Cecoy Robinson cross-shot gives Town the points in nervy season opener
Dandy Town 1 Devonshire Cougars 0
A lone second-half strike from Dandy Town forward Cecoy Robinson was enough to secure all three points against Devonshire Cougars in the season opener at Goose Gosling Field last night.
Although neither team could claim complete dominance in the sparsely attended match, Cougars had looked the more likely to score up until that point, and would be disappointed not to have capitalised on a number of good looks in the first half.
“Considering we haven’t played any competitive football in over a year, I was satisfied with the way that we moved the ball around and we probably should have been up a couple goals at the half,” Cougars coach Vance Brown said.
“We know that the game of football is like that sometimes, but we can take a lot from this match, and the key now is to keep the group motivated as we move forward with the new season.”
Dandy Town coach Aaron Denkins agreed that his team took a little longer to settle into the match, but was pleased with their response in the second half.
“The plan was to allow them to play in certain areas and maintain our defensive structure,” he said. “We did that well, but our decision-making in possession was leaving us vulnerable to counter-attacks. Our focus in the second half was to limit the errors and we were able to do that once the nerves settled a bit, which allowed us to start creating chances of our own.”
Both teams were understandably cautious in their approach at the start of the match, and the sharpness was lacking as they struggled to maintain meaningful possession. Cougars had the edge with the energy of Che-kai Caisey in the centre of the park and the pace and trickery of Domico Coddington and Lejuan Simmons causing problems on both flanks.
The two would have the best chances of the half when Coddington beat his man cutting in from the left flank, but miscued his angled shot with only goalkeeper Jaiden Manders to beat. Simmons would have an equally good opportunity in the 38th minute, but could not beat the goalkeeper after getting in behind the defence.
The two picked up where they left off in the second half, breaching the Town defence early in the restart, but were unable to deliver a decisive blow
Town would eventually have their turn when Jomei Bean-Lindo’s attempted cross forced Cougars goalkeeper Casey Hardtmann to scramble back and tip over the bar.
The resulting corner in the 55th minute was overhit, but Robinson showed good awareness to keep the ball in play and switch the angle for a low inswinging cross that went through a maze of players untouched and into the far corner of the goal.
This proved to be the turning point of the match and, with the introduction of Tomiko Goater and Kamali Davis, Town began to look more of a threat. Within minutes of entering the pitch, Davis thought he had extended the lead, latching on to a through-ball and slotting calmly under the advancing goalkeeper, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Bean-Lindo then watched as his sweetly struck free kick from the right crashed off the crossbar with Hardtmann beaten. Robinson would then have a chance to double his tally, but shot straight at the goalkeeper after being slipped in by Goater.
Although on the back foot, the visiting side were still in the match, thanks to a fine save from Hardtmann, who went full length to tip an Angelo Simmons shot on to a post and away to safety.
That left the door open for Cougars, who in the dying moments thought they had received a lifeline when Simmons was brought down for what was thought to be a penalty. After lengthy deliberation among the officials, the foul was determined to be outside the box, and the resulting free kick was blazed harmlessly over the bar.
Dandy Town: C Robinson 55
Dandy Town (3-4-3): J Manders 6 — E Blankendal 5, S Darrell 5, A Furbert 7 — J Bean-Lindo 6, J Chapman 5, N Spence 5 (sub: K Davis 68min 5), Jahtino Richardson-Martin 5 — O Lowe 5 (sub: T Goater 57 6), A Simmons 5, C Robinson 6 (sub: M Mello-Cann 81). Substitutes not used: J Johnson, E Swan, Jahseiko Richardson-Martin. Booked: Robinson.
Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): C Hardtmann 5 — D Williams 5, Z White 5, L Millet 4, T Tucker 5 (sub: A Cannonier 62 5) — Z Simmons 6, C Caisey 5 (sub: Q Maynard 56 5) — L Simmons 5, E Darrell 4 (sub: R Wells 75), D Coddington 5. Substitutes not used: K Trott, M Steede, K Mills-Wilson, K Wilson, J Roser. Booked: Furbert.
Referee: D Jackson.