Town’s Samuels scores extra-time winner in 11-goal thriller
Dandy Town 6 PHC Zebras 5 (after extra time)
Dandy Town took a major step towards securing local football’s coveted “Triple Crown” after edging PHC Zebras in an electrifying eleven-goal Friendship Trophy semi-final at Devonshire Recreation Club last night.
The contest served as a precursor to the teams’ likely title-deciding league clash on April 9 and certainly delivered on its promise.
Aaron Denkins’s charges showed tremendous character to come from behind four times in the contest before super-sub Jahzardae Samuels grabbed the winner during the second period of extra time.
The result keeps Town on course for the Premier Division, Friendship Trophy and FA Cup treble.
Jomei Bean-Lindo, Tomiko Goater, a Shakhai Trott own goal, Azende Furbert and Nizigh Spence accounted for Town’s remaining goals.
PHC replied through an Antwan Russell hat-trick and strikes from Tre Ming and captain Marco Warren.
After all was said done, in one of the greatest local matches in recent memory, Town coach Denkins hailed his team’s effort in their hard-fought win.
“We always thought it was going to come down to the odd goal,” he said. “But nobody could have predicted this score and it’s great for football. The two-top teams going toe-to-toe coming down to the wire, it was great.”
Denkins attributes his team’s ability to have overcome several setbacks throughout the season as a key factor to their victory.
“We have been through a lot this season from deaths to our captain being out,” Denkins said. “So we have been through it all and this is just another bit of adversity that we are working through.
“We had a game plan and it was just a matter of executing the finite details. So it was just reminding them of the details and just letting them play and do it.”
Very little separated the league’s top two teams in a match which was played at a blistering pace with end-to-end action keeping fans on the edge of their seats throughout.
After weathering some early pressure, it was PHC which drew first blood.
Town goalkeeper Jaiden Manders parried Enrique Russell's shot, leaving Antwan Russell the simple task of drilling home the loose ball from inside the goalmouth.
Town pressed on and their persistence finally paid off when dead-ball specialist Bean- Lindo equalised with a curling left-footed, 30-yard free kick. A diving Shaquille Trott managed to get a glove on the ball but couldn't keep it out at the near post.
PHC went close again when striker Antwan Russell’s header was cleared off the line. But Town were not as fortunate a few minutes later when Ming nodded in Warren’s diagonal cross to restore PHC’s lead right on the half-time whistle.
Whatever tactical instructions Denkins issued to his players at the break didn’t take long to sink in as midfielder Goater beat Trott from 25-yards out just two minutes after the restart.
Antwan Russell put PHC back out front when he scored his second and his team’s third from the penalty spot. However, Town refused to go away and were back on even terms when defender Shakhai Trott turned a cross past his brother in goal.
Furbert appeared to have scored the winner for Town when he rose at the near post to powerfully head home Bean-Lindo’s inswinging corner.
But PHC captain Warren scored the goal of the game from 30 yards out with a volley that flew past Manders to bring the teams level again with a minute of regulation time remaining.
PHC surged ahead again in the first period of extra time with Antwan Russell converting a second penalty after a Town handled the ball in the area.
But once again Town refused to roll over and play dead and found another equaliser through Spence’s left-footed drive from inside the box.
With penalties looming, Samuels finally settled a see-saw affair worth every penny of the admission fee, when he slammed home Furbert’s pass after PHC were caught in possession just inside of their own half.
Dandy Town: Bean-Lindo 28, Goater 47, Shakhai Trott 66 (og), Furbert 80, Spence 107, Samuels (sub) 120.
PHC Zebras: A Russell 13, 62 (pen), 100 (pen), Ming 45+1, Warren 89
Dandy Town (4-1-4-1): J Manders 7 – J Bean-Lindo 8, T Webb 7, T Manders 7, E Blankendal 7 – A Furbert 8 – E Swan 7 (sub: M Parsons 84min 7), K Davis 7 (sub: J Samuels 90 7), T Goater 8, N Spence 8 – C Robinson 7 (sub: S Darrell 98 7). Substitutes not used: J Roser, M Issac, J Johnson, S Tatem. Booked: Bean-Lindo, Goater, T Manders, Samuels (sub), Parsons (sub).
PHC Zebras (4-1-4-1): Shaquille Trott 5 – D Smith-Lightbourne 6, M Lambe 7, N Griffith 7, S Trott 6 (sub: D Usher 84 7) – M Joell 7 – T Ming 6 (sub: K Abraham 55 7), M Warren 8, K Hypolite 6 (sub: J Iris 55 7), E Russell 8 – A Russell 8. Substitutes not used: C Fubler, D Lodge, R DeShields, I Taylor. Booked: Warren.
Referee: A Majors.
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