Russell hits hat-trick in Zebras victory
Antwan Russell netted the first hat-trick of the Premier Division to fire PHC to an emphatic win over Somerset Trojans at Southampton Oval.
The Bermuda striker hit the target in the 9, 35 and 60 minutes to take his season tally in all competitions to four and give Zebras coach Brian Anderson his first win since taking over the helm from Kyle Lightbourne.
Yesterday's uplifting win went some way towards easing painful memories of recent heavy Dudley Eve losses to Devonshire Cougars and Southampton Rangers for a Zebras side that were simply a cut above Trojans in every facet of the game.
After watching his players get the league campaign off to a winning start, Anderson expressed relief to finally get a win under his belt.
“I just hope and pray this leads to more victories and success because as you know we got (the season) off to a bad start,” he said. “It was a hard fought win and congratulations to my players for getting the three points.”
With better luck the menacing Russell might've come away with more goals to his credit. He had a goal ruled offside in the 28th minute and watched in agony moments later as another effort crashed on to the upright with Trojans' 'keeper Shaquille Bean stranded in no man's land.
“I could've had more, but my focus was not on the three goals,” Russell said. “I was focused more on the three points and getting PHC back on the right track.”
The Bermuda international was a constant thorn in Trojans' side with his probing runs.
Russell opened the scoring from close range after a static Trojans' defence failed to clear a Shakir Smith corner.
He then doubled Zebras' lead with another low drive that flew past the hapless 'keeper and completed his treble right on the hour by tapping in Aquino Grant's well-measured pass in the box.
Grant also had an effort graze the bar while Smith, in his first appearance of the season, must have tossed and turned in his sleep last night after squandering a plethora of clear cut opportunities.
The Zebras forward brought off a fine save from Bean at near post and then inexplicably lobbed over an empty net before heading Jevone Sealey's cross over the bar in the first half.
Smith also shot high and wide following the break after turning the Trojans' defence inside out during another Zebras raid.
Trojans' team officials declined to comment after the match, and perhaps rightfully so based on their team's lethargic display. The visitors lacked creativity and the killer punch in attack while their defensive play at the rear was porous at best.
Two spurned opportunities with only the 'keeper to beat by Jonathan Bean was the closest Trojans came to scoring and perhaps best summed up a day they would probably rather quickly forget.
PHC: T Hall, S Codrington (S Boyles-Simons, 85), M Lambe, R Richardson, J Ball, J Sealey, C Robinson, L Bascome, A Grant (J Dean, 59), A Russell, S Smith.
Substitutes not used: J Wade, S Philpott, T Brown, K Lambe
Goals: A Russell 9, 35, 60
Bookings: C Robinson
Somerset Trojans: S Bean, J Rogers (A Ebbin, 72), T Harvey, T Ming, J Scott, G Smith (L Burgess, 72), Z Iris, T Wade (K Brown, 59), J Simons, J Harvey-Outerbridge, J Bean
Substitutes not used: V Blanchette, K Showers, D Lister, A Charles
Bookings: S.Bean, G Smith
Man of the match: A Russell (PHC)
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