Simmons in fine form as Cougars cruise past Trojans
Somerset 0 Devonshire Cougars 3
Midfielder Zari Simmons set up two goals in the first half and then scored the third himself early in the second as Devonshire Cougars strengthened their grip on third place with this deserved victory in the west end.
It was a pretty even contest between the two sides until Cougars broke the deadlock midway through the first half when Simmons’s pass into the box put Drewonde Bascome clear of defender Maquel Nisbett-Tankard before he placed his shot past the advancing goalkeeper Jade Morrissey.
Striker Allan Douglas blasted a left-footed shot straight at Ricardo Brangman in the Cougars goal minutes later before Cougars doubled their lead with another good finish six minutes before the break.
Simmons was again involved, this time combining with Domico Coddington on the left side of the Somerset penalty area as Coddington took a shot pass and turned and blasted into the roof of the net from 20 yards.
The two first half goals laid the foundation for the victory, with coach Kwame Steede pleased with his team’s performance. The win moves Cougars to within a point of second-placed PHC whose game with X-Roads was called off yesterday because of a shortage of officials.
“I thought we dominated the game, we stayed on top from start to finish and it was a great performance on and off the ball,” Steede said. “We were deserving of the victory.”
The Trojans came out with more fight early in the second half as the speed of Douglas caused some anxious moments for the Cougars defence.
He chipped a short cross back from the goal line for Nathan Rego who headed over the crossbar. Then a ball into the box from a free kick on the right saw Douglas’s strong header turned around the post by Brangman for a corner.
However, just when it looked like a fightback was on the cards for the home team, Cougars struck with a third goal in the 56th minute to seal the win, Simmons netted with a low shot from close range after the defence did not clear the ball.
Somerset were preparing to make a double substitution when the goal was scored, Jeze Butterfield coming on for Damon Swan and Tevahn Tyrell replacing Rego. Justin Corday was replaced by Coolridge Durham in the 63rd minute, three minutes after picking up a yellow card.
Tyrell had a shot from inside the box blocked by ‘keeper Brangman as Somerset continued to battle, with Brangman then slapping away an inswinging free kick from Jahkari Furbert in the closing minutes as Cougars held on for clean sheet.
Cougars made four changes from the team which beat BAA 3-2 in extra time in the FA Cup in their last outing on February 11, veteran forward Lejaun Simmons one of those on the bench.
“I’ve got to man manage them, we’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time,” coach Steede pointed out, referring to the eight games they have played since January 22.
“We’ve played three games in a week for the last three weeks to a month, so we had to manage them to keep them fresh. The early goals made the game more comfortable for us.”
Despite the seven point gap between themselves and leaders Dandy Town, Steede hasn’t yet given up on making it a three-team title race.
“All we can do is push and hope everything else falls in place,” said the former Town coach. “We’re just pushing.”
Cougars: D Bascome 27, D Coddington 39, Z Simmons 56
Somerset (4-3-3): J Morrissey 6 ‒ Jaden Ratteray-Smith 5, Jaz Ratteray-Smith 6, T Ming 6, M Nisbett-Tankard 5 ‒ D Swan 5 (sub: J Butterfield 57, 6), D Ming 6, J Corday 5 (sub: C Durham 63, 6) ‒ A Douglas 7, J Furbert 6, N Rego 5 (sub: T Tyrell 57, 6). Substitutes not used: N Durham, Q Watson. Booked: Corday, T Ming.
Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): R Brangman 6 ‒ D Williams 6 (sub: J Mouchette 70, 6), Z White 6, Zion Simmons 6, J Thomas 6 ‒ Q Maynard 7 (sub: K Minors 74), C Caisey 6, Zari Simmons 7 (sub: M Battersbee 63, 6) ‒ D Bascome 6 (sub: C Albuoy 74), D Coddington 6 (sub: L Simmons, 63, 6), C Caisey 6. Substitutes not used: E Darrell, A Cannonier.
Referee: M Wyer