Mixed feelings on show as Dandy Town and Hamilton Parish draw
Dandy Town 1 Hamilton Parish 1
Dandy Town’s reign as Premier Division champions may have officially ended with yesterday’s 1-1 draw at home against Hamilton Parish, but it had long been evident that this year’s Hornets would struggle in defence of the crown.
On the final day of their holding local soccer’s most-prized possession, they could only draw, with Cecoy Robinson putting Town ahead in the 19th minute only for Macquille Walker to equalise 10 minutes before half time.
With little to play for other than pride, the match was more intense than might have been expected, which may have been due to Town attempting to leapfrog Parish for fifth place, but the latter were determined not to give an inch.
Town got off to the worst possible start to the season when hammered 4-0 by Devonshire Cougars in the Charity Cup and later saw coach Jay Bean resign part way into the current campaign.
Six losses in the league and elimination from the Dudley Eve Trophy, Friendship Trophy and FA Cup then dashed their hopes of claiming a single piece of silverware.
Coach Aaron Denkins reiterated how little had gone to plan for the St John’s Road club, with the loss of players through transfers, schooling abroad and injuries, along with the aborted coaching change contributing to a lack of consistency.
“This season was really impacted by inconsistencies,” said Denkins following yesterday’s match at Goose Gosling Field.
“We had a lot of players leave, a lot of players away in school. We had key injuries in the team, so it was really inconsistent for us.
“Being the defending champs with a full team is hard enough, but with all of the transitions that we had, in terms of staff and players, it was really difficult and shows just how hard it truly is to defend.
“The important thing for us was to finish with our heads up and do the best we could to try to improve our position and I believe Hamilton Parish were doing the same thing. Everyone came out to play and I think the score was reflective of both teams putting in solid efforts.”
Perhaps the most impactful injury was that of team captain and chief goalscorer of the past decade, Angelo Simmons, who was banged up all season and was in and out of the line-up.
“Angelo, even when he played, was hurt, so it’s been a season of struggle for us,” added Denkins, also the clubs technical director
“But what I think it does is put a lot of things into perspective for the coaching staff and for the players and we’ll be back next season.”
As for who will coach the team, the public will have to wait to find out.
“What we will do, as we’re at the end of the season, is give the players and staff a break,” Denkins said
“We will re-evaluate things and we will come back next season with the necessary things in place.”
While Town were left to commiserate a season of woe, Hamilton Parish could be excused for celebrating a highly successful foray back among local football’s upper echelon.
Hot Peppers rarely appeared over-matched or outclassed, a fact emphasised by a 4-0 shellacking of newly crowned champions PHC a month ago.
Rather than wait to be granted such, Parish earned the respect of the league by consistent play and solid coaching from Sergio Goater, combined with a never-say-die approach.
“Coming into the season, I figured we were undefeated in the First Division, so when we came up into the Premier I challenged us to make a statement and show that Hamilton Parish belonged,” said captain Kyle Wade. “And we did well, we actually did well.
“We were out of relegation early and always fighting for that middle spot.”
Sunday was a moment for Parish to leave a marker and send an additional message ahead of next season, when Wade envisions further progress and greater chances at claiming silverware.
“We definitely came into this game wanting to stay on top of them and finish fifth, so that we made a statement for next season,” added Wade. “We wanted to let everybody know that we’re coming for them and will be looking to contend for a title and, at the least, challenge for a place in the top three.
“We had a rocky pre-season as we took on some players and the guys looked to gel, but with the group we have now, we’re looking to have a much better pre-season and get off running next year.
“We did really well against all of the top teams that came our way this year. Some would call us giant killers and we’re looking to rise up further next year.”
Dandy Town: Robinson 19.
Hamilton Parish: Walker 35.
Dandy Town (4-4-1-1): T Gibbons 6 – D Scraders 6, E Moore 6, J Chapman 6, D Cook 6 – J Wilson-Butterfield 6 (sub: S Darrell, 46min 5), T Rogers 6 (sub: M Parsons, 46 5), N Spence 7, T Goater 6 -- A Furbert 6 – C Robinson 6. Substitutes not used: C Henry, D Johnson. Booked: Cook.
Hamilton Parish (4-4-2): N Burgess 7– K Wade 6, M Turner 6, Q Outerbridge 6, C Castle (sub: A Peets, 20 6) – J Outerbridge 6, Z Burgess 6 (sub: S McKittrick, 83), K Knights 6, A Nelson 6 – C Lindo 6, M Walker 6. Substitutes not used: P Tohill, E Furbert, J Steede.
Referee: A Francis.
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