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Cougars and Town ready to battle again in Friendship Trophy

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Assistant coach Mark Mills, right, checks with Zekiro White after the Devonshire Cougars defender limped off in the first half of the Dudley Eve Trophy final against Dandy Town on November 11. White may be back from injury tonight when Cougars and Town meet in the Friendship Trophy preliminary round (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Mark Mills is seeking another victory over Dandy Town when he continues as coach of Devonshire Cougars for tonight’s Friendship Trophy preliminary round match as head coach Vance Brown continues his recovery from a recent illness.

Brown missed the Dudley Eve Trophy final between the two sides, Mills leading the side to a fifth Dudley Eve title with a thrilling come-from-behind 2-1 win as all three goals came late in the match.

The Friendship Trophy match at Goose Gosling Field tonight will be the fourth meeting between the teams this season, the previous including a draw in a Dudley Eve group encounter and a 2-0 win for Town in the league.

In pain: goalkeeper Ajai Daniels, of Devonshire Cougars, is helped off the field by captain Zeko White after injuring his Achilles tendon in the Dudley Eve Trophy final on November 11. Kioshi Trott will continue in goal tonight against Dandy Town in the Friendship Trophy, with Daniels still recovering (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Town were the favourites in the final, but the form of both teams have shifted a bit lately, with Town without a win in the last month while Cougars’ loss to Robin Hood on Sunday was their first defeat since Town beat them on September 26.

“We’re just looking at it as another game, we take every game the same way,” Mills said yesterday. “It’s a learning process for me, but every day I’m enjoying it. It’s my passion.

“Yes, we’ve faced them three times already, but they have injuries and we have injuries so it could be new line-ups facing each other and a new challenge.”

Cougars are still without goalkeeper Ajai Daniels, who went off midway through the second half of the final with an Achilles injury that could keep him out until the new year.

Defender Zekiro White also went off injured in that match after just 32 minutes with a leg injury, but could be back soon, Mills revealed. “He’s been training, we’ll see how it goes tonight and will know by tomorrow,” the coach said.

“Every game we go in with confidence. You have to be confident because without confidence you’re defeated already. We’ll go in full tilt.”

Cougars were beaten 1-0 by Southampton Rangers in last year’s final at Somerset Cricket Club, while Devonshire Colts won the First Division Shield final with a 4-1 win over Flanagan’s Onions.

Two other preliminary-round matches tomorrow will see Robin Hood playing Somerset Trojans and Southampton Rangers hosting Somerset Eagles, with the three winners joining the other five teams in the quarter-finals on December 20.

The eight First Division clubs will be involved in Shield quarter-final matches that day as they begin the battle to replace Colts as champions.

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Published November 28, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 28, 2020 at 7:19 am)

Cougars and Town ready to battle again in Friendship Trophy

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