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Matthew Fullerton the unlikely hero as Hood reach Friendship semi-finals

Crucial change: Robin Hood coach Dante Leverock’s gamble to call on Matthew Fullerton in extra time of their Friendship Trophy match against Devonshire Colts last night paid off after the reserve goalkeeper scored the winning goal at Devonshire Rec.

Devonshire Colts 0 Robin Hood 1

(after extra time)

Substitute Matthew Fullerton, the Robin Hood reserve goalkeeper, was the team’s unlikely hero after scoring the game’s only goal midway through the second period of extra time to secure a semi-final spot in the Friendship Trophy last night at Devonshire Rec.

Penalty kicks were looking likely against Devonshire Colts when coach Dante Leverock took a gamble on Fullerton, one of only three subs on the bench, to play up front in place of the injured Kwame Naynor.

Two minutes later a shot was blocked and Fullerton, who was standing inside the six-yard box, poked the ball home past as the Colts defence failed to clear the danger. It sent his team-mates into a frenzy as they celebrated the game’s only goal.

“It was just nice to help the team, we’re short and only played 48 hours ago so guys are carrying knocks,” Fullerton said afterwards. “I was just doing what I could.

“This was only my second game, I’m the back-up goalkeeper. Tonight we were short so I stepped up. I put something on it and it went in.”

Colts went close to scoring what could have been the winner in the first period of extra time when a well struck left-footed effort from 25 yards by substitute Torben Axelsen brought off an equally brilliant save from goalkeeper Mataeo Holder who somehow managed to tip the effort over the crossbar.

The regulation period had few in the way of clear-cut chances, with Colts saving their best efforts in the first half as Brandon O’Connor had a good opportunity before the half when his attempted lob over the goalkeeper went wide of an open goal.

Right on the half-time break, Colts suffered a setback when defender Sareiko Thomas had a head injury and was still on the field receiving treatment after the other players had gone off for the break. Eventually he walked over to the northern gate to be attended to by fire department personnel who arrived on the scene, before later coming back into the ground.

Hood had a couple of good chances late in the second half to seal the win, with a low free kick by striker Chae Brangman turned around the post by goalkeeper Jahniko Francis.

Minutes later a ball into the box from a Daniel Cook free kick was allowed to bounce and go untouched across the goal as another opportunity went begging.

∎ In the opening Shield quarter-final, Hamilton Parish needed an 89th minute goal from Jordan Outerbridge to defeat Vasco 3-2 in an exciting match.

Vasco, who only picked up their first win of the season two days earlier when they defeated St David’s, twice took the lead through Kyle Hamilton in the 25th and 53rd minutes.

Parish, on the verge of securing the first promotion spot, had to dig deep to twice get back on level terms, equalising through Outerbridge in the 41st minute and again in the 60th minute when Macquille Walker netted to make it 2-2.

SCORER

Robin Hood: M Fullerton 114

Devonshire Colts (4-3-3): J Francis 6 – M Williams 6 (sub: D Davis 75min 6), C Minors 6, S Thomas 6 (sub: K Burch 46 6), F Lema 6 – K Cann 5, Burgess 6, K Bailey 6 (sub: L Symonds 85 5) – T Smith 5 (sub: R Urquhart 75 6), B O’Connor 6 (sub: T Axelsen 90+5 6), J Paynter 5. Substitutes not used: A Famous, J Salaam, J Samuels, E Weldon. Booked: Minors, Burch, Axelsen.

Robin Hood (4-3-3): M Holder 6 – K Knights 6, J Bather 7, C Robinson 6, D Cook 6 – L Evans 7, A Nelson 6, K Naylor 6 (sub: M Fullerton 112) – C Brangman 7, A Simons 6 (sub: T Bean 78 6), T Goater 6. Substitute not used: N Massa. Booked: Simons, Cook, Bather.

Referee: J Springer

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Published March 16, 2022 at 7:55 am (Updated March 17, 2022 at 8:14 am)

Matthew Fullerton the unlikely hero as Hood reach Friendship semi-finals

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