Chae Brangman breaks Cougars’ hearts
Devonshire Cougars 0 Robin Hood 1
Robin Hood made a huge statement yesterday, walking away from Devonshire Rec with all three points against Cougars, having scored a late winner through on-form striker Chae Brangman.
Hood came into match in an already favourable position sitting two points clear of their hosts with a game in hand, but coach John Barry Nusum always knew it was going to be a tough contest coming up against a Cougars team who were eight games unbeaten.
“They are a top team in good form right now, and we have found it difficult at this venue in the past so we knew this would not be an easy game,” Nusum said.
“On a difficult surface, in tough conditions we knew it wouldn’t be pretty and that there would only be a few moments that could potentially make the difference. Fortunately, we made ours count.”
Robin Hood were forced into a last-minute change when Adrian Trott took ill during the warm-up and required medical treatment before leaving the ground via ambulance.
Nusum added: “Danté Leverock was also a late omission, so I give a lot of credit to the team for coming together and doing what was necessary under the circumstances. Now we have to move on to the next challenge.”
There were plenty of goals in both line-ups, with Hood’s Brangman coming off of back-to-back hat tricks and Elisha Darrell entering the match with four goals in his previous two outings.
Both forwards would get early chances, with Darrell having the first look in the fifth minute, controlling a ball in the box on his chest and volleying sharply from 12 yards to force a brilliant, reflex save from Jahquil Hill.
Moments later, Brangman would have his turn, getting on the end of a Tomiko Goater through-ball, but he would be disappointed with the execution of his attempted lob that went over the bar.
After the initial flurry of chances, the match evolved into a midfield battle with neither team able to effectively settle the ball and connect passes. Aaron Nelson came the closest late in the half, but dragged his effort wide of the far post from just inside the box.
Both teams made changes at half-time looking to add to their attack. Young winger Che-kai Caisey came on for Cougars to inject some energy into their front line, and Hood introduced Justin Bell to provide a little more flair to theirs.
Bell had the greater impact, displaying good skill on a number occasions. With his first touch, he skipped across a defender inside the box and went inches wide of the far post with his left-footed effort. Moments later, he was at it again, cutting in from the left on his defender and curling a shot from the edge of the box that goalkeeper Kioshi Trott did well to deal with.
Nelson then had a good opportunity from the other flank, receiving a ball down the side of the box and cutting in before drilling a ball into the chest of Trott, who knew little about it but stood firm to make the save.
Although somewhat on the back foot, Cougars were still a threat going forward, and had a good look when Lejaun Simmons rounded his man on the byline and pulled back for Moses Steede. But the midfielder could not get enough on the shot to beat the maze of players in front of the goalkeeper.
Robin Hood then had a huge appeal for penalty in the 70th minute, claiming that a shot from Goater hit the hand of a Cougars defender, but referee Dwight Jackson concluded otherwise.
As the half wore on, the conditions continued to worsen with heavy downpours threatening to waterlog certain areas of the pitch. The extra weight of wet jerseys and a soaked pitch seemed to affect Robin Hood less than it did their hosts, and they began to develop some momentum
The hard work and grit would eventually pay off late in the match when Brangman, who had been quiet up until then, would finally find his moment.
The striker ran on to another lovely through-ball from Goater and released a first-time shot that took a slight deflection off the challenging defender and dipped over the goalkeeper and into the net for his seventh goal in three matches.
“I was glad to get the goal but the victory was the main objective,”, Brangman said. “It was scrappy out there at times, but the team worked hard. We were able to create a few chances and fortunately we were able to put one away.”
Robin Hood: Brangman 85
Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): K Trott — D Williams (sub: Che-Kai Caisey, 46min), L Millet, Zeko White, T Tucker — C Maybury, Moses Steede, Z Simmons — Chris Caisey, L Simmons, E Darrell (sub: N Simmons, 77). Substitutes not used: R Trott, J Fox, A Cannonier, M Battersbee, Mark Steede. Booked: Williams, Tucker.
Robin Hood (4-4-2): J Hill — K Knights, J Bather, L Evans, C Castle — P Parsons, A Simons (sub: J Bell, 46), T Goater, A Nelson (sub: T Frias, 82) — A Russell, C Brangman. Substitutes not used: J Morrissey, T Bean, E Outerbridge.
Referee: D Jackson.