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Town hoping to keep Triple Crown hopes alive in Friendship final

Dandy Town are preparing for another intense match against Devonshire Cougars when they meet in tonight’s Friendship Trophy final, their second meeting in four days. Here Kamali Davis keeps the ball away from Devonshire Cougars pair Darren Williams and Zeko White on Saturday. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dandy Town coach Aaron Denkins is playing his cards close to his chest as he prepares for tonight’s rematch with Devonshire Cougars in the Friendship Trophy final at the Flora Duffy Stadium.

Town’s 2-1 extra time win over Cougars on Saturday came at a price as Town had defender Jomei Bean-Lindo stretchered off early in the match with an ankle injury. His replacement, Matthew Mello-Cann, went off in extra time with an injury of his own as the side finished the match at PHC Field with nine men.

In between, midfielder Azende Furbert was sent off late in regulation time for a second booking. The midfielder will serve his one-match suspension tonight though he will be available for Sunday’s season-ending FA Cup final against PHC.

Denkins is not saying whether Bean-Lindo or Mello-Cann will be available tonight. “I don’t want to give away too much,” the coach replied when asked about the two players.

“We’re preparing for the game the same way we’ve managed the entire season. We’ve had injuries and cards throughout the entire season but the good thing about Dandy Town as an organisation is that we have depth so over the season we have used over 30 people, including under-17 players.

“Yes, we have injuries and suspensions but we have enough depth at the club to make up the numbers.”

Saturday’s victory was the club’s third win over Cougars this season, with Denkins expecting another close match against the side coached by Kwame Steede, the former Town coach.

Victory would move Town to within a win of the Triple Crown, though Denkins is still stressing the importance of one match at a time.

“It’s unavoidable to think about it because everybody is talking about it, but we’re putting it in the back of our minds,” he said.

“We have to put each match at the forefront, so tomorrow’s opponents will be just as difficult as they were on Saturday.

“If we’re thinking about the Triple Crown then we’re thinking about Sunday’s match and we have to think about tomorrow’s match first. The Triple Crown and all that stuff will sort itself out.”

Cougars are the last team to win the Triple Crown, doing so under coach Dennis Brown in the 2012-13 season after beating Town 3-2 on penalties in the Friendship final that season.

Town have had four ‘doubles’, the league and FA on three occasions in 2003-04, 2011-12 and 2013-14, and the league and Friendship in 1993-94. This season’s league success was their ninth league title.

“We just have to take the approach that we’ve taken all season, one game at a time, one day at a time,” said Denkins who is happy to have captain Angelo Simmons back from a calf injury.

“Angelo got injured against Devonshire Colts but we knew he was going to come back, it was a matter of when. Now’s a good time for him to be coming back.

“Whether Angelo has the captain’s armband on or not, he is the team captain.”

Denkins added: “This season has been a peculiar season because you’ve had two teams who have been outstanding all season, us and PHC.

“It was closer than the seven points suggested. They slipped up a bit and we were able to ride our luck a few times. It was very little separating us and PHC.

“It’s a credit to PHC as an organisation also because they are doing the right things. And credit to Cougars for making it to the [Friendship] final.”

No doubt Cougars will be fired up at the prospect of winning a lone trophy for the season, and also preventing Town from winning the Triple Crown at their expense.

“Cougars are always up for the fight against Dandy Town,” the coach admitted.

“Kwame is doing an excellent job over there, and he did an excellent job at Dandy Town. Now is the added caveat of coaching against his son [Enrique Swan] so that adds a little more incentive in there.

“It should be a good match, with the same intensity as there was on Saturday.

“It’s been an amazing season for us and to finish it off with the last two trophies would be great but it’s not going to diminish the good season that we’ve had so far.”

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Published April 20, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated April 20, 2022 at 1:36 pm)

Town hoping to keep Triple Crown hopes alive in Friendship final

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