PHC hammer Boulevard to become Premier Division champions
PHC Zebras 9 Boulevard Blazers 0
Winston Trott Jr, the PHC Zebras coach, breathed a huge sigh of relief after his team clinched the Premier Division title in emphatic fashion in front of their own fans at PHC Field on Sunday.
The home side thrashed relegated Boulevard in a game they dominated throughout to wrap up their third league title in five seasons and a record twelfth overall.
Striker Paul Simons led the charge with a hat-trick, playmaker and captain Marco Warren scored twice while defender Jaylon Bather and forward Jenico Sealey and substitute midfielder Keishon Bean added one each.
The visiting team’s woes were further compounded when defender Reiko Trott scored an own goal after T’syi Showers’s shot took a deflection.
“It’s a huge relief for us to get across the line,” said Trott amid his team’s celebrations. “These guys worked very hard this season for this, everybody has been pushing all year and they got the job done.
“They [Boulevard] put up a little fight but that’s how it goes. My guys were prepared to battle and stuck to the game plan, which worked out.”
Trott was equally as relieved to finally get a first league title under his belt since succeeding Robert Bean as coach in July 2020.
“It’s a relief. It’s a load off my back and I am happy for the club, which is what it is about,” he added.
The influential Warren was just as thrilled to have finally lifted the coveted trophy for the first time since donning the captain’s armband.
“The league rewards the team that is the most consistent and I am glad to finally achieve this feat as the captain of the team and the so-called leader,” he said.
“We do have a lot more leaders outside of me and I want to credit all those guys that are a part of the team, the coaching staff and all the fans as well for their support. We want to really appreciate everybody for this moment and share it together.”
Warren is also delighted to see he and his team-mates reap reward for the hard work they have put in on the training ground.
“It feels absolutely fantastic to know that all the work we put in paid off,” he added. “It really shows the excellence of the group that we have here working for each other making sure we dot our i’s and cross our t’s and get across the finish line in handsome style.”
PHC defender Na’eem Griffith was also happy to see all the hard work and sacrifice pay off.
“It feels good to be champions again,” he said.
“It’s a good feeling to be back on top, which we appreciate due to the hard work we put in and the obstacles we had to overcome, so we are going to enjoy it.”
Taking some of the sparkle off the big occasion was the third yellow card picked up by Warren in the closing moments, which now rules him out of PHC’s FA Cup final clash with North Village.
“It definitely takes the shine off it, but that’s how football goes and you have to live with it,” Trott said.
“It’s life but we have had to play without him before, so we will prepare for it and will be ready.”
Warren was booked after colliding with Boulevard goalkeeper Azir Harvey when challenging for a loose ball in the box.
“I am not in the wrong. I made a touch, he [Harvey] tackled me, I didn’t tackle him and we have video footage,” Warren argued. “I will definitely appeal that one as I am one of these guys who sticks up for themselves.
“But it’s in God’s hands and right now I am going to live in the present and enjoy the moment with my boys.”
Michael Trott, the PHC president, said his club will determine what course of action to pursue once they obtain all the details surrounding the incident from the match officials.
“We will cross that bridge when we get there and then we will do our due diligence with regards as to whether we want to challenge it or not,” he said.
“Right now we don’t know the full circumstances of what took place, so once I get a decision from the match official then we will decide what we want to do next.”
PHC took only three minutes to open their account with Simons reacting first to a rebound inside the area.
The experienced player doubled his team’s advantage in the 28th minute when he steered past Harvey after Warren’s flick sent him clear on goal and he completed his hat-trick two minutes later with a looping header after the goalkeeper failed to collect a high ball into the area.
Warren then squeezed a shot inside Harvey’s near post to make it 4-0 on the stroke of half-time.
Sealey added a fifth in the 66th minute when he drilled Simons’s back-heeled pass into the bottom right corner and Warren his second in the 78th minute after ramming a shot from inside the area into the roof of the net.
Bather made it 7-0 in the 80th minute when he headed home from a corner before substitute Bean turned sharply in the area and beat Harvey at the near post five minutes later.
Showers’s shot from 25 yards then took a deflection off the body of central defender Trott on its way into the back of the net in the 89th minute to round off the rout.
PHC are now on the verge of a second Triple Crown and their first in 52 years after winning the Friendship Trophy and league title with the FA Cup final the last leg.
“We still have a job to complete, so we are going to keep grinding until the very last game,” Griffith said.
PHC Zebras: Simons 3, 28, 30, Warren 45, 78, Sealey 66, Bather 80, Bean 85, R Trott og 89
PHC Zebras (4-3-3): C Fubler 7 — D Smith-Lightbourne 7, J Bather 7, N Griffith 7 (sub: J Hassell, 46min 7), D Usher 7 (sub: D Richardson, 75) — D Lodge 7 (sub: K Bean, 46 7), K Abraham 7, M Warren 8 — T Showers 7, J Sealey 7 (sub: S Trott, 75), P Simons 8 (sub: A McDowall, 75). Booked: Warren. Substitutes not used: Shaquille Trott, S Nisbett.
Boulevard (4-4-2): A Harvey 6 — O Wilson 5, A Williams-Smith 5, R Trott 5, G Liburd 5 — D Hendrickson 5, A Johnston 5, N Smith 5, J Samuels 5 — T Walker-Samuels 5, S Woolridge 5. Booked: Samuels, Williams- Smith.
Referee: A Nicholls (United States).
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