Village firmly in title race after stunning fightback
PHC Zebras 2 North Village 3
North Village kept their title hopes alive after fighting back from two goals down to defeat league leaders PHC Zebras at PHC Field today.
The victory moves Village to within three points of Zebras who have now lost their last two league games, having lost 3-0 away to Dandy Town two weeks ago.
Randy Spence, the Village assistant coach, felt the win was all more impressive given their opponent's record this season.
“We knew three points were needed, but the real challenge for us, was getting a good result over a team that has had our number lately,” Spence said.
“We showed plenty of character and this victory should do a lot for our confidence.”
PHC started the match positively and it was not long before they took the lead through captain Cecoy Robinson in the sixth minute.
The pacy forward latched onto a long ball over the top, and unleashed a fierce drive into the top corner that left Tahj Bell, the Village goalkeeper, with no chance.
Seven minutes later, Robinson was on his horse again, beating his defender down the right flank and crossing for Tre Ming to finish at the back post in the thirteenth minute.
Just as it seemed as though the home team would run away with the game, Village struck back in the 20th minute through Keith Jennings.
The experienced midfielder finished calmly under the advancing goalkeeper after receiving a smart pass from forward Demetre Daniels in the 21st minute.
Robinson had a chance to hit right back moments later, but was unable to beat Bell from close range after receiving a cross on the break from Ming.
The miss allowed the visiting side to maintain their foothold in the game, leaving the deficit at only one goal going into the interval.
Village started the half looking to get back on level terms and almost did so early on. Pierre Smith had his effort cleared off the line and seconds later, Jonathan Briers was denied from ten yards, by the feet of goalkeeper,
With Village pressing for the equaliser, Zebras were now finding a lot of space on the counter. Robinson was the main beneficiary but was denied twice by Bell diving low to his right to keep his team within striking distance.
Village would finally get their break though in the 67th minute when Keishen Bean, who had put in an industrious performance, got his reward. Daniels, was once again the provider, sending a defence-splitting pass to Bean who was able to poke the ball past the goalkeeper to level the score.
Both teams were now in search of a winner and PHC had a number of opportunities to reclaim the lead but Bell was on hand to save efforts from Robinson and substitute Casey Castle.
It was Village who would eventually end up with the final say through Shane Hollis, who had come on as a substitute in the 70th minute.
The diminutive forward finished emphatically from close range after the home team was unable to clear their lines from a Bean cross in 89th minute.
The defeat is PHC's second in as many games, and has opened the title race up to all the teams in the top half of the table.
PHC Zebras: S Trott — D Usher, N Griffith , R Deshields, D Davis, J Hassell (sub: C Booth, 73), M Waldron, T Ming, M Warren, C Robinson, K Bean (sub: C Castle, 80).
Substitites unused: Q Hunt, M Lambe, D Lightbourne, K Hypolite.
North Village: T Bell — D Tankard, T Fray, T Wilson, K Knights, J Briers, D Daniels, K Bean, L Dill (sub:S Hollis, 69) , K Jennings (sub: M Thomas 60), P Smith (sub: J Smith-DeShields, 69).
Substitutes not used: A Johnston, T Durham, C Caisey, D Dillas. Booked: J Briers, M Thomas.
Referee: L Rayner.