PHC suffer first defeat of season
Dandy Town 3 PHC Zebras 0
Dandy Town handed PHC Zebras their first loss of the season in all competitions at St John's Field to move into second place in the Premier Division.
It was Town, not leaders PHC, who took advantage of the loss by second-placed Robin Hood on Saturday as the lead at the top was cut to four points.
Victory would have seen PHC leading the second-place team by nine points with seven games remaining.
“It was a massive, massive result, especially against a team that was undefeated,” Kwame Steede, Town's player-coach, said.
“Our first league game against them was close [1-0] when an error by our goalkeeper gave them the points. I thought we were competitive then and we have grown since, so I knew today was going to be a big game. I told the team there was something special out there for us and we showed it.”
PHC created some good chances in the opening 15 minutes, with former PHC goalkeeper Troy Hall Jr, keeping the game level with some fine saves.
He was caught out of his penalty area early on after a clearance, but Kushae Hypolite, who collected the ball, could not direct his shot from 40 yards on goal.
Minutes later Hall made a reflex save at the near post from a Marco Warren shot after PHC opened the Town defence.
Hall was called upon to make a double-save three minutes later when he did well to smother a dangerous shot from 30 yards from Tre Ming that bounced in front of him. He then recovered quickly to make an other save from Cecoy Robinson's follow-up shot.
Town took the lead against the run of play when Ian Coke scored from a twice-taken penalty after the overlapping Eusebio Blankendal was tripped on the edge of the box by Keishon Bean.
The half finished with PHC again going close after Warren met a Ming pullback inside the box only for his low shot back across goal to miss the far post.
Ming drove over the bar at the far post after controlling the ball from a corner on the right early in the second half.
However, they were stunned by a well-taken second goal by Town when midfielder Nizigh Spence powered home a free header after the ball came into the box from a corner on the left.
PHC, who last conceded two goals in a game back on November 5 when they beat X-Roads 4-2, were preparing to make a double-substitution when the goal went in, bringing on Casey Castle and Jaavaid Warren-Smith for Bean and Hypolite.
PHC threw players forward for a corner deep into stoppage time when Town closed out the win with a brilliant third goal. The ball was cleared to captain Angelo Simmons on the halfway line and he raced forward in a one-on-one race with the last PHC defender, Darren Usher, before getting into the box and driving into the far corner past goalkeeper Quinnaceo Hunt.
The win for Town injects some new interest in a title race that PHC looked like winning with games to spare.
“For us we're just taking our games one at a time, doing what we have to do,” Steede said. “They still have the league in their hands. “We lived up to our motto, ‘No guts, no glory'. We gave the guts and got the glory.”
Scott Morton admitted the loss makes the title race more interesting. “For the crowd I think it was an excellent game, end-to-end,” the PHC coach said. “We brought everything we could and Dandy Town converted their chances, which is what you are supposed to do. I think they played an excellent tactical game.”
Coke 19 pen, Spence 57, Simmons 90+5
Dandy Town (4-4-2): T Hall — E Blankendal, J Shrubb, K Steede, O Lowe (sub: G Liburd, 85min) — L Tucker, N Spence (sub: D Williams, 89), E Trott, D Ming — A Simmons, I Coke. Substitutes not used: J Manders, K Lathan, D Walker, N Smith. Booked: Tucker, Williams.
PHC (4-4-2): Q Hunt — D Usher, R DeShields, D Griffith, D Davis (sub: J Hassell, 72) — M Waldron, T Ming, K Bean (sub: J Warren-Smith, 57), M Warren — K Hypolite (sub: C Castle, 57), C Robinson. Substitutes not used: S Trott, M Lambe, D Lightbourne-Smith, J Iris.
Referee: L Cann.