Champagne on ice for PHC as Devonshire Cougars take title race to final day
North Village 1 Devonshire Cougars 2
Devonshire Cougars battled back from a goal down to ensure that PHC will have to wait another week to be crowned Premier Division champions.
Cougars knew that nothing less than a win at Bernard Park on Sunday afternoon would do if they were to still have a mathematical chance of winning the league on the final day but that looked unlikely when Village took the lead in the second half through Jalen Harvey’s acrobatic effort in the 49th minute.
However, the visitors showed tremendous character to turn the match around with Jazario Brimmer levelling in the 64th minute before Elisha Darrell tapped in the winner five minutes later.
Despite keeping their faint title hopes alive ahead of facing a beleaguered Robin Hood in their final match, Cougars head coach Kwame Steede has already conceded the trophy to PHC, who host already relegated Boulevard.
“Mathematically it isn’t over, but I feel as if the league has already been won by PHC,” said Steede, whose side are three points adrift of their title rivals with a ten-goal inferior goal difference.
“I don’t see them easing up in their final match of the season and so you can all but congratulate them now for when that moment does come.
“Looking at the table it’s just a little too far out of our hands. They have to lose that final match and we need to score a lot of goals, so mathematically while we are still in it, in another sense we’re not. We’re just looking at ourselves and trying to keep going until the end.”
After a tentative start from both teams, an effort on goal was finally registered in the 15th minute when Lejuan Simmons’s dangerous inswinging free kick from the left evaded everyone with Village goalkeeper Detre Bell alert to parry the ball away.
After another lull, Bell was again called into action in the 31st minute, smartly keeping out Domico Coddington’s driven effort after the striker was picked out inside the area by Brimmer.
Just a minute later Village thought they had broken the deadlock when an unmarked Tahmi Williams headed home past Tahj Bell, but the celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee’s flag for offside.
At the other end, Coddington also had a goal ruled out by the offside flag after sweeping home Simmons’s cross two minutes before the interval.
Further chances came and went for Cougars in the closing stages of the half, with Demetre Daniels firing narrowly wide and Darrell also heading over when he had time and space to bring the ball down inside the area.
Cougars were made to rue their profligacy just four minutes into the second half when Village broke the deadlock in spectacular style. Tre Ming’s inviting free-kick from the left found Harvey who, despite being surrounded, managed to find enough space to execute an overhead kick into the bottom left corner.
The setback spurred Cougars into life and they regained a foothold in the game before finally levelling in the 64th minute. Picking up possession centrally 25 yards from goal, Brimmer shifted the ball to his right foot before drilling a low effort past the reach of Bell and into the bottom left corner.
Cougars got themselves ahead just five minutes later when Brimmer released Simmons down the left and he squared the ball across the goalmouth for a simple tap in for Darrell.
In the closing stages, Village went agonisingly close to snatching a share of the spoils as Williams’s close-range effort beat Bell but not the upright as the ball came crashing back off the post to keep Cougars’ faint title hopes alive.
North Village: J Harvey 49
Devonshire Cougars: J Brimmer 64, E Darrell 69.
North Village (4-5-1): D Bell 7 - K Knights 6, T Fray 6, T Wilson 6, J Harvey 7 - V Perinchief 6 (sub: K Harrison, 78min), T Ming 7, P Smith 7, T Willimas 7, N Smith 6 (sub: A Dos Santos, 73) - J Smith-Deshields 6. Substitutes not used: J Sukedo, O Deshields, N Anglin, S Somner, D Dillas. Booked: Smith.
Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): T Bell 7 - J Fox 7, Z White 7, L Millett 6, J Thomas 6 - Jahdae Wade 6 (sub: K Steede, 83), J Brimmer 7, D Daniels 6 (sub: N Simmons, 83) - L Simmons 7 (sub: C Johnson, 85), D Coddington 6, E Darrell 6 (sub: Jasekari Wade, 83). Substitutes not used: D Williams. Booked: Wade.
Referee: T Luis
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