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Lethal Coke powers Boulevard to season high

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Boulevard Blazers 2

PHC Zebras 1

Goals from Mark Smith and Ian Coke earned Boulevard Blazers a gutsy victory over PHC Zebras in the Premier Division at Police Field yesterday.

Boulevard displayed plenty of character against Zebras and had to endure a nervous final few minutes after the sending off of midfielder Niko Smith for two bookable offences.

The home side took the lead in the 44th minute when experienced striker Mark Smith headed home at the back post from an inswinging free kick from winger Dunn-ya Taylor.

Smith had gone close to scoring midway through the first period when his looping header was cleared off the line by Mikey Lambe, the PHC defender, while the lively Ian Coke also tested goalkeeper Daniel Johnson with a first-time effort inside the box.

PHC improved after the break, with striker Jaavaid Warren-Smith hitting the post directly from a corner kick, although Boulevard continued to show plenty of attacking threat with the diminutive Coke causing problems for the Zebras defence all afternoon.

With his side still trailing, Mark Wade, the PHC coach, made a double substitution midway through the second half, bringing on Casey Castle and Kevin Richards for Diondre Dowling and Julian Carpenter

However it was Coke, who has been in lethal form this season, who increased Blazers' lead on the hour mark when PHC's defensive pair Lambe and Kenji Griffith failed to clear a long ball, allowing Coke to wriggle through before crashing a left-foot shot past Johnson.

A minute later, though, PHC had pulled a goal back when substitute Castle was hauled down in the box by Jakio Williams, with Cecoy Robinson, the Zebras captain, slotting the spot kick past Deaz Chambers, the Boulevard goalkeeper.

PHC continued to push for a leveller and had a penalty claim turned down after a late challenge on Castle. Boulevard, however, held firm and played the final few minutes with ten men after Smith's sending off.

Coke, whose side are fourth in the table, praised his team-mates for keeping Zebras at bay during the final stages of the game.

“We've been working on staying mentally focused late on because that's usually when we tend to concede goals,” said Coke, whose side gained promotion last season.

“We needed the win today as we were looking to bounce back from our defeat in the FA Cup.

“The league has always been our main focus, though, and we knew we needed to buckle down because we're aiming to finish in the top four.

“So far it's been a good campaign and a couple of good performances to close out the season would do the club good, the fans good and the community good.”

TEAMS

Scorers

Boulevard Blazers (Smith 44, Coke 65)

PHC (Robinson 66 pen)

Boulevard Blazers (4-4-2): D Chambers — A Foggo, J Williams, K Smith, M Tankard (sub: Z Stovell, 80min) — C Trott, N Smith, T Douglas (sub: Z Smith, 82), D Taylor — I Coke, M Smith (sub: S Robinson, 66). Substitutes not used: T Butterfield, A Famous, S Fostin, A Smith, D Smith. Sent off: N Smith.

PHC Zebras (4-4-2): D Johnson — J Raynor, K Griffith, M Lambe, J Carpenter (K Richards, 64) — C Robinson, M Waldron, R Richardson, D Dowling (sub: C Castle, 64) — S Smith (sub: M Burchall, 88), J Warren-Smith. Substitutes not used: T Hall, J Duprey, O Tucker, M Burchall. Booked: Waldron, Williams.

Referee: R Cann.

Back of the net: Coke scores his side's second goal against PHC at Police Field (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Flying high: Smith, centre, congratulates Coke after his goal at Police Field (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published February 15, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated February 15, 2016 at 6:32 am)

Lethal Coke powers Boulevard to season high

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