Zebras run riot over Colts in the second half
PHC 5 Devonshire Colts 1
PHC bounced back from last weekend’s first loss of the season to Dandy Town with a resounding victory at PHC Stadium that the late Earl “Townsey” Russell would have been proud of.
PHC looked like the Zebras of old in the second half and former stalwart Russell, who watched them regularly up until his death 15 months ago would have been extra proud to see his grandson Antwan Russell and great grandsons Marco Warren and Enrique Russell, account for four of the five goals in the convincing victory.
PHC bounced back from their Dandy Town setback with their biggest victory since their 5-0 and 6-1 wins over Robin Hood and Somerset Eagles respectively, in their first two matches of the season.
“I think we played pretty good today, the hustle was there, the fight was there, it was just a matter of taking our chances, when they did,” said coach Winston Trott Jr.
“That’s probably what’s been lacking the last few games, finishing off the game. Today we finished off our chances well.”
The win enabled PHC to close the gap on idle leaders Town to eight points and open a gap on the teams immediately below them, as there were some postponements this weekend.
“We’ve got to win all our games,” Trott said, referring to the title race which Town are threatening to run away with.
The Zebras took the lead after just seven minutes when a low shot from Warren beat Colts goalkeeper Jaden Mills-Furbert, who appeared to slip as the ball went past him.
Colts almost replied immediately when Jibri Salaam volleyed wide from a good position.
The visitors did level the score midway through the first half when a ball into the box from a free kick on the left side wasn’t cleared and Brandon O’Connor pounced to drive home from close range.
Colts were forced into a change in the 28th minute when forward Robert Urquhart went off injured and was replaced by veteran Aljame Zuill.
There were two defining moments in the game early in the second half, with PHC awarded a penalty in the 49th minute, after Jaheim Iris was knocked over after a run down the left flank was ended by Mike Williams’ challenge. Antwan Russell sent Mills-Furbert the wrong way with his spot kick.
Three minutes later Ray Jones, the Colts coach, was ejected from the bench for foul and abusive language towards the referee Garic Swainson as frustration set in.
PHC, with Warren outstanding in midfield, began to tighten their grip on the game after that, as they dominated the remainder of the game before closing out the win with three goals in the last 17 minutes.
Enrique Russell, on as a substitute in the 63rd minute, put PHC 3-1 up ten minutes later when he drove a low shot into the near post. A minute later he went close to adding a second, his effort coming back off the far post as PHC began to find holes in the Colts’s defence.
Antwan Russell was fouled by Freeman Lema as he went on a run towards goal in the 82nd minute. Lema received a booking before Warren’s free kick beat the defensive wall and left the ‘keeper flat-footed as he watched it go past him.
Then two minutes into stoppage time, substitute Zakiyah Lee closed out the scoring with a good finish at the far post after a run down the right side by defender Daren Usher saw him lay off the perfect cross into the six-yard box for Lee to apply the finishing touches.
PHC: Warren 7, 83; A Russell 9, E Russell 73, Lee 90+2
Dev Colts: O’Connor 24
PHC (4-5-1): Shaquille Trott 6 ‒ D Usher 6, E King-Mills 6, M Lambe 6, D Smith-Lightbourne 6 ‒ D Lodge 6 (sub: Z Ming-Wilson, 86), K Abraham 6, M Warren 7, Shakhai Trott 5 (sub: Z Lee, 60, 6) J Iris 5 (sub: E Russell, 65, 6) ‒ A Russell 6. Substitutes not used: J Eve, K Bean, J Lines, D Dowling.
Devonshire Colts (3-5-2): J Mills-Furbert 5 ‒ M Williams 5, C Minors 5, F Lema 5 ‒ J Paynter 5, B O’Connor 6, J Salaam 6, K Bailey 5 (sub: B Robinson, 60 5), R Smith-Jones 5 ‒ L Symonds 5 (sub: S Thomas, 71), R Urquhart 5 (sub: A Zuill, 28, 5). Substitutes not used: J Tucker, T Axelsen, D Dillas, J Maybury, E Weldon. Booked: Lema. Sent off: Ray Jones (coach)
Referee: G Swainson.