The best of enemies
North Village coach Shaun Goater has urged his goal crazy side to continue their free scoring form when they play unbeaten PHC in a top two showdown at Bernard Park tomorrow.
Both Premier Division powerhouses are level on points at the top if the table although PHC have a game in hand and Goater is keen for his team to sign off the first half the season with a three point cushion.
His side have plundered 14 goals in their previous two games both against stuggling St.David's although Goater knows they will be facing a very different proposition in PHC who, like Village, are bristling with confidence.
“It's an important game for both teams as it's the last game of the first half of the season,” he said. “We haven't played them in the league yet but they're flying in terms of their confidence and belief. It's all set up to be a really good game and we're really looking forward to it.”
Goater and his opposite number Kyle Lightbourne recently resurrected their once formidable national team partnership while playing for North Village in the Corona League. Both ex-professionals were on the scoresheet in last weekend's 4-4 draw with the Tuff Dogs, and Goater admits it is strange to see Lightbourne in the Red Army's colours.
“I haven't spoken to Kyle this week although I saw him last weekend when we played together in the Corona League,” Goater said. “We both scored goals although I came on as a substitute as Kyle's a bit fitter than me. If we start together the other team seems to be more up for it and say to us, 'you'll not be scoring today boys'.
“I must admit I always try and stand next to Kyle in our team's huddle when we do our NVCC chant. I know that really hurts him as he's a passionate PHC man!”
There will no surprises in tomorrow's match for Goater and Lightbourne who are both well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each other's teams.
“I guess Village and PHC traditionally have different styles but both can entertain on their day,” Goater said. “PHC know when to play football and I'm sure it will be a very competitive game. We've started finishing our chances in recent games and have built up some confidence, so we're feeling good about ourselves at the moment.”
Such is Village's embarrassment of riches, one of their top performers Keishen Bean has had to settle for a place on the bench since returning home from college for the festive period.
But Goater said he does not mind that kind of selection headache and has backed Bean to play a key role at some point against Zebras.
“He's a quality player but the teams been playing well and so he hasn't started the last three games as the other guys have been doing their job,” he said. “He's certainly a big player for us, though, and can give us another dimension when needed.”