Cougars strike twice to sink struggling Zebras
Devonshire Cougars 2 PHC Zebras 1
Devonshire Cougars strengthened their grip on fourth place when they came from behind to beat champions PHC Zebras with two goals in eight minutes early in the second half at Devonshire Recreation Club.
PHC have now lost six times in ten league matches, which is twice more than they lost the whole of last season when they retained their title.
Yesterday, they held a 1-0 lead at the half courtesy of a well-taken goal from captain Cecoy Robinson after the home team were made to pay for wasting a host of good chances early on.
Cougars were able to turn it around in the second half when Drewonde Bascome netted from the penalty spot and then set up the winner for Calin Maybury before going off with a hamstring injury a few minutes later.
“That's been our story all season, not converting our chances. We create so many chances but don't put them away, but in the end it was justice done,” said coach Vance Brown, who singled out Bascome for his contribution.
“It always feels good to win, the spirit is good and it lifts us for the next game. We play game to game, so we aim to win the next game to see where that leaves us.
“[Drewonde] is a big player for us, or any team he plays for, and we just need to get him more consistent. After not being successful in the Friendship Trophy final, this is a good response from the team.”
Cougars could have been a couple of goals in front in the opening minutes when, first, Zari Simmons lifted his effort over the top after Shaki Pearman made the pass into the box in the seventh minute.
A few minutes later Pearman got on the end of a short pass in the box before his shot from an angle was blocked by goalkeeper Shaquille Trott.
PHC showed Cougars how to find the net when they took the lead in the 33rd minute following a throw-in on the left side. Marco Warren laid off a square pass into the middle for Robinson who beat goalkeeper Ajai Daniels with his shot into the far bottom corner.
After that, defender Daren Usher put a good cross into the box where the sliding Corey Booth just failed to connect on the six-yard line. PHC were now creating the better chances as they finished the half stronger.
The visiting side had calls for a penalty in the 42nd minute turned down by referee Garic Swainson after Booth went down in the box from Cougars captain Zeko White, with Swainson close enough to rule that the challenge was fair, giving only a goal kick. Two minutes later Daniels denied Robinson a second goal when he blocked his shot after a pass into the box by Keishon Bean set up Robinson.
A penalty nine minutes into the second half turned the match around for Cougars, with Bascome converting his spot-kick following a foul on Cashun Brangman by Mikey Lambe as Brangman ran onto a pass from Bascome.
Bascome created the winner in the 63rd minute when a burst of speed for a loose ball got him inside the box on the left side.
He avoided a challenge before laying the ball back for Maybury to score at the second attempt after his initial shot was blocked by Trott.
Bascome, who injured himself in the move, limped off in the 69th minute to be replaced by Nyeem Simmons. Cougars held on in the closing minutes as PHC battled in vain. The win moves Cougars four points ahead of PHC and with a game in hand.
Devonshire Cougars: Bascome 55 pen, Maybury 63
PHC Zebras: Robinson
Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): A Daniels — J Mouchette, Z White, D Cox, L Millett — C Maybury, C Caisey, Z Simmons — D Bascome (sub: N Simmons, 69min), C Brangman (sub: L Tota, 80), S Pearman. Substitutes not used: K Durrant, K Trott, J Wade, K Mills-Wilson, R Simmons. Booked: White.
PHC Zebras (4-3-3): Shaquille Trott — D Usher, N Griffith, M Lambe, D Smith-Lightbourne — T Ming, Shakhai Trott, M Warren — C Robinson, K Bean (sub: S Harvey, 80), C Booth. Substitutes not used: C Fubler, J Hassell, J Joseph, E King-Mills, J Sealey, Z Lee. Booked: Ming.
Referee: G Swainson.