Robin Hood 7 Paget Lions 0
John Barry Nusum has urged Robin Hood to maintain their relentless pursuit of PHC Zebras in their quest for Premier Division title glory.
The coach watched on contently as Hood blitzed their way to the top of the Premier Division table in emphatic style against a beleaguered Paget side, who faced an attacking onslaught for much of the proceedings at Goose Gosling Field on Saturday night.
In a completely one-sided affair throughout, Antwan Russell gave a finishing masterclass, grabbing a first-half four-goal haul, with Shakir Smith adding the third in-between, before the break. Lejaun Simmons also got his name on the scoresheet after the interval, with Smith adding his second late on to wrap up the rout.
Having regained top spot, albeit temporarily, having played a day earlier than their title rivals, Nusum is well aware his side have to continue putting pressure on PHC Zebras if they are to get their hands on the silverware come the end of the season.
“We got the three points and that keeps up the pressure on PHC,” Nusum said.
“It was also good that we scored as many as we did for the goal difference, because that is what it could come down to.
“The last couple of seasons it has been that close part of me is annoyed we didn’t go on and score more in that second half because goal difference could be a big factor.
“We got the three points, which is the main thing, but as a coach you always look at things that could have been better.
“Once we saw Paget had a few injuries and weren’t as strong as usual, that is when you have to be ruthless and go out and do the most you can.
“It sounds a bit cut throat but we are at the business end of the season and results and goal difference have to be one of our main thoughts in matches.
“We know PHC will keep doing well and so we have to be at the top of our game every week to match them. We can’t expect PHC to drop any points and we have to concentrate on ourselves and do all that we can to make sure we stand a chance of winning the title.”
After missing a couple of early opportunities, Hood broke the deadlock after ten minutes as Simmons’s hopeful cross from the right-hand side somehow alluded the Paget defence, allowing Russell to stoop and head past Chare Smith.
Russell doubled his tally just four minutes later as his opportunistic right-footed effort from 25-yards took a slight deflection, to take the ball beyond the grasp of Smith, to nestle into the net.
The momentum continued with Hood who added a third in the eighteenth minute though Smith. Picking up the ball on the left-hand side, Smith advanced unopposed and duly punished Paget for their lack of pressure, drilling his left-foot effort across the goal and into the far bottom corner.
For all of their defensive frailties with the first three goals, there was nothing Paget could do about the fourth after 23 minutes as Russell completed his hat-trick in sublime fashion. A full 30-yards out, the striker arrowed an unstoppable effort into the top left corner, leaving Smith with no chance and the Hood management in awe on the sidelines.
However, Russell was not finished just yet as he added his fourth and Hood’s fifth before the break. Simmons was again the provider, beating his man on the right wing before standing the ball up to the back post for his team-mate, who took a touch before lashing the ball into the top right corner.
Lozendro Symonds and Simmons both spurned early opportunities in the second half before the latter duly added a sixth goal in the 57th minute. Much like Shakir Smith’s goal in the opening 45 minutes, Paget stood off Simmons and were punished, as the winger raced into the area unopposed before firing a low right-foot effort across goal and into the far bottom corner.
Paget finally mustered their first opportunity on the hour mark but Tahjae Welch could not capitalise. Having broken the Hood defensive line, the forward could only fire high and wide under slight pressure from substitute Ereico Outerbridge.
Paget’s Nelson Carpenter then called goalkeeper Dale Eve into his first meaningful contribution, low down to his right before Hood regained the initiative, hitting the woodwork twice in quick succession, with Tomiko Goater and Russell also going close to adding to the scoreline. The pressure continued late into the game with Simmons and Symonds both testing Paget goalkeeper Smith, who saved smartly low down on both occasions.
However, there was nothing he could do with just four minutes remaining as Simmons picked out Smith to fire past his namesake with aplomb and complete the scoring.
Hood: Russell 10, 14, 23, 35
Smith 18, 86
Robin Hood: D Eve— D Williams, J Bather, J Pereira, C Castle (sub: T Bean 45)— P Parsons (E Outerbridge 45), L Symonds, T Goater — L Simmons, S Smith, A Russell. Substitutes not used: J Nusum, A Nelson.
Paget Lions: C Smith — R Richardon, W Bean, M Piper (a Dean 73), D Frost — N Carpenter, K Hill-Tuzo, D Hart, D Dill — D Curtis, T Welch. Substitutes not used: D Stovell, A Bean.
Referee: A Francis.