Devarr Boyles accepts unbeaten Robin Hood will be the favourites in the Dudley Eve Trophy final on Sunday, but is confident Dandy Town have the ability to inflict the first loss on their opponents this season.
The Town coach is still looking to win his first trophy since returning to St John’s Field last season when he helped them finish third in the league behind PHC Zebras and Hood.
They also reached the final of the Friendship Trophy where they lost to the Zebras, while going down to X-Roads 4-2 in the FA Cup semi-finals after the matched finished 3-3 in extra time.
“I guess we’re still going through the growth process of winning titles,” said Boyles, who recently became president of the club. “We’ve found a way of winning matches, which allows us to get to finals.
“The older players have won lots of titles, but most of this group hasn’t.”
Town and Hood blew away opposition in their Dudley Eve Trophy group matches, with Hornets winning 6-0 and 7-0 and Hood 7-0 and 5-0.
The goals continued to come in the league, with Town involved in the season’s highest scoring game when they outscored X-Roads 7-5 last weekend.
Hood remain unbeaten after nine league and cup games, scoring 35 goals in the process, while Town have netted 30 times in nine matches.
“Sunday’s game was a combination of an accumulation of a lot of matches, with a lot of miles in the legs,” Boyles said. “It caught up with them in the second half.
“Having said that, we look forward to the opportunity to win a final.”
Town are the most successful team in the Dudley Eve Trophy since it was renamed from the Martonmere Cup in 2009-10.
They have won it three times in 2011-12, 2013-14 and 2014-15 to go with six wins in Martonmere Cup.
Hood, on the other hand, are still relatively new to winning trophies, with last year’s victory over Somerset Trojans being their first in the competition after losing to PHC in the 2015-16 final.
Town lost 1-0 to Hood in their recent league meeting.
“There are going to be some goals scored, but I’m hoping the scoreline is not that high,” John Barry Nusum, the Hood coach, said. “I really don’t want the opposition scoring that many goals.
“Last weekend against Rangers was a tough game for us, although the 3-0 scoreline didn’t suggest it. It was a good confidence booster. It showed that when we’re in a tight match, we can still pull it out.
“That’s what we need, especially in finals. Town are a good team and we’ve seen them blow out teams all season. We’re definitely not going into it with any illusions that it’s going to be anything but a fight.
“In the game we played them, we got a bit lucky. It could easily have gone the other way.”
The 2.30pm match at Devonshire Recreation Club will involve three former Devonshire Cougars players returning to a familiar ground, with Kwame Steede a key man for Town in midfield while Lejuan Simmons and Chae Brangman, of Hood, have scored five goals each this term.
“Chae had an injury for the last couple of games so we’ve just been nursing him,” Nusum said. “It’s a long season and what we don’t want to do is push the envelope too much.
“We’ve got other guys who can score as well, but we do rely on those two guys. ‘Lee Lee’ [Simmons] is in the Bermuda Nation’s League squad and we rely on him as our skipper, same thing with Chae, who has hit the ground running.
“This is a final and a cup we have already and we definitely want to keep it.”
Nusum insists there is no increased pressure on the team the longer they remain unbeaten.
“Our pressure comes from ourselves in wanting to play good football,” he said.
“All the teams are trying to beat us. If we play good football the majority of time we’ll get good results.”
Town have a good blend of youth and experience, with almost half the team still in their early 20s, including defenders Azende Furbert, Jomei Bean-Lindo and Eusebio Blankendal, who are all 21, along with midfielder Judah Chapman and winger Oneko Lowe.
“Every game we have played this season we played really well and it was close except for those first two games,” Boyles added. “They understand that the way we play we’re probably going to concede, but we are also going to score a bunch. We’re hoping we score more than our opponents.
“The boys are definitely looking forward to it.
“We want to fill the net, entertain people, and for the most part we’ve done that. Angelo, our captain, has done an excellent job this year and grown as a captain.
“We have a young team at the back and they take a lot of risks, which allows us to profit offensively. As the season wears on, we’ll get better and limit the amount of goals we concede.”
Boyles added: “Hood are the form team, the league leaders and reigning champions, so we have to rise to the challenge.
“If we beat them, I wouldn’t say it’s an upset.
“Both teams have key players. Certainly their team is more experienced while we have players who are 21 in defensive positions.”
PHC and Warwick Archer Bows will play in the opening match at 12pm in the under-15 Leonard DeRoza-Holder final.
Lee Holder was a Fifa referee instructor and BFA executive who died in August 2017.
n Two First Division make-up matches will take place on Monday, with St George’s playing Hamilton Parish at Wellington Oval and Ireland Rangers facing Flanagan’s Onions at Malabar Field. Both games start at 3pm.