Perfect start for Cougars’ Dudley Eve title defence
Hamilton Parish 0 Devonshire Cougars 2
Devonshire Cougars kicked off their Dudley Eve Trophy title defence in ideal fashion with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Hamilton Parish at Goose Gosling Field last night.
After Casey Castle somehow missed a glaring chance to put Parish in front on the half-hour mark, Elisha Darrell broke the deadlock in the 38th minute to gift Cougars the lead at the interval before Zari Simmons headed home a second with 20 minutes remaining to finally settle any lingering nerves.
Despite kicking off their group C campaign with three points, Cougars head coach Kwame Steede was far from content with his side’s performance, while praising the opposition.
“We made it a little hard for ourselves,” Steede said. “We controlled the latter stages of the game but earlier on we allowed them to play to their strengths too much.
“We came away with the victory but I think we need to get on top of games a lot earlier.
“Hats off to Parish, they came to play tonight and we had to eventually step it up because they made it hard for us. It took us too long to get into any kind of rhythm.
“I guess the main positive is that we still managed to come away with the victory even though we were not at our best.”
It was Cougars who started the brighter of the two sides and they went close with Domico Coddington denied by the woodwork after beating the onrushing Julian Roser in the 11th minute, before Simmons lashed a 25-yard strike narrowly over the bar after being afforded too much space.
On the half-hour mark, Parish players, staff and fans were left wondering how they did not go ahead. A defensive mix-up culminated with Cougars goalkeeper Kietaro Darrell fumbling the ball at the feet of Castle, who was faced with an open goal but somehow managed to blaze the ball over from inside the six-yard box when it appeared easier to score.
To compound matters he was made to rue his profligacy just eight minutes later when Cougars broke the deadlock. Darrell did brilliantly to skip past centre-half Quinn Outerbridge on the halfway line, racing clear before sliding the ball under Roser.
Building on that momentum, Cougars called Roser into further action before the interval with the custodian denying Darrell from doubling his tally with a smart low save from close range.
After a lull in action at the start of the second half, Roser again had to be alert to tip Simmons’ curling free kick, from the edge of the area, wide on the hour mark, before just a minute later holding on Coddington’s driven 20-yard left-footed strike.
Any lingering nerves were finally eased ten minutes later as Cougars finally doubled their advantage. A deep cross from the right-hand side found an unmarked Simmons who powered his header back where it come from and past the reach of Roser.
With Parish tiring, Cougars almost added a third with seven minutes remaining when Nyeem Simmons fed fellow substitute Chekai Casey in the area but he failed to capitalise, lashing wildly over.
Devonshire Cougars: Darrell 38, Simmons 71
Hamilton Parish (4-5-1): J Rosler 8 – M Hill 7, Q Outerbridge 7, J Bean 6, M Turner 6 (sub: K Wade, 53min 6) – Z Burgess 6 (sub: K Richardson 65 6), A Nelson 6, S Hollis 7, J Outerbridge 7, C Castle 5 (sub: K Knights, 55 6) – M Walker 7 (sub: S Albouy 55 6). Substitutes not used: P Tolhill, D McKittrick, S McKittrick. Booked: Nelson, Bean
Devonshire Cougars (4-5-1): K Darrell 7 – C Caisey 7, Z White 7, D Williams 6 (sub: J Fox 61 6), T Tucker 7 – J Brimmer 6 (sub: C Caisey 61 6), Z Simmons 7, D Coddington 8 (sub: N Simmons, 83), D Daniels 6, J Thomas 6 – E Darrell 8 (sub: K Minors 76). Substitutes not used: C Hartman. Booked: Simmons.
Referee: T Simons