Jaylon Bather and PHC send ominous warning
PHC Zebras 6 X-Roads 0
Jaylon Bather got off to the ideal start back at PHC Zebras after guiding them to an emphatic victory over X-Roads in a Dudley Eve Trophy group B match at Bernard Park yesterday.
The close-season arrival from Robin Hood struck a brace with further goals coming from Ryan Hassell, captain Marco Warren, Shavon Nisbett and Kadeem Abraham as Winston Trott Jr’s side started the new season in spectacular style.
For Bather it was a particularly memorable way to mark his return to a club he started out with as a youth player.
“PHC was actually the first team I ever played for and I decided I wanted to give something back before I decide to give up my career,” he said. “It was a great first game of the season. We kept a clean sheet and scored some good goals, and on the whole did pretty well.
“The club lost a few key players in the summer but I think with the players that have been brought in and the squad we have, we should be able to do something this season like win a title.
“Hopefully I can stay as fit as possible this season because I’m targeting as much as we can this season. I’m hoping for a league title and maybe another like the Dudley Eve Trophy; that’s what we’re looking for.”
After being given an early warning with Kahmori Brangman flashing a first-time shot from the edge of the area narrowly wide for X-Roads, PHC broke the deadlock in the tenth minute.
A flowing move saw Abraham released into the area. He opted to square the ball to his left for Hassell to beat Q’Shai Darrell at his near post with a simple finish.
Just three minutes later, PHC doubled their advantage as Bather was afforded too much space inside the area to acrobatically volley Warren’s corner from the right through a crowd of players and into the net.
X-Roads finally started to settle into the encounter and came close to reducing the deficit as Jaman Lottimore calling Coolridge Fubler into a smart low save in the 21st minute, before Ramar Simmons’s deep cross from the left almost caught the custodian out as the ball dropped just over the far top corner.
However, it was PHC who were handed the opportunity to further extend their advantage moments before the interval as Kahmori Brangman was adjudged to have fouled Nisbett inside the area. Warren made no mistake from the spot, sending Darrell the wrong way, rolling his effort into the bottom left corner.
PHC picked up where they left immediately after the break, scoring a fourth three minutes after the restart. Having crashed a header off the crossbar from a Warren corner from the left, Bather, who had stayed forward, was picked out by Darren Usher’s long ball forward, with the centre half prodding the bouncing ball past Darrell.
Bather then turned provider as his side added a fifth in the 63rd minute. Driving out of defence, the 29-year-old released Nisbett with a defence-splitting pass and the forward smashed a low right-footed effort into the bottom left corner.
With 20 minutes remaining, PHC scored a sixth as another direct ball beat the static X-Roads backline, with Abraham keeping his composure to slot the ball under the advancing Darrell to wrap up a convincing victory and send an early ominous warning to their rivals.
PHC Zebras: Hassell 10, Bather 13, 46, Warren 43 pen, Nisbett 63, Abraham 70
PHC Zebras (4-3-3): C Fubler 7 — D Usher 7, M Lambe 7 (sub: T Showers, 65min 6), J Bather 9, D Smith Lightbourne 7 — K Abraham 8 (sub: D Joell 79), D Lodge 8 (sub: J Hassell, 65 6), M Warren 8 — K Bean 7, S Nisbett 8 (sub: A Wade 79), R Hassell 7 (sub: N Griffith, 65 6). Substitutes not used: K Lewis. Booked: Lodge.
X-Roads (4-5-1): Q Darrell 6 — T Perinchief 6, D Simmons 6, D Teleman 6, J Furbert 6 — J Lottimore 6 (sub: J Morgan, 53 6), K Brangman 6, C Brangman 6, T Daniels 6, R Simmons 6 (sub: A Wilson, 53 6) — D Baker 6. Substitutes not used: R Beek, T Lowe. Booked: Daniels, K Brangman.
Referee: D Jackson.