Zebras hold nerve at death
Devonshire Cougars 2
(PHC won 4-3 on penalties)
It took missed penalties from Raymond Beach and Zeko White to finally settle matters at Devonshire Recreation Club yesterday.
The Devonshire Cougars pair missed from the spot at the end of extra time as PHC Zebras won 4-3 to advance to the semi-finals of the Friendship Trophy.
It was a tough result on Cougars, who twice came from behind in an entertaining affair that ended in near darkness.
“I think it was an evenly contested match, maybe we created slightly more chances than they did but I'm still a little disappointed with the way we defended and gave up two goals,” Mark Wade, the PHC coach, said. “I think we gave them up rather than Cougars earning them, but I think we showed some composure at the end during the lottery to win so that was pleasing to watch.”
Both teams missed good chances in a sometimes lacklustre affair, and in a scoreless first half, Cougars came the closest to taking the lead when a Darius Cox free kick dropped inches over the bar at the far post, and Drewonde Bascome then dragged a shot inches wide before the break.
Derrick Brangman wasted a good chance six minutes into the second half when a perfect pass out of defence by Cox sent him clear but he poked his effort just wide of the far post as goalkeeper Daniel Adams advanced.
PHC, who looked fluent at times with their passing, finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when captain Cecoy Robinson scored directly from a corner on the left, as his cross bounced and went in untouched at the near post.
Brangman was about to be replaced by Juma Mouchette when he equalised in the 79th when he met Cox's free kick at the far post to score. Cougars changed their mind about that substitution, though Mouchette did replace Jahkee Smith six minutes later.
PHC pressed hard for a winner, hitting the bar from a corner, before Mouchette almost set up a dramatic last-minute winner for another substitute, Raymond Beach, who blasted well over from about ten yards.
A goal in each period of extra time failed to settle the match as PHC went back in front five minutes into extra time through substitute Kadeem Abraham who was quickest to react after a shot from Shakir Smith came back off the post.
Then came Bascome's spectacular effort as he side-footed a bouncing ball towards goal from about 25 yards after spotting the PHC goalkeeper off his line, the ball dropping just under the crossbar.
And though the midfielder scored the first of the penalty kicks during the shoot-out, it was not to be for Cougars as Idrees Sharrieff scored for PHC before Beach had a weak effort saved by the diving Adams to his right. Shakir Smith scored for PHC to make it 2-1.
Mouchette and Kijuan Franks scored the third and fourth kicks for Cougars as Kenji Griffith and Johnny Ball replied for PHC to put Cougars' Zeko White in a must-score situation with his team's final kick. His effort hit the upright as Zebras players broke out in celebration.