Jensen Rogers hopes lessons were learnt by Somerset Eagles in tough cup loss
Jensen Rogers, the Somerset Eagles coach, hopes his players can quickly rebound from their heartbreaking loss to Southampton Rangers in the Friendship Trophy when they journey east to meet St George’s in a bottom-of-the-table clash this weekend.
Eagles twice took the lead against Rangers before eventually going down 4-3 after extra time to the holders in one of the most exciting matches of the season.
Now their focus will switch to upcoming league matches against St George’s and Rangers as they try to climb off the bottom.
“I felt we did enough to win the game,” Rogers said. “We took the lead twice and I felt we had the energy and played very well.
“It was disappointing because everything we worked on we put out there on the field and still came up a little short in the end. It was a great game with some great goals scored.
After finishing 3-3 in regulation time, Cardel Henry came off the bench to score the Rangers winner in extra time and send them into the last eight. Eagles were involved in another 4-3 match last season when they edged Dandy Town in the Friendship Trophy quarter-finals.
Sunday’s loss to Rangers convinced Rogers that his team can hold their own in the Premier Division, despite picking up only one win so far in the league.
He said: “We need to build off that and take that momentum to St George’s this weekend — then against Rangers at home to try to close out the year with some points.
“The position we’re in right now, I would rather do well in the league than win a trophy. I’d rather survive than win the Friendship, so the main thing right now is getting the points so that we stay up.
“The feeling in the camp is we’re not a bad team, and not a First Division team. That we are a Premier team and we’re going to make sure we work hard to stay in the Premier Division.”
Nathan Rego, who scored one of the best goals of the game, a curling shot into the far top corner, is one of the exciting youngsters in the Eagles set-up, with Samori Greenidge-Saltus, 18, settling in well on the left side of their attack.
“Samori has been improving every week, and against Rangers he was one of the standout players for us along with Nathan Rego and a few others,” the coach said.
“You are talking about young players learning their trade in the Premier Division. Hopefully, they learn quick enough and they can help us stay up.
“It’s going to come down to four, maybe five, teams at the end of the season, but one thing we have on our side is we were there last year and we know about the pressure that comes with it.
“If we keep putting in the work, the results will change. We can’t afford to win one week then lose the next two games; we have to continue picking up points. We can’t win the league, so we root for Robin Hood, Dandy Town and Devonshire Cougars whenever they are playing our rivals.”
Rogers was sent off the bench in the second half for obstructing Dion Stovell in a bit of gamesmanship as he tried to collect the ball near the Eagles bench to take a throw.
“He tried to get the ball at my feet for a quick throw in and gave me a nudge. I gave him a nudge to stop him from throwing the ball, but from the referee’s point of view he might have thought it was something malicious,” Rogers said.
“Stovell and I have been mates since we were in primary school and at Somerset [Trojans] together.”
It is unknown if Rogers will be censured by the Bermuda Football Association.
Eagles hope to have Tahj Wade back this weekend after he was replaced at half-time against Rangers with a slight groin injury. “He felt a little something, so we took him off,” the coach said of Wade, who scored the first Eagles goal.
“It was a cup game and I would rather take him off then and have him for the league then try to force him to play through the cup game and then it becomes something serious and we don’t have him for three league matches.”