire Colts at Garrison Field, looking for their first win, while Colts are starting a good run with two straight wins taking them up to seventh place, level on eight points with Southampton Rangers, the bye team this weekend.
In the First Division, Hamilton Parish have the chance to close the gap on leaders Young Men’s Social Club, who have the weekend off. Parish are four points behind but with three games in hand going into their match with bottom team Wolves at Garrison Field.
St David’s, in third place, play Flanagan’s Onions at Lord’s while Vasco meet Ireland Rangers at Bernard Park.