Trojans boost survival hopes
Somerset Trojans 2 PHC Zebras 1
Somerset Trojans kept their survival hopes alive when they stunned league leaders PHC Zebras with a victory at Somerset Cricket Club on Saturday night.
A late winner from Jeze Butterfield drew them level with Paget Lions on 11 points but still four points from safety.
Danvers Seymour Jr, the Somerset coach, welcomed the victory, knowing that anything less would have sealed their fate in First Division.
“Of course, it's a big win, but we have so much more still to do, and we just have to stay focused and do our best to pick up maximum points in the remaining matches.”
The result was equally significant to PHC, who could have wrapped up the league with a victory on the night, but will have to keep the lid on the celebrations for at least another week.
Scott Morton, the PHC coach, commended Somerset's approach to the match.
“With the position that they are in, you could tell they came out to battle and they were rewarded for their efforts,” he said. “We just have to put this game behind us and move on to the next.”
With so much at stake, the intensity level was high from the outset and it was Somerset who had the first looks at goal through midfielder Justin Corday.
The first, a shot from the edge of the box that goalkeeper Shaquille Trott had to get low to save, and the second went just over the bar with a shot from distance after intercepting a pass in a dangerous area.
PHC's first chance came on the half-hour mark when Kushae Hypolite chased a long ball into the box, and was sandwiched by two defenders, leaving referee Anthony Francis with no choice but to point to the spot.
Cecoy Robinson, the PHC captain, stepped up and buried his spot kick to the goalkeeper's left to give his team the lead.
Robinson then had a chance to double the lead just before half-time when he was picked out unmarked at the back post with a cross from the right, but his tame header was easily saved.
PHC carried the momentum into the second half and came close when Shakhai Trott got on the end of a free kick from the left but could only watch as the ball went inches wide of the post.
Moments later, Somerset were awarded a penalty, when the industrious D'Andre Wainwright was brought down inside the box. Jaz Ratteray-Smiths's firmly struck penalty found the net despite the goalkeeper getting a hand on it.
The game remained in the balance until the 80th minute when Butterfield showed good determination to get to a deep, diagonal ball that looked to be going out for goal kick.
Having got there before the goalkeeper who was now caught well out of position, the winger had the presence of mind to cross towards the now empty goal. Despite the efforts of a PHC defender, who had scrambled back to cover the goal, the ball ended up in the back of the net, sending the home fans into a frenzy.
Somerset: Ratteray 48, Butterfield 81
PHC: Robinson 30
Somerset Trojans (4-3-3): S Bean — T Ming, S Brangan, Jaz Ratteray-Smith, Jadan Ratteray-Smith (sub: M Henschke, 51) — C Durham, D Swan, J Corday — D Wainwright (sub: H Butterfield, 86), J Butterfield, |D Darrell (sub: A Seaman, 46). Substitutes not used: K Hollis. Booked: Darrell 40, D Wainwright 73.
PHC Zebras (4-3-3): Shaquilli Trott — D Smith-Lightbourne, M Lambe, Shakai Trott, D Usher — M Waldron, Z Lee (sub: M Wilson, 73), K Matthie — M Warren, C Robinson, K Hypolite (sub: Z Edwards, 80). Booked: Smith-Lightbourne 40, Shakai Trott 53, Shaquille Trott 53, Lambe 65.
Referee: A Francis.