Cougars hunted down by hungry Zebras
PHC 3 Devonshire Cougars 0In the Animal Kingdom it’s the Cougar that usually sits higher than the Zebra in the food chain.
But the roles were well and truly reversed at Southampton Oval yesterday as PHC Zebras exploited some porous defending to leave Devonshire Cougars licking their wounds.
Cecoy Robinson sent Zebras into the dressing at the break with a 1-0 lead before additional second-half strikes from Lonnie Bascome and Antwan Russell put the visitors out of their misery.
Zebras lost to leaders North Vilage Rams in their previous league outing to surrender precious ground in the championship race and were determined not to fall further in arrears going into yesterday’s clash with FA Cup holders Cougars.
“We said from the get-go that if we want to stay in the race we had to win this game,” said an elated Zebras’ coach Brian (Bulla) Anderson.
Anderson said the key to his team’s emphatic win was their defending.
“In our last match (against Rams) we scored goals but our defence let us down,” he said. “But the coaching staff worked hard on the defence and today we got it right.”
In stark contrast, Cougars’ defending left much to be desired, something coach Dennis Brown acknowledged after watching his team slump to their second league defeat of the season.
“We made some crazy errors at the back and paid for them. We were definitely poor defensively,” he lamented.
Perhaps making matters worse was Cougars’ confident penalty appeals that fell on deaf ears after Domico Coddington and Chris Caisey were sent sprawling in the box.
“I thought the officials were not on top of their games today,” Brown said.
Cougars took the game to Zebras from the opening whistle and came to within inches of grabbing the lead when Joshua Butterfield’s diagonal cross drifted onto the woodwork.
The visitors covered every blade of grass to try and stretch their hosts but after absorbing some pressure with the wind in their faces, Zebras began to grow in confidence with every foray into Cougars’ territory.
Speedy winger Cecoy Robinson should’ve done better after being put through. But with only Cougars’ custodian Che Clarke to beat, Robinson hurried his shot tamely into the ‘keeper’s arms. Zebras were also thwarted when Cougars defender Kijuan Franks made up considerable ground to clear Bascome’s goal-bound shot off the line.
But Cougars’ luck eventually ran out as Robinson fired home Russell’s pass in the middle through a phalanx of legs in the 22nd minute for what ultimately proved to be the game winner.
Despite falling behind, Cougars were never out of contention and with better finishing from towering striker Mark Steede and Coddington they could’ve easily clawed their way back.
Steede squandered a few golden opportunities and the booking he received for complaining to the referee perhaps best summed up Cougars’ afternoon.
After Caisey and Coddington had penalty shouts turned down, things went from bad to worse for Cougars as Zebras closed in for the kill.
Bascome doubled Zebras’ lead in the 74th minute against the run of play with a sublime finish at the near post before Russell punctuated his team’s emphatic win with a piece of individual brilliance.
The Bermuda international gained possession deep in his own half, dribbled past Cougars’ last line of defence and then slipped the ball under the unrushing Clarke to leave the visitors completely gutted.
PHC: T Hall, S Smith, M Lambe, R Richardson, C Robinson, L Bascome, J Sealey (K Lambe, 73 mins), T Brown, J Bean (K Hypolite, 73 mins), Cecoy Robinson, A Russell
Booked: M Lambe, R Richardson
Goals: Cecoy Robinson (22nd), L Bascome (74th), A Russell (90th)
Devonshire Cougars: C Clarke, J Butterfield, S Pearman (J Wade-Furbert, 83 mins), K Franks, Z White, Moses Steede, C Caisey, K Steede, D Coddington, L Simmons (J Smith, 68 mins), M Steede (J Mouchette, 57 mins)
Booked: M Steede
Man of the match: C Robinson
Referee: Leroy Wilson.