Quick-thinking Russells keep PHC on Town’s heels
Robin Hood 2 PHC 3
PHC kept the title race wide open last night when a dramatic late winner by Enrique Russell earned them the three points at Goose Gosling Field, against a battling Robin Hood team.
Mataeo Holder, the young Hood goalkeeper, was blown down by referee Tashun Simons for taking more than six seconds to release the ball on the edge of the penalty area.
Before the Hood defence could set up for the free kick, Antwan Russell took the ball from the custodian, made a short pass to Enrique, who scored into an empty goal with just four minutes remaining.
The win means that PHC, who had a game in hand on Dandy Town, are now just two points behind the leaders in what could be an intriguing finish to the season, with the two teams set to play each other in the final match on April 10.
“I’m relieved that we got the three points, we made it a lot harder than it should have been but they battled hard,” PHC coach Winston Trott Jr said of his opponents. “Those youngsters came and played football tonight!
“I think some of our players were feeling the effects of the game on the weekend. It was just a matter of managing the game and sticking to our game plan.
“We are taking it one game at a time, we know that we have to win every game that we play.”
Robin Hood certainly didn’t make it an easy three points for PHC, even after the Zebras finally broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute, when Antwan Russell scored following a smart move involving Enrique Russell and Marco Warren.
Enrique’s pass put Warren into the box and his short left-footed cross was side-footed home by Russell, who was playing against his former team.
Just minutes earlier, Hood went close to taking the lead themselves, when Jaylon Bather’s free kick from 25 yards was tipped around a post by Coleridge Fubler, the PHC goalkeeper.
Keishon Bean went close to adding a second goal for PHC in the 41st minute when his shot from inside the box smashed against the crossbar.
The two teams continued to show plenty of commitment in the second half, which was just 15 seconds old when Bather was booked for a bad foul on Bean.
Three minutes afterwards, Hood were back on level terms when Chae Brangman’s left-footed shot from inside the box, smashed against the bar. Before the ball was cleared, it was squared back into the middle, where Brangman planted a shot into the bottom corner.
The tackles continued to go in hard as Hood matched their opponents, with two of their own players, Malachi Henry and Cody Robinson involved in a clash of heads, with the latter going off with a bleeding mouth, as he was replaced by J’Kai Berkeley.
After Tre Ming had an effort ruled out for offside, PHC’s persistence paid off a second time, when Warren scored with another brilliant free kick from the edge of the box, just as he did on Sunday against Somerset Eagles. This time he managed to curl his free kick into the top left corner.
However, within five minutes Hood were back on level terms when an equally impressive goal made it 2-2. This time a long ball from the halfway line on the left side by Bather was headed down at the far side of the box by Brangman, for 16-year-old substitute Tajai Goater to drive the ball into the bottom corner.
In the end, it wasn’t enough to earn them a point, but player-coach Danté Leverock was pleased with the fight shown by his youngsters, who have come of age this season.
“What we’re doing on the training ground is definitely paying off, we played some good football tonight,” he said. “I’m trying to teach these guys how to be confident and be fearless and I told them just now that I’m so proud of them.
“They are young, they are playing well and this was one of our better performances. But I told them we can’t learn and keep losing, though. We have to start winning these games.
“I think we showcased ourselves well tonight.”
Robin Hood: Brangman 48, Goater 75
PHC: A Russell 32, Warren 71, E Russell 86
Robin Hood (4-4-2): M Holder 6 ‒ K Knights 6, D Leverock 7, C Robinson 6 (sub: J Berkeley 60min, 6), M Henry 6 ‒ J Bather 7, A Simons 6 (sub: T Goater 61, 6), K Naylor 6, D Cook 7 ‒ C Brangman 7, E Outerbridge 6. Substitutes not used: A Mussenden, T Bean, M Fullerton. Booked: Leverock, Knights, Bather, Fullerton.
PHC (4-3-3): C Fubler 6 ‒ S Trott 6, R DeShields 6, M Lambe, D Smith-Lightbourne 6 ‒ T Ming 6, D Lodge 6 (sub: M Joell 46, 6), M Warren 7 ‒ A Russell 7, K Bean 6 (sub: D Usher 73), E Russell 6. Substitutes not used: Shaquille Trott, J Sealey, O Tucker, N Griffith, K Hypolite. Booked: Lambe, DeShields.
Referee: T Simons.