Zebras seize control of title race
Robin Hood 0 PHC Zebras 1
PHC Zebras took a giant leap towards a record eleventh league title after handing nearest rivals Robin Hood their first league defeat of the season at Goose Gosling Field last night.
Marco Warren capitalised on an error from Hood goalkeeper Dale Eve during the first half of a physical battle played at high tempo, which ultimately proved to be the difference.
The result keeps PHC firmly in the driver’s seat to retain their title. PHC turned up determined to end their jinx at a venue where they suffered their only two losses of the season.
The Zebras suffered their first defeat of the season last November when Dandy Town beat them 2-0 in the league and their second, a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Hood, in the FA Cup quarter-finals last month. The visiting side should have opened their account when Diondre Dowling got behind the defence but sliced well wide with only Eve to beat.
PHC kept the pressure on as their opponents and eventually made the breakthrough through an error that ultimately came back to haunt Hood.
Eve kicked the ball straight at Warren who, with laserlike precision, curled into the open net from 35 yards out.
PHC pressed on in search of more goals and were unfortunate not to stretch their lead as Tre Ming, wearing the captain’s armband, curled a shot just over and then headed Keishon Bean’s corner over the bar.
Hood had their fair share of possession but were unable to prise PHC’s defence apart.
Shaquille Trott, the PHC goalkeeper, had a quiet first half as he was only required to save Lejaun Simmons speculative shot from outside of the box.
After the break, Antwan Russell, the former PHC forward, linked up well with Simmons who flashed a volley just wide of the near post.
PHC nearly doubled their advantage when defender Shakhai Trott just failed to get a boot to Ming’s cross in front of goal.
Hood also breathed a sigh of relief after Ming had a goal ruled out for offside.
The home side dominated possession the rest of the way as PHC sat deep and tested Trott on several occasions. Hood’s unrelenting pressure nearly paid off deep in stoppage time.
The ball bounced invitingly to Russell in a goalmouth scramble but his shot was cleared off the line.
“The belief and the fight you saw in the players is what carried us through,” Scott Morton, the PHC coach, said.
“The belief and the fight that they know what’s needed to be able to get a victory like this.”
PHC Zebras: Warren, 23
Robin Hood (4-3-3): D Eve — S Smith, J Bather, J Nusum, J Pereira - P Parsons, L Symonds (sub: E Outerbridge, 57 min), T Goater — A Nelson, L Simmons, A Russell. Substitutes not used: T Bean, D Andrade. Booked: Nelson, Russell, Smith
PHC Zebras(4-5-1): S Trott — D Smith-Lightbourne, D Dowling (sub: Z Lee, 67 min), M Lambe, S Trott — M Waldron, R DeShields, M Warren, D Usher, K Bean (sub: K Hyoplite, 90+1) — T Ming (sub: C Robinson, 77). Substitutes not used: J Eve, M Wilson, Z Ming-Wilson, N Edwards. Booked: Waldron.
Referee: T Simons.