Nusum looking to build momentum
Robin Hood bounced back from a disappointing couple of days last week to beat Somerset Eagles on the weekend, and now they take on the other West End team, Somerset Trojans, in a top-of-the-table clash that gets primetime billing on Sunday with a 5pm start.
Hood certainly haven’t had the best of luck in cup competitions this year, with their FA Cup final with North Village cancelled in April because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Then, last week, they were the odd team out in the Dudley Eve tiebreak when North Village and Somerset Trojans were awarded semi-final spots after the three teams finished level on points and goal difference in their group.
“Both those things were out of our control, in the Dudley Eve we had the opportunity to do something about it on the field and didn’t, so we can’t complain when things didn’t go our way,” said coach John Barry Nusum, referring to the 1-0 loss to Village when a draw would have taken them through to the semi-finals.
“That’s what I have put to the team, to make sure we control what we can control and make sure it is in a positive light. There are a lot of people going through worst things with the pandemic. Us missing the FA Cup final was a letdown, but there were so many other things going on in society that, for me, that wasn’t something that needed to be focused on at that particular time.
“Sometimes we forget that it is a game that we’re playing and that some people are wondering where they are going to get food and money. Football is a luxury.”
Hood started to fade from the league title race early in the new year when, after thrashing bottom team Boulevard 6-0 in January, they had successive draws against Dandy Town, Devonshire Cougars, Southampton Rangers and North Village before then losing to Cougars and PHC in March.
In the end, Hood finished third behind Village and Dandy Town, eight points behind the champions, after recording the most draws, eight, to go with their eight wins.
“We felt like we underachieved in the second half of last season when we had a lot of draws that we didn’t turn into three points,” Nusum said. “That’s something we’re trying to mentally build on.”
Their response to the Dudley Eve setback was to beat Eagles 4-1 on Saturday night to make it two wins from two and set up an interesting clash with the Trojans, whom they narrowly beat 1-0 in their Dudley Eve opener a month ago. Tomiko Goater scored that goal and opened his league account with a hat-trick against PHC to be the top scorer in the league in the opening weeks.
Hood are also already the top scorers in the league with ten goals in two matches, starting with a 6-1 win over PHC which Nusum admits wasn’t as convincing as the score might suggest.
“Even in those two matches the scoreline was a little bit flattering because the PHC game was just 1-0 at the half and the Eagles game 2-1 at the half, so we’ve got a lot to improve on,” he said.
“Starting the new year everybody is behind the ball because of Covid and we’re just looking to build from now.”
By the time their match on Sunday gets under way, all the other matches will have been completed, including Saturday’s match between Town, the other team on six points, and bottom club X-Roads Warriors.
“Some of the players are saying it will be good because the sun will be down a little bit, but it does make for a long day, waiting for the game to start,” said the coach. “I like getting to the game and getting started.
“They obviously had to do it because of the Covid measures, so our players will organise as usual and get as prepared as we can for the game and try to get a good result. Somerset, we only beat them 1-0 in the Dudley Eve, and we got saved off the line in the last minute, so it’s definitely not a game that we’re taking lightly.”
This weekend’s matches were rescheduled from September 20 when the opening round of league matches were called off because of an approaching hurricane.
In Sunday’s other matches North Village will take on Devonshire Colts at Bernard Park, Cougars host Eagles and Southampton Rangers welcome St George’s to Southampton Oval.
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