Zebras overcome penalty miss to win final
PHC Zebras 1 North Village 0
PHC Zebras won their first FA Cup final in nine years when Daren Usher’s extra-time goal finally separated two of the most successful teams in the 62-year history of the competition yesterday at the National Stadium.
PHC, now with 11 wins overall, had to overcome a first-half penalty miss by their captain Cecoy Robinson and some periods of pressure from Village to finally land a trophy this season after previous losses in the Dudley Eve and Friendship Trophy finals. This was also the first time that PHC have beaten Village in an FA Cup final, following defeats in 1978 and ’89.
This one, as expected, was just as close and looked headed for kicks from the penalty spot before Usher came up with the winner from a deflection before beating goalkeeper Tahj Bell at the near post.
Village almost equalised four minutes later when a high ball into the penalty area by substitute Rai Sampson saw captain Keishen Bean sneak in behind the defence before glancing his header wide of the far post. That would be Village’s last chance as PHC hung on for victory.
Village had a promising start when veteran Ralph Bean went close after just eight minutes when he cut in and struck a left foot shot that was headed into the near bottom corner before the diving Quinaceo Hunt turned the ball away for a corner.
PHC gradually came more into the game and should have taken the lead midway through the half through Robinson after Marco Warren’s pass from midfield sent Kadeem Abraham away down the left. He got into the box and had a shot blocked by goalkeeper Bell before Robinson followed up to put the rebound over the bar.
PHC had another chance to break the deadlock in the 24th minute when Jalen Harvey fouled Mazhye Burchall as he tried to turn on the right corner of the box. Swainson pointed to the spot, but Bell made a good save to his left from Robinson.
Despite the miss, PHC finished the half strongly as Robinson saw his low ball into the box from a free kick go untouched across the six yard box. Jonathan Briers committed the foul with a handball on the edge of the box.
Chances kept falling to Robinson as he turned a shot into the sidenetting from a cross by Usher early in the second half. At the other end Keishen Bean’s shot was turned around the far post by Hunt. The game was held up when Devrae Tankard was smashed in the face by the ball from a shot by Robinson, as the game was stopped while Tankard received treatment, with Daniel Morgan, the PHC physio, also coming on to assist the Village medic, Tenae Hassell.
Tankard took a second blow to the head in the first minute of extra time and was replaced by Sampson.
Village enjoyed a good period of pressure after that as Briers had a shot cleared off the line for a corner. Keishen Bean went close from a free kick on the left side of the box after he was fouled himself by Mikey Lambe who became his team’s second booking.
Robinson went off with a hamstring pull in the 70th minute as Tre Ming, brought back from school abroad for the final, took the captain’s armband.
Village substitute Nacori Smith, just on for Ralph Bean, side-footed a good chance into the sidenetting. Idrees Sharrieff wasted a good chance for PHC two minutes later when he turned and shot over the crossbar with only the goalkeeper to beat. A late burst by PHC saw them almost create a winner in injury time while at the other end Nacori Smith had claims for a penalty turned down after a challenge from Lambe on the right edge of the box.
Village defender Jalen Harvey was shown the red card after the final whistle for using foul and abusive language towards the referee.
PHC Zebras (4-4-2): Q Hunt — D Usher, N Griffith, M Lambe, K Abraham — M Warren, T Ming, M Burchall (sub: K Bean, 65min), M Waldron — C Robinson (sub: J Warren-Smith, 70), I Sharrieff (sub: R DeShields, 98). Substitutes not used: S Trott, K Matthie, J Ball, D Smith-Lightbourne. Booked: Ming, Lambe.
North Village (4-3-3): T Bell — J Davis, J Harvey, T Fray, D Tankard (sub: R Sampson, 91) — J Briers, T Burchall, K Bean — R Bean (sub: N Smith, 79), L Dill (sub: D Daniels, 46), S Hollis. Substitutes not used: P Parsons, K Knights, Z Bowen, K Dill, T Wilson, A Furbert. Booked: N Smith. Sent off: J Harvey.
Referee: G Swainson