Substitute Simons at the double to send PHC into Dudley Eve quarter-finals
Boulevard Blazers 1 PHC Zebras 3
Second-half substitute Paul Simons struck twice to help guide PHC Zebras into the quarter-finals of the Dudley Eve Trophy with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Boulevard Blazers at Goose Gosling Field last night.
Simons, who was introduced in the 50th minute, sparked the match into life in spectacular fashion with a thunderous 25-yard strike and wrapped up proceedings with a smart volley with just five minutes remaining to cap an impressive cameo performance.
Kamali Davis had deservedly drawn Boulevard level on the hour mark, only for PHC captain Marco Warren to put his side back in front from the spot with nine minutes remaining, after a somewhat contentious handball decision from referee Tashon Simons.
The result ensured PHC secured their progression from the four-team group with one game remaining after winning their first first two matches and just a game to come against second-placed Somerset Trojans, who sit on two points.
“That was not too bad for my first game back, said Simons, a close-season recruit who featured sporadically for X-Roads over the past three seasons between studying in the United States. “I’m just pleased I could contribute for the team.
“This is my first full season back in Bermuda and so I’m looking to have a good season and give my all for the team. I would love to win a trophy. I’ve never won anything so hopefully I can get at least one under my belt while playing here.”
It was PHC who created the first clear opening in the 14th minute as Keishon Bean released Shavon Nisbett down the right-hand side only for the forward to be brilliantly denied by the onrushing Jahhi Shakir.
Winston Trott Jr’s side went even closer to breaking the deadlock in the 23rd minute as Boulevard defender Jerome Bailey found himself in the right place to hook Ryan Hassell’s goal-bound header off the line.
At the other end, Coleridge Fubler had to be alert as he raced off his line to deny the lively Davis, who had beaten the offside trap, only to see his lobbed effort well kept out by the custodian, ensuring the sides went in level at the interval.
After a sluggish start to the second half, Simons introduced himself in scintillating style to finally break the deadlock just past the hour mark.
Picking up the ball 25 yards from goal, the forward unleashed a thunderous right-foot strike that whistled past Shakir into the roof of the net.
Despite the setback, Boulevard almost levelled five minutes later as Fubler was once again called into action to keep out Jahzarade Samuel’s stinging driven strike from the right side of the area.
Boulevard’s perseverance was rewarded in the 69th minute when Davis pulled them level. A neat interchange between the forward and Takeyhi Walker-Samuels resulted in the latter being released down the left hand-side before sending an inviting low cross into the box, which Davis beat Fubler to prod home.
With the match perfectly poised heading into the final ten minutes, PHC were handed a golden opportunity from the spot after referee Simons adjudged the ball had bounced up and struck a Boulevard hand inside a crowded penalty area.
Captain Warren took responsibility and made no mistake, sending his effort under the reach of Shakir and into the bottom right-hand corner to put his team back in front.
With five minutes remaining Simons put the result beyond doubt, volleying home at the front post from Warren’s free kick from the right byline to secure his side’s progression.
Boulevard: Davis 69
PHC Zebras: Simons 62, 85; Warren (pen) 81
Boulevard (5-4-1): J Shakir 7 – C Darrell 6 (sub: S Robinson 61min, 6), J Williams 7, J Bailey 7, A Famous 6, Q Maynard 6 – T Walker-Samuels 8, J Samuel 7, N Smith 7, T Jefferis 7, – K Davis 8. Substitutes not used: Z Stovell, N Augustus, A Harvey, A Smith, I Coke. Booked: Samuel
PHC Zebras (4-2-3-1): C Fubler 7 – D Usher 7, M Lambe 6, J Bather 8, D Smith-Lightbourne 7 – D Lodge 7 (sub: J Hassell 68, 7), K Abraham 7 (sub: P Simons 50 min, 8) – S Nisbett 6 (sub: T Showers 68, 6), M Warren 8, K Bean 6 – R Hassell 7. Substitutes not used: N Griffith, D Joell, K Lewis, W Trott, A Wade. Booked: Lambe
Referee: T Simons