Enrique Russell hits hat-trick as PHC dash X-Roads’ FA Cup hopes
PHC Zebras 6 X Roads Warriors 2
Enrique Russell continued his prolific streak to catapult PHC through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup at PHC Field yesterday.
The forward netted his second hat-trick of the season as the home side left it to late before finally seeing off a gutsy X-Roads side, who looked anything but a team languishing in the relegation zone in the top flight.
The visitors drew first blood courtesy of an Michael Lambe own goal before second half tallies from substitute Antwan Russell and cousin Enrique put PHC ahead.
However, X-Roads refused to roll over and were back on even terms when striker Donovan Thompson converted on a breakaway.
Defender Na’eem Griffith scored what proved to be the winner before Enrique Russell converted either side of substitute Tre Ming’s goal in the last minute of regulation time.
This entertaining cup tie was not without controversy as PHC substitute Antwan Russell and X-Roads’ Ajai Daniels and Jamin Furbert were sent off for violent conduct after tempers flared.
It ultimately proved to be a real turning point in the match as the visitors lost momentum and their shape, which eleven-times champions PHC ruthlessly exploited to finally put the game to bed.
“A tough and rough game and we were able to put our away our chances a little later,” Marco Warren, the PHC captain, said. “We probably could have got more, but that’s just the nature of the game. I’m just glad we didn’t pay for it.”
Saleem Talbot, the X-Roads president, praised his team’s courageous display but took issue with the sending off of Furbert and Daniels.
“I think we performed well, frankly, from the start all the way up until the time when the strange thing (dismissals) happened,” he said. “I would like for the officials to explain what happened.
“I didn’t see anything like that. I don’t know why those cards were issued and it hasn’t been explained to us. I don’t get it and the players don’t either.”
PHC were forced to chase the game after falling behind early. X-Roads’s forward Jah-Von Morgan’s low drive from a throw-in ricocheted off Lambe’s body past the unsuspecting Shaquille Trott in goal.
The goal jolted PHC into action as they created several chances and went agonisingly close when Makai Joell’s cross come shot struck the bar.
Still trailing at the break, PHC coach Winston Trott Jr went to his bench and brought on experienced pair Antwan Russell and Ming at the start of the second half.
The tactical ploy reaped early benefits as the pair made an immediate impact to draw the hosts level. Griffith headed Ming’s free kick back across goal where Antwan Russell headed past Q-Shai Darrell at the back post.
Enrqiue Russell then put PHC ahead for the first time from the penalty spot after being brought down in the area after being played behind by Antwan Russell’s through ball.
PHC were in control at this stage but paid the price for loose defending as Thompson ran onto Tymon Daniels’ long ball and drew Trott off his line before slotting home in the far bottom corner to level the scores again.
However, Griffith restored PHC’s lead for good when he drove home Ming’s corner at the second attempt from point blank range.
Tempers flared with both sets of players coming together after Furbert fouled PHC captain Warren, whose creativity and movement wreaked havoc on the visitors throughout.
When the dust had settled, Furbert, Daniels and Antwan Russell all received their marching orders after being shown straight red cards.
PHC capitalised on their numerical advantage as they exploded for three goals in six minutes to put game far beyond their opponent’s reach.
Ming ran onto Warren’s defence splitting past and fired past Darrell.
Warren also assisted in his team’s fifth goal, threading a pass to Enrique Russell which the latter side-footed home from close range.
Enrique Russell, who has scored in PHC’s last three outings, then completed his hat-trick after latching onto Ming’s pass and shrugging off a tackle before beating Darrell from close range.
PHC Zebras: A Russell (sub) 48, E Russell 55, 90, 90+5, Griffith 63, Ming (sub) 90.
X -Roads Warriors: Lambe (og), Thompson 59.
PHC Zebras (4-1-4-1): S Trott 7 – D Smith-Lightbourne 7, M Lambe 7, N Griffith 8, D Usher 8 – M Joell 7 (sub: Z Ming-Wilson 90) – K Bean 7 (sub: S Nisbett 90), J Sealey 6 (sub: A Russell 46), M Warren 8, E Russell 8 – O Tucker 6 (sub: T Ming 46 8). Substitutes not used: C Fubler, K Hypolite, S Trott. Booked: Bean. Sent off: A Russell (sub) 75 min.
X-Roads Warriors (4-1-4-1): Q Darrell 6 – R Beek 6, T Daniels 7, J Furbert 7, L Simmons 6- A Daniels 6- J Minks 6 (sub: A Wilson 61 6), D Simons 6 (sub: R Hare 61 6), D-Scott Woolridge 6, J Morgan (sub: Ricardo Beek 78) 6 – D Thompson 7. Substitutes not used: D Baker. Booked: Morgan, Thompson, T Daniels. Sent off: Furbert, A Daniels 75 min.
Referee: T Simons.