Tomiko Goater keeps Triple Crown alive for nine-man Dandy Town with extra-time winner
Dandy Town 2 Devonshire Cougars 1
(aet; 1-1 at 90min)
Tomiko Goater epitomised the spirit of short-handed Dandy Town when he scored a vital winner on Saturday to sink Devonshire Cougars and send the Premier Division champions into the FA Cup final.
Town found a way to get over the line despite first being down a man near the end of regulation time because of Azendae Furbert’s red card and then reduced to nine after Matthew Mello-Cann — a first-half replacement for Jomei Bean-Lindo — was injured minutes in the wake of a double substitution that completed the allotment available to head coach Aaron Denkins.
Cougars started off the brighter at PHC Field and could have had a penalty given inside ten minutes.
Quadir Maynard picked out Lejaun Simmons on the left flank, but Jomei Bean-Lindo came across and made a clumsy tackle just inside the box. However, referee Jamar Springer judged the left back took a piece of the ball on the challenge.
Moments later, Lindo had to be taken off on a stretcher for a serious ankle injury, which might have originated from his earlier lunging tackle.
Play was held up significantly to allow first responders on to the pitch.
Goater turned provider for the Hornets opener midway through the first half, spreading the play for Kamali Davis to control and arrow a rocket strike into the top left corner past Ricardo Brangman.
By this stage, the league champions had taken control of the midfield battle, which remained physical throughout the afternoon.
In the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time, Cougars equalised from yet another screamer. This time, midfielder Darren Williams found Simmons in space on the right. The Bermuda winger cut on to his left foot and curled a beautiful effort past goalkeeper Jaiden Manders and in off the underside of the crossbar.
The second half largely followed the pattern of the first, although the midfield battle had evened out after that brief spell of Town dominance. Their best opportunity came midway through the half when Cecoy Robinson slipped in Davis, who twisted past Brangman before taking too much time on his effort, thus allowing the goalkeeper to recover to make a save.
Midfielder Furbert was sent off just before the end of regulation time for a late challenge on Simmons, his second bookable offence. Just before the final whistle, Cougars piled on their most sustained spell of pressure, but were unable to break down a well-organised Town defence, failing to capitalise on the stretched nature of the period.
Midway through the second half of extra time, despite losing Mello-Cann to injury and being two short, Town found the winner from a set-piece.
Davis whipped in a corner from the left, and although the header from Angelo Simmons was saved by Brangman, he could only manage to parry the ball into the path of Goater, who tapped in from close range.
Denkins was delighted with his team’s resilience. “Credit goes to the players and their team spirit,” he said. “We had a few moments of adversity, namely losing Jomei and going down a man [Azendae Furbert’s red card], but we found a way.”
Denkins added that Town must focus on every game as it comes. “We are preparing for Wednesday [Friendship Trophy final against Cougars],” Denkins said. “The Triple Crown is not our priority; it will take care of itself.”
Devonshire Cougars: L Simmons 45+5
Dandy Town: Davis 26, Goater 110
Dandy Town (4-3-3): J Manders 6 – J Bean-Lindo 5 (sub: M Mello-Cann, 17min 6), T Manders 6 (sub: M Isaac, 100 5), T Webb 6 (sub: J Samuels, 73 6), E Blankendal 6 — N Spence 6 (sub: M Parsons, 100 5), T Goater 7, A Furbert 4 — K Davis 6, C Robinson 5 (sub: O Lowe, 84 6), E Swan 5 (sub: A Simmons, 73 6). Substitutes not used: J Roser. Booked: Furbert, Davis, S Darrell (bench). Sent off: Furbert.
Devonshire Cougars (4-2-3-1): R Brangman 5 — J Thomas 6, D Williams 6, Chris Caisey 6, Z White 6 (sub: E Darrell, 90 5) — Q Maynard 5, K Minors 5 (sub: D Bascome, 73 6) — L Simmons 6, Chekai Caisey 5, Zari Simmons 5 (sub: A Cannonier, 90 5) — D Coddington 5. Substitutes not used: Zion Simmons, R Simmons, C Johnson. Booked: Minors, Bascome.
Referee: J Springer (Barbados).