Usher and Robinson earn stripes
PHC Zebras 2 Somerset Trojans 0
Second-half goals from Daren Usher and Cecoy Robinson put PHC Zebras into the Friendship Trophy semi-finals at the expense of long-time rivals Somerset Trojans.
The game started slowly with both teams trying to find their rhythm. Trojans were managing to match-up with PHC somewhat, but the Zebras were definitely providing the more constant goal threat.
That the two sides went into half-time goalless was mainly down to less than clinical finishing from the Zebras than anything else.
Such was the home side’s dominance in this match that their first chance arrived as early as the fifth minute, a header from Naeem Griffith, the PHC defender, just sailing wide after he connected with a free kick.
Griffith’s near miss would set the tone for the half, with his side regularly carving out gilt-edged chances, but not managing to put them away. Midfielder Tre Ming and forward Robinson, in particular, had a host of chances to score in the first half, but they continually let Somerset off the hook. The only clear chance that the visitors were able to carve out came when the ball fell to Justin Corday after a free kick, but Quinaceo Hunt, the PHC goalkeeper, managed to push Corday’s shot wide.
The first chance of the second half surprisingly fell to Somerset, but full back Jesse Seymour rushed his shot after getting on the end of a rebound from a Justin Donawa shot. Seymour’s chance would not signal a change of the tide in the match, instead normal service would resume and the Zebras would take back control of the match.
Once again, it would be Ming, Robinson and Warren who would cause the most problems for Somerset.
For the majority of the match, the Zebras had failed to convert their gilt-edged chances into goals, but late in the second half they would finally find their “goalscoring boots”.
With 20 minutes left, the Zebras pushed numbers forward and set up camp around the Trojans’ final third.
After an intricate sequence of passes, the ball arrived at the feet of Usher. The full back took the initiative and fired the ball towards the goal. Shaquille Bean, the Trojans goalkeeper, tried his best to get a hand to it, but it snuck in and Usher was able to break the deadlock.
With the lead at last and playing in front of their home fans, the Zebras quickly set about going after the all-important second goal. However, they had a brief scare when Trevin Ming, the Trojans centre back, almost immediately drew his side level from a corner, but he fired just wide when the ball fell to him two yards out.
Ming’s miss would prove to be just a minor concern for the Zebras, and it would be the closest Somerset would come to scoring for the rest of the match. Instead, the Zebras would get their second goal and put the game to bed.
Robinson was on hand to put the ball home from point-blank range after a PHC breakaway just before the final whistle.
Usher 72, Robinson 90+2
PHC Zebras (4-3-3): Q Hunt — D Usher, M Lambe, N Griffith, K Abraham — M Warren, T Ming, J Hassell — J Iris (sub: I Sharrieff, 65min), C Robinson, C Castle (sub: K Bean, 68). Substitutes not used: C Booth, R DeShields, D Lightbourne, S Trott.
Somerset Trojans (4-4-2): S Bean — J Seymour, T Ming, T Harris (sub: Z Darrell, 80), R Quinn — S Brangman, M Jones, M Joell, T Bean (sub: J Butterfield, 75) — J Corday, J Donawa. Substitutes not used: H Butterfield, C Durham, R Simmons, Y Williams. Booked: Brangman.
Referee: G Swainson.