Shakir Smith scored twice as Robin Hood stormed into the Dudley Eve Trophy semi-finals with an emphatic victory in their opening group A match with Somerset Trojans, who were eliminated.
The Hood winger scored either side of the half with two well-taken goals that might have made coach and former top striker John Barry Nusum nod in appreciation.
Antwan Russell and Lejuan Simmons, the Hood captain, were also on target for a Hood side who bossed most of the match and were more clinical with their finishing.
“I thought we possessed the ball well and used the right moments to do the right things,” Nusum said. “We played good enough to win and more importantly I got goals from my frontline as well. All three of my frontline guys scored today and that’s what you want to see because their confidence comes up and then the rest of the team starts ticking.
“We got two good early goals and when you get goals like that it deflates a team.
“At that point Somerset took their foot off a little bit which made it a little easer to play as well.
“We still have to catch up on our fitness. We did good for the first 20-25 minutes but then died down before the half.
“Then again, in the second half we did good for 25-30 minutes and died down, so that just shows that the fitness needs to come up a bit.”
Hood’s dominant display earned coach Nusum his first victory at the second attempt since replacing Kyle Lightbourne, who stepped down after guiding the club to a maiden Premier Division title last term.
“It was good to get that first win after taking the loss last week [against PHC Zebras in the Charity Cup],” Nusum said. “It’s good to get it off my back and we want to come out and win every game.”
The result sent Hood and idle North Village through to the semi-finals after Trojans, who also lost 4-0 against Village in their group opener, were bundled out of the competition.
Russell gave Hood an early lead when he chested Colin Ryan’s well-weighted cross in the box and beat Yizharyah Williams, the Trojans goalkeeper, with a neat finish. The breakthrough arrived before Somerset could muster a shot on goal.
The Trojans gradually began to carve out space in the attacking third, Nathan Peksett, the Hood goalkeeper, racing off his line to beat Hubert Butterfield, the Trojans striker, to Justin Corday’s lob in the box.
However, just as the West Enders began to get a foothold in the match they fell further behind when Smith’s glancing header from Zuhri Burgess’ cross beat Williams at the near post.
Somerset threatened again just before the half with Peskett forced to make a diving save — his first of the match — to thwart Butterfield on a counterattack while Corday, the Trojans captain, had a long-range effort go just wide and winger Jaz Ratteray-Smith had a shot from close range blocked after some skilful play from fellow winger Jesse Seymour.
As they had done in the first half, Hood struck early in the second after pouncing on a defensive blunder.
Seymour’s back pass was intercepted by Simmons, who nipped in between centre back Trevin Ming and the advancing Williams, before rolling the ball into the empty net.
The game opened up from here with Trojans going close when Makai Joell’s effort was cleared off the line by Dante Leverock, the Hood centre back, while at the other end Williams did well to deny Smith and substitute Mazhye Burchall.
Trojans were denied again when Corday beat Peskett but struck the upright.
Smith rounded off the scoring in stoppage time with a wonder strike that went in off the upright after a brilliant build-up involving Russell, Ereico Outerbridge and Burchall.
Russell 6, Smith 26 90+2, Simmons 60
Robin Hood (3-4-3): N Peskett — J Bather, D Leverock, D Andrade (sub: J Titterton, 75min) — C Ryan, Z Burgess (sub: L Symonds, 70), E Outerbridge, C Caisey — L Simmons (sub: M Burchall, 60), S Smith, A Russell. Substitutes not used: N Figureido
Somerset Trojans (4-3-3): Y Williams — Jaden Ratteray-Smith, R Quinn, T Ming (sub: R Cann, 83), C Durham — M Joell (sub: T Bean, 85), A Trott, J Corday — J Seymour, Jaz Ratteray-Smith, H Butterfield (sub: J Butterfield, 62). Booked: H Butterfield, (sub) J Butterfield. Substitutes not used: J Morrissey, R Cann, A Charles
Referee: A Bailey