Soccer

Having Ryan back crucial, says Nusum

  • Hood players celebrate with the FA Cup (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

John Barry Nusum landed his first trophy as Robin Hood coach as his team edged First Division Southampton Rangers 1-0 in the FA Cup Final at the National Stadium on Saturday night.

Colin Ryan’s first half winner proved to be the difference as Premier Division Hood secured their second FA Cup title in three seasons.

“It feels good and it was definitely a hard match and 1-0 was justified because [Rangers] played their butts off,” Nusum, the player-coach, said. “It’s good to get a result at the end of the season because it’s been a rough season as far as PHC taking a lot of the silverware that we were hoping to win, so it’s good to finish the season on a high.”

Hood survived a late scare as Ezekiel Stoneham, the Rangers captain, had a header crash onto the bar in second-half stoppage time.

“They had that one go off the post late in the game and that changes the whole dynamic of the game if it goes in, so we have to be better as far as being clinical and that’s been something we have been working on all season,” Nusum added. “We were pretty settled at the back and felt pretty good, but at 1-0 anything can happen so we have to put away our chances.”

Midfielder Ryan, who was absent from the first encounter that was abandoned six days earlier because of a severe thunderstorm, produced a man-of-the-match display with his hard work ethic at both ends and the game-winner.

“That was the guy we needed and for us he was a huge miss on Sunday,” Nusum said. “[The abandonment] was probably a blessing in disguise and he might have been the blessing.”

Lejuan Simmons, the Hood captain, agreed.

“It worked in our favour once the game got postponed because [Ryan] is one of our most important players in midfield and showed it today as he was man-of-the-match,” he said. “It feels good to come away from the last game of the season with silverware. It’s been three seasons now that we have come away with something and we want to keep on building on that.”

Jomar Wilkinson, the Rangers coach, was naturally disappointed with the outcome, but said his players had every reason to hold their heads high having upset Premier Division sides Devonshire Cougars and North Village en route to the club’s first FA Cup Final in seven seasons and fifth overall.

“We wanted to earn some respect back and I think have done that this season and so I am very proud of what we’ve done,” Wilkinson said. “I think we had a little inexperience at grasping the moment. A defensive error and we are chasing the game and now it’s a different game.

“But second half, we definitely played hard and dominated possession and deserved to score.”