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Marco Warren penalty settles controversial Friendship Trophy final

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Some desperate defending from PHC Zebras during the final minutes of the Friendship Trophy Final (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)
PHC Zebras wins the Friendship Trophy Final
North Village and PHC Zebras player fight it out in the Friendship Trophy final (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)

North Village 0 PHC Zebras 1

A heated Friendship Trophy final was won in controversial fashion by PHC Zebras before a crowd of nearly 2,000 spectators at Somerset Cricket Club on New Year’s Day.

North Village defender Jalen Harvey had a goal was disallowed early in the second half with the game goalless.

Tempers eventually flared with both teams having to be separated during a skirmish deep in PHC’s half as a game in which referee Tashun Simons dished out nine yellow cards threatened to get completely out of control.

Village’s evening then turned from bad to worse as PHC were awarded a penalty, which captain Marco Warren converted, and held on to clinch a record thirteenth Friendship Trophy title and first in four seasons after non-stop action in the final 20 minutes.

After the final whistle players from both teams again had to be separated before David Burt, the Premier, presented PHC with the spoils of victory.

The honour was a first for coach Winston Trott Jr and captain Warren in their respective roles.

“It’s a relief and feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Trott said.

“The guys put the work in. They had to dig deep and did everything they needed to do to get the win. I said it was going to be a chess game and it was. We had our chances, they had theirs and it was back and forth, it was always going to be a battle.

“Both teams had their chances to open up the scoring but I guess that’s how football goes.”

Warren was equally as relieved to lead his team to a maiden title since donning the captain’s armband.

“It definitely feels like such a relief,” he said. “I am happy to get this done in my second or third season as captain, and it’s all testament to the boys who put in a really good shift. The boys had my back and I am happy to have this trophy in my hand.”

As for his game-winning penalty kick, the PHC midfielder added: “I just stuck to my routine. He [Village goalkeeper Detre Bell] jumped early and so I just had to put it into an empty net.”

Village coach Kenny Thompson disagreed with the decision to disallow Harvey’s goal and took to Twitter with video evidence.

“It was a close match as was to be expected and at the end of the day we didn’t do enough to win,” he said.

“We certainly had chances we didn’t take and the penalty decision was an unfortunate decision against us. The goal that was disallowed, we’ve seen video evidence now it was no contact at all, but that’s football.”

Clear-cut chances were few and far between during a lacklustre first half, with the first opportunity falling to Village striker Jaizel Smith-DeShields, who saw his shot pushed around the post by PHC goalkeeper Coleridge Fubler.

PHC responded with Tysi Showers sidefooting tamely into the hands of Village goalkeeper Bell, who then comfortably plucked Paul Simons’s lob out of the air.

Fubler was then called into action again to save Ian Simmons’s shot from the top of the box to send the teams into the break deadlocked.

Village made a bright start to the second half and appeared to have taken the lead when Harvey rose at the back post to powerfully head home Terryn Fray’s free kick only for referee Simons to blow the whistle for a foul on the play.

Warren then scored what proved to be the winner from the spot after Showers was bundled over by Village right back Tahmi Williams while following up on his own rebound in the area.

Village pressed on in search of an equaliser and went agonisingly close when Smith-DeShields’s shot was cleared off the line.

PHC striker Simons then spurned a glorious opportunity to put the game beyond reach late after blasting over with only Bell to beat and that miss nearly proved costly as Justin Bell’s downward header from fellow substitute Owen Botelho’s cross bounced over in stoppage time.


PHC: Warren 68 pen


North Village (4-3-3): D Bell 7 – J Harvey 6, T Fray 6, K Knights 6, T Williams 6 – T Wilson 6 – I Simmons 6 (sub: R Simons, 81min), T Ming 6 – J Jennings 6 (sub: J Bell, 63 5), Z Dill 5 (sub: O Botelho, 63 5), J Smith-DeShields 6.Substitutes not used: J Basden, T Bean, A Dos Santos, A Kempe, L Outerbridge. Booked: D Bell, Ming, Wilson, J Bell.

PHC Zebras (4-1-4-1): C Fubler 7 – D Smith-Lightbourne 5, J Bather 5, N Griffith 5, D Usher 5 - K Abraham 5 (sub: A Astwood, 63 5) - D Lodge 5, M Warren 7, J Sealey 5 (sub: J Joseph, 63 5), T Showers 6 (sub: Shaquille Trott, 88) – P Simons 6. Substitutes not used: E Shakir, K Matthie, D Dowling, Shakhai Trott, K Bean, S Nisbett. Booked: Fubler, Usher, Smith-Lightbourne, Astwood, Joseph.

Referee: T Simons.

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Published January 03, 2023 at 8:01 am (Updated January 03, 2023 at 2:45 pm)

Marco Warren penalty settles controversial Friendship Trophy final

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