Devonshire Cougars out to keep Friendship Trophy title defence on track against Dandy Town
Devonshire Cougars will attempt to maintain the defence of their Friendship Trophy title when they come up against Dandy Town at Goose Gosling Field tonight.
The intriguing quarter-final match-up is the third meeting between the Premier Division rivals this season and a repeat of last season’s Friendship Trophy final which Cougars won 3-2 to dash Town’s bid for the coveted triple crown.
“It’s a massive game for us,” Kwame Steede, the Cougars coach, said.
“We are defending champions but everybody has to start from the beginning. We have to start from the beginning to get to the end, so it’s just about putting the work in and trusting the process.
“That’s where we are right now. We are still in the process and as long as they trust the process I see us going far.”
Steede’s team thumped Town 4-0 in the first meeting between the two rivals in the Charity Cup in September.
However, Town avenged the humbling result after edging Cougars 1-0 in the league in the second meeting between the two sides in October.
Cougars are making their second appearance in the competition this term having edged X-Roads 4-3 in a seven-goal preliminary round thriller at Goose Gosling Field on December 1.
Like his opposite number, Aaron Denkins, the Town coach, also considers tonight’s cup tie of equal importance to his team who have endured their share of the struggles throughout the first half of the season.
“It is an important game for the club as we are trying to get back into rhythm,” he said. “We have struggled with consistency this season with injuries, suspensions and players overseas.”
Denkins acknowledges his team has their work cut out against the holders.
“Cougars are a well coached and organised team that always is prepared to compete on the day,” he added. “I will expect them to be ready to fight to retain this trophy.
“The season has been interesting so far because all of the teams have shown that they can compete with each other.”
The winner will face inaugural Friendship Trophy champions North Village in the semi-final at Lord’s on December 26.
Also taking place at Goose Gosling Field tonight is the remaining First Division Shield quarter-final between holders Wolves and Young Men’s Social Club in a repeat of last season’s final, which the former won 3-2.
Vincent Minors, the Wolves vice-president, anticipates a tough outing but is optimistic his team will be equal to the task.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough battle,” he said.
“We should have all of our big guns out there and I think if we play to our strengths we should come away with the victory.
“But on the day anybody can win so we are just going to put our best foot forward.”
Social Club hold a psychological edge going into the cup tie having beaten their opponents 2-1 in the league during the first encounter between the two sides in October.
“They beat us earlier in the season so we are also looking for revenge,” Minors added.
The winner will face Ireland Rangers in the last four at Lord’s on December 26.
Elsewhere today, St David’s will host Paget in a make up First Division match at Lord’s.
It will be the first of back-to-back meetings between the teams who will also face off in the remaining Shield semi-final at Bernard Park on December 27.