Soccer

Pivotal battle at the bottom

  • Rieko Trott (front) will be a key player for Boulevard in their fight for survival this weekend against Somerset Trojans, says coach Ian Coke (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)
  • Ian Coke, will be back in Boulevard colours after just one season at Dandy town (Photogrpah by Lawrence Trott)

Boulevard have their fate in their own hands when they meet second-from-bottom Somerset Trojans in a match that could decide both relegation spots.

Boulevard have an important four-point lead over the bottom two teams with only two games remaining.

At worst, they will live to fight another day in their battle for survival, but a draw would keep their hopes alive, while sealing Somerset’s fate.

A Boulevard win would confirm relegation for both Somerset and Paget, regardless of the result of Paget’s match against X-Roads at Southampton Oval.

“The spirit in the camp is good, knowing that going into the next match we hold our destiny in our own hands and can get the job done,” said Ian Coke, the Boulevard player-coach.

Boulevard produced a brilliant fightback to earn a point against Robin Hood in a 4-4 draw last week, after being 3-1 down in the first half. They then lost against Devonshire Cougars on Sunday, a team with their own relegation fears, before replacing coach Omar Butterfield and getting three straight wins.

“Last weekend against Cougars it was an unfortunate result; we had the chances,” Coke said. “Lack of cutting edge in front of goal cost us, but we hope that won’t be the case in the upcoming fixtures.”

Coke is the leading Boulevard scorer with nine league goals, while Rieko Trott has supported with seven. “Outside the front two, we have relied on goals from Riko and Khiry Easton more than anybody else,” Coke revealed.

“We’re calling on everybody to try to get at least one goal each in the last couple of games.”

Somerset showed a tremendous fighting spirit to come from a goal down to beat leaders PHC last Saturday and delay PHC’s title celebrations for a day.

A similar result against Boulevard would move Somerset just a point behind Boulevard and leave at least one relegation spot to be decided during the last round of matches when Somerset play Dandy Town.

Paget, who took a point off X-Roads in their last meeting, will have to win that match at Southampton Oval and then do the same against PHC in their last match. It won’t matter, though, if Boulevard win on Sunday.

Three Dudley Eve places are still up for grabs, with four teams aiming for a top-six finish.

Two of them, North Village and Devonshire Cougars, meet at Bernard Park where a Cougars win would secure their spot along with BAA and X-Roads and eliminate Village. BAA meet Robin Hood on Saturday night at Goose Gosling Field at 9pm in what will be a preview to their FA Cup semi-final on March 31.

The second promotion spot was secured last weekend with Southampton Rangers’ win over Flanagan’s Onions. Now both Rangers and Somerset Eagles are gearing up for their end-of-season clash on April 7 when the title looks set to be decided. Just one point currently separates the teams with three matches remaining.

On Sunday, Eagles play a Vasco team that is enjoying an end-of-season surge after three wins and a draw in their last four matches to move off the bottom. Eagles, still unbeaten, will also be wary of Vasco who handed Rangers their first loss in two years, recently.

Rangers host Young Men’s Social Club while Flanagan’s Onions play Wolves at Goose Gosling Field and St David’s entertain St George’s in the East End derby.

Hamilton Parish play Devonshire Colts tomorrow at Wellington Oval starting at 3pm.