Hood too strong for bottom side Eagles
Somerset Eagles 1
Robin Hood 4
Robin Hood moved five points clear of the relegation zone with a comprehensive victory at White Hill Field that was led by two goals from striker Chae Brangman.
Hood also moved ahead of Devonshire Colts on goal difference, with a three-goal margin.
The visitors had the best possible start, scoring twice in the opening eight minutes.
Dante Leverock, their player-coach, was satisfied with the three points, thought not totally happy with the performance against the bottom team, who were depleted and did not have any substitutes on the bench.
“I don’t think we played well but we got the three points which is most important,” Leverock admitted.
“These are the games we have to win, and we have to play them again. We do want to look forward and we think we can nick some points against the better teams in the league.”
Brangman opened the scoring off a shot from the left side of the penalty box, and Hood were well on their way to a first win since beating X-Roads on December 5, when Liam Evans doubled the lead five minutes later. A ball into the box from the right side by Brangman was chested down by Shannon Burchall for Evans to drive home at the near post.
Shakir Smith, a Hood player last season before his transfer to Eagles, cut the arrears in the fourteenth minute when he scored directly from a corner on the right.
Joshua Roberts, the young Eagles goalkeeper, who was also a Hood player last season, kept the scoreline close midway through the first half with a couple of crucial saves in succession as Hood kept on the pressure.
Eagles had a first half injury to Keedai Astwood who went off briefly for treatment to a groin injury. He was forced to continue playing through the injury because of the team’s predicament.
Brangman put another effort over the crossbar from close range after Jaylon Bather, a former Eagles player, set him up with a good pass after getting inside the box on the right side and laying off a pass with his weaker right foot.
Brangman had a couple more chances in the final two minutes of the first half, the first, a shot on the turn, which brought off a good reflex save from Roberts. Then, right at the half, a ball into the box from Burchall on the left saw Brangman rise high to power a header past the ‘keeper from eight yards.
Leverock put a header over the bar for a corner on the left by Evans early in the second half as Hood continue to waste chances. Then Aaron Nelson squared the ball back into the box where Burchall lifted his effort over the top.
Hood did get a fourth goal three minutes later when a cross from the left by Daniel Cook, one of the teenagers Hood have been pushing this season, found Nelson at the far post to score.
Leading comfortably, Hood were able to make a double substitution in the 69th minute as youth replaced experience, with Tajai Goater and Niyan Outerbridge coming on for the experienced front pair of Burchall and Nelson.
Bather almost capped it off with a goal against his former team, after getting into the box in the 86th minute before driving a right-footed shot wide of the far post.
“The under-15 and under-17 Warwick Archers, which are our youth teams, just won and most of these guys played last night, so credit to them,” Leverock said, referring to the Appleby Youth finals that were played on Saturday evening despite the heavy rain.
“They are growing from the senior experience. From when I first saw them, massive jumps!”
Somerset Eagles: Smith 14
Robin Hood: Brangman 5, 45; Evans 8, Nelson 64
Somerset Eagles (4-4-2): J Roberts 6 ‒ S Lambert 5, J Rogers 5, K Evans 5, K Harrison 5 ‒ E Fubler 6, D Joell 6, D Simmons 6, A Telford 6 ‒ S Smith 6, K Astwood 5. Substitutes: None. Booked: Lambert, Evans.
Robin Hood (4-3-3): M Holder 6 ‒ K Knights 6, D Leverock 6, C Robinson 6, D Cook 7 ‒ J Bather 7, E Outerbridge 5 (sub: A Simons 65, 6), L Evans 7 ‒ C Brangman 7, A Nelson 6 (sub: T Goater 69, 5), S Burchall 6 (sub: N Outerbridge 69, 5). Substitute not used: A Mussenden. Booked: Cook, Leverock.
Referee: D Jackson