Somerset complete league and cup double
PHC Lady Zebras 1 Somerset Trojans Big Ballers 2
Somerset Trojans Big Ballers lived up to their name after completing a league and cup double in dramatic fashion at the Flora Duffy Stadium last night.
The league champions came from behind to edge PHC Lady Zebras in a highly entertaining and evenly fought Women’s Knockout Cup final.
PHC broke the deadlock in the fourteenth minute through midfielder Akeyla Furbert’s clinical finish.
However, Somerset hit back with two unanswered goals from midfielders Kimika Jackson and Jya Ratteray-Smith in the 29th and 32nd minutes to complete an impressive fightback and preserve their unbeaten record this season.
PHC were reduced to ten players when midfielder Marli Butterfield received a second booking for a harsh tackle on Somerset winger Jazaé Smith in the 57th minute.
Somerset were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage but prevented their opponents from scoring to preserve their slim advantage the rest of the way.
“Congratulations to the ladies and I am really proud of them,” Paul Fisher, the Somerset assistant coach, said. “I thought they did really well. PHC were playing really well and had a plan in place to try to get the ball behind us a lot, which we are not used to.
“We had to adapt to it after they scored on us and once we had scored the equaliser I felt that we were back in the game.
“I give the players a lot of credit because they didn’t put their heads down. They went in at half-time at 1-1 and came back in the second half and executed the plan that the coaching staff had put into place.
“They came with a plan and just didn’t do it all in the first half. But the second half they pressed a lot more and tried to get PHC off the ball, which worked well for us.”
Chelsea Harvey, the Somerset captain and goalkeeper, also hailed her team’s hard fought display.
“I am most definitely proud; the girls dug deep,” she said. “We started a bit slow but managed to score a goal to tie it up at the half.
“The goal came at the right time because we scored and then next thing you know it was half-time and we were able to regroup and come back out second half fired up from the beginning.
“We definitely had momentum going with us at the start of the second half and it was great.”
PHC dominated the early exchanges and threatened twice with Harvey saving Furbert’s effort from inside the box while Somerset right back Jenna Rampel cleared midfielder Tyeonae Smith’s goalbound effort off the line.
They inevitably made the breakthrough when Furbert latched on to a defence-splitting pass and fired past Harvey.
Somerset gradually grew into the match and after getting a foothold and began creating chances of their own.
Left back Victoria Davis saw her 20-yard free kick pushed around the post by PHC goalkeeper Brandi Benjamin while winger Smith sliced wide from an angle with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Somerset finally drew level when Jackson rose to head home right back Jenna Rampel’s cross from the right just before the interval.
The league champions picked right up where they left off at the start of the second half, with Ratteray-Smith converting Smith’s cross from the right side for the winner.
Things then went from bad to worse for PHC as Butterfield received her marching orders, leaving her team-mates to soldier on in her absence the rest of the way.
“Congratulations to Somerset for their victory,” Omar Shakir, the PHC coach, said.
“It was a tough match like we expected and I think our ladies are a bit upset tonight because they felt they could’ve done something to win the game.
“A couple of detrimental errors cost us in the end, but I thought the ladies played well overall.”
Sideya Dill, the PHC captain, added: “Even though the result did not go in our favour, we fought hard and it’s just unfortunate that’s how football goes.
“For the women of PHC I am extremely proud with a lot of individual performances and also as a team.”
Ratteray-Smith was named as the player of the match for Somerset and central defender Kalay Hollis for PHC.
• Somerset were denied a clean sweep of titles on the night after losing 3-0 to BAA in the Under-23 Men’s Knockout Cup final.
BAA went ahead as Benjamin Osset opened the scoring in the eighteenth minute.
Patrick Quinn then doubled BAA’s advantage in the 32nd minute before Jadan Ratteray-Smith’s own goal put the match beyond Somerset’s reach.