Zebras gallop to record twelfth title
Dandy Town 2 PHC Zebras 5
PHC Zebras claimed a record twelfth Friendship Trophy title at Somerset Cricket Club after starting off the new year with an emphatic victory against Dandy Town.
Midfielder Tre Ming scored a hat-trick and had a hand in the two other goals as the defending champions blew the game wide open with four goals in 19 first-half minutes. Ming completed his treble early in the second half and then went off injured after a few hard tackles.
PHC broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when Ming crossed from the left for Rakeem DeShields to tuck home from close range. Ming doubled the lead eight minutes later with a volley after a cross from Marquel Waldron.
PHC were just warming up as Jaiden Manders, the Town goalkeeper, denied them a third when he blocked Cecoy Robinson’s shot at the far post.
The goals kept coming, though, as Keishon Bean added a third after Marco Warren passed to Ming on the right side of the box, who flicked it back for Bean to drive past Manders.
Warren was the supplier for Ming’s second goal when his pass put Ming clear of the Town defence before he lobbed the advancing Manders.
PHC were clearly in the mood for more goals as Ming completed his hat-trick early in the second half when Waldron crossed from the right and the Bermuda midfielder steered the ball into the far corner.
“It was one of my best performances of the season because leading up to the game I wasn’t playing at my full potential,” Ming said. “I’ve been playing with a knee injury I’ve had since the El Salvador game.
“All I can relate it to was that we played for ‘Mussy’,” added Ming, referring to former PHC player Mazhye Burchall, who was killed in a motorcycle crash in September. “We feed off that and I’m just glad that I can reward him with three goals today.”
Burchall was a Robin Hood player this season, with his team dedicating their Dudley Eve Trophy title in November to the former midfielder. The two teams observed a minute’s silence ahead of their semi-final on Boxing Day.
After completing his hat-trick, Ming was involved in a couple of tackles before limping off in the 57th minute.
“I was just glad the match was out of reach by that time, so I didn’t mind coming off,” he said.
Town responded to Ming’s departure with a double substitution in a bid to salvage something from the match, bringing on Seion Darrell and Jahnazae Swan for Kyle Wade and Parsons. Robinson wasted a chance to get on the scoresheet when he blasted over from a good position after a strong run by substitute Diondre Dowling.
Town enjoyed an eye-catching spell after that as PHC goalkeeper Shaquille Trott made a fine save at the near post to deny Swan. They finally opened their account moments later when a long ball put Angelo Simmons clear of the defence and he kept his composure to steer past Trott.
Damon Ming added Town’s second in the 76th minute, the midfielder cutting in on his left foot on the right before curling a perfect shot into the top corner.
Town’s disappointing afternoon ended with the 90th-minute sending-off of substitute Kemon Simmons for bringing down Warren as he tried to get through.
However, the match was over as a contest long before that incident. “This is what we do, meaning in the past couple of seasons we’ve won titles,” Scott Morton, the PHC coach, said. “We understand what it takes.
“Hats off to Dandy Town for getting to the final, but my players came prepared and wanted it. You saw that from the opening whistle and knew that would set the tone for the rest of the match.”
Morton, a former Town player and coach, said he had not dwelled on the possibility of the record title. “We haven’t been playing well and that’s why today was more about the performance. I’d allowed the team to rest on our laurels, we got a bit complacent, but I wasn’t going to let it happen in this game.
“Tre loves scoring goals but also he pulls the attention away from other players to allow them to get on the scoresheet, so he did his job today. I couldn’t go home with Town beating me. My household is pure Town, so that was an extra incentive!”
Dandy Town: Simmons 70, D Ming 76
PHC: DeShields 20, T Ming 28, 39, 48, Bean 35
Dandy Town (4-4-2): J Manders — E Blankendal, K Wade (sub: S Darrell, 60min), T Manders (sub: K Simmons, 55), K Lathan — L Emery, D Ming, A Furbert, M Parsons (sub: J Swan, 60) — A Simmons, K Steede. Substitutes not used: J Richardson-Martin, N Spence, D Millett, T Gibbons, I Blankendal, E Moore. Sent off: K Simmons.
PHC Zebras (4-5-1): Shaquille Trott — D Usher, M Lambe, N Griffith, D Smith-Lightbourne — R DeShields (sub: K Hall, 81), M Waldron, T Ming (sub: D Downing, 57), M Warren, K Bean (sub: J Iris, 74) — C Robinson. Substitutes not used: C Thomas, J Hassell, Shakhai Trott, Z Lee, K Hypolite, O Tucker. Booked: Usher.
Referee: G Swainson.