Calin Maybury masterclass drives Cougars into Friendship Trophy quarter-finals
Dandy Town 1 Devonshire Cougars 2
Devonshire Cougars moved on to the next round of the Friendship Trophy on Saturday night after a second successive victory over crosstown rivals Dandy Town Hornets.
First-half goals at Goose Gosling Field from Calin Maybury and Jayori Fox put the visiting side in the driver’s seat, but they had to weather some late pressure from Town after Cecoy Robinson pulled one back ten minutes from full time.
Cougars interim coach Mark Mills was pleased with his team’s overall performance and the way that they managed the difficult moments. “I felt that the team showed good character tonight, particularly in the early stages of the match when we were a bit under it”, Mills said. “But they responded very well to turn the tide and score a couple before the half to put us in good position.”
Maybury was an integral part of the victory, scoring the first for Cougars and providing the service for the second from his deep midfield role.
“Calin is in really good form right now and you can see that he is playing with confidence and enjoying his football,” Mills said. “Tonight we got another solid performance from him, and his contributions in the attack were what made the difference in the end.”
Dandy Town controlled large portions of the possession early in the match but Cougars were always a threat on the counter, and had the first two chances.
A cross from Lejaun Simmons took a late swerve towards goal but Jaiden Manders in the Town goal did well to recover and make the save. Moments later, Elisha Darrell had the ball over the line from another counter-attack, but Fox, who squared the ball in, was adjudged to be offside.
After the two close calls, Town began to find openings from their ball movement, and their best chances came from diagonal balls to the overlapping Eusebio Blankendal. However, goalkeeper Kioshi Trott was sharp between the sticks, making a good save from Blankendal’s volley in the first instance and bravely coming out to smother the defender’s attempt moments later when he was through again.
At about the half-hour mark, the momentum began to shift and Maybury took advantage. The midfielder received a scoop pass from Simmons just inside the box, and showed good determination as he won a couple of 50/50 challenges with the goalkeeper and a defender to eventually bundle the ball over the line.
With the wind in their sails, Cougars continued to apply pressure and within five minutes doubled their lead with a goal worth the price of admission.
This time Maybury played provider with a pinpoint pass over the defence from ten yards outside the box that an airborne Fox side-volleyed into the far corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance and the crowd in awe.
In an attempt to get themselves back in the match, Town tweaked a few things at the half and brought on Jahtino Martin-Richardson and David Jones Jr. The move helped them to regain control over possession and pin their opponents into their own half for large periods, but they struggled to create a clear-cut chance against a stubborn Cougars team, who were resilient in defence and a constant threat on the counter.
In the 70th minute, Maybury showed his passing range once again, this time with a ball over the top from deep in his half to put Darrell in on goal. However, the pacy striker took a little too long to get his shot off, allowing Manders to cut the angle and make the save.
Town would eventually get their lifeline in the 82nd minute when Robinson finished firmly into the bottom corner after combining with Angelo Simmons just inside the box.
In the dying minutes, Town continued to probe, looking for an equaliser, and came close when Blankendal shifted the ball on the edge of the box to create space for his shot, but Trott was equal to task, moving his feet well to cover the ground and make the save.
Cougars face Devonshire Colts in the quarter-finals on December 20.
Dandy Town: Robinson 82
Devonshire Cougars: Maybury 34, Fox 39
Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): K Trott — L Millett, Zeko White, Zekiro White, T Tucker — C Maybury, Moses Steede, Z Simmons — J Fox (sub: Mark Steede, 87min), L Simmons (sub: C Brangman, 76), E Darrell. Substitutes not used: C Albuoy, N Simmons, A Cannonier, R Trott.
Dandy Town (3-4-3): J Manders — E Trott, T Webb Jr (sub: D Jones Jr, 46), J Bean-Lindo — A Furbert (sub: J Richardson-Martin, 46), E Blankendal, J Chapman, K Davis — J Swan (sub: J Swan, 87), C Robinson, A Simmons. Substitutes not used: T Smith, N Carmichael, O Wilson, M Perott. Booked: Webb.
Referee: M Wyer.