Fired-up Devonshire Cougars burst Dandy Town’s Triple Crown dreams
Devonshire Cougars 3 Dandy Town 2
Devonshire Cougars made sure Dandy Town will not be joining them as winners of the Triple Crown when they edged the Premier Division champions in a thrilling Friendship Trophy final at the Flora Duffy Stadium last night.
Just four days after going down to Town in the FA Cup semi-finals, Cougars came out pumped up and looking for revenge. It mattered little to Cougars that it had been four months since Town’s only loss of the season — on December 27 when North Village beat them 2-0 at Bernard Park.
It didn’t matter, either, when Town took a fourteenth-minute lead through midfielder Tre Manders. Cougars, the last team to win the Triple Crown in 2013, made sure Town will have to wait a little longer before joining that exclusive club.
Cougars enjoyed a good spell after that opening goal and things began to change for them when they equalised through Lejaun Simmons with the last kick of the first half.
Two goals in the space of two minutes around the hour mark put Cougars 3-1 up and firmly in control before Town made it close with five minutes of regulation time remaining. Then, seven minutes of stoppage time kept a sparse crowd of 332 waiting anxiously.
“That loss on the weekend was a hard one but we didn’t worry about that because we knew we had them again, we knew they were weak and we came for the business,” said Zeko White, the Cougars captain, referring to a couple of injuries in the Town team. “It was a good game.”
The shot from Manders from outside the box took a deflection off White before sending Ricardo Brangman the wrong way on its way into the bottom corner.
“It was still early, we had plenty of time to come back and that’s what we did,” White said. “I was confident we were going to win this game.”
Cougars had some good chances after that with Simmons putting a cross just out of the reach of the sliding Domico Coddington inside the box before Kurtis Minors smashed a shot from 20 yards against the Town crossbar.
The game changed in the first minute of first-half stoppage time when a ball back into the box from the right was stroked home by Simmons to level the score at the half.
A couple of minutes after the restart, Drewonde Bascome’s free kick from 25 yards brought off a good save from goalkeeper Jaiden Manders diving to his left as Cougars had a bright start to the second half.
Then Manders blocked a shot from Bascome in a one-on-one situation as Cougars kept creating some good chances.
The game took a major change in the 61st and 63rd minutes when Cougars scored, the first a perfect lob that had a bit of luck attached to it. Zari Simmons made the diagonal cross from deep on the left and Coddington side-footed at the far post what looked like being a pass back into the centre of the box only to see the ball drop perfectly over Manders and inside the far post.
Two minutes later, Town were stunned further as Cougars made it 3-1 when Bascome followed up on his initial shot that was blocked to score the rebound from close range. He got a booking from Trinidadian referee Crystal Sobers for taking off his shirt to celebrate.
“It didn’t matter, tonight it was about Jason Lee and Osagi [Bascome], that’s who I did it for,” Bascome said of the two footballers, a friend and a first cousin, who tragically lost their lives during this season.
“I felt we played good, we deserved the win, we were dominant. Party down the Rec!”
Town, like true champions, battled to pull it back to 3-2 with five minutes remaining when a ball back into the box by Tomiko Goater was side-footed home by Oneko Lowe, who had just come on as a substitute six minutes earlier.
Both teams had injuries in the closing minutes, with Seion Darrell of Town limping off and Che’Kai Caisey, the Cougars substitute, going off on a stretcher with an ankle injury.
“First and foremost I want to to thank everybody who played the part, the Cougars family and the team most of all who put the work in to get here,” said coach Kwame Steede, who was on the Town staff last season.
“We worked, I thought the last game was unfortunate but we came up here with a different purpose and were a different animal in this game.
“It wasn’t about revenge, we just had to up our game to how we played last time. We had to put the game out of reach because we knew that Town were capable of coming back.
“It was unfortunate at the end that we didn’t control the game better. A silly mistake caused the second goal; we were too comfortable.
“I’m not afraid to say I come from that team but found my trade at Cougars. I have two homes and I love them both. Tonight we were the better team and deserved it.”
Devonshire Cougars: L Simmons 45+1, Coddington 61, Bascome 63
Dandy Town: T Manders 14, Lowe 85
Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): R Brangman 7 – D Williams 7, Z White 7, C Caisey 7, J Thomas 7 – Q Maynard 7, K Minors 6 (sub: E Darrell, 83), Z Simmons 7 – D Bascome 8, L Simmons 8 (sub: Che-Kai Caisey, 70 6) (sub: M Battersbee, 90), D Coddington 8. Substitutes not used: C Albouy, R Simmons, Zion Simmons, A Cannonier. Booked: Williams, Bascome, Coddington.
Dandy Town (4-3-3): J Manders 6 – E Blankendal 6, S Darrell 6 (sub: N Smith, 90), M Isaac 6, M Parsons 6 – T Manders 7, N Spence 6 (sub: J Samuels, 79), E Swan 6 (sub: A Simmons, 68 6) – C Robinson 6, K Davis 6 (sub: O Lowe, 79), T Goater 7. Substitutes not used: J Bean-Lindo, J Roser, A Estravit, D Scraders, J Johnson. Booked: Davis, Darrell.
Referee: C Sobers (Trinidad & Tobago).
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