Soccer

Butterfield wants clean sheet against Zebras

  • PHC Zebras will hope to turn the tables after losing to Cougars in the Dudley Eve Trophy final last season (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Devonshire Cougars and PHC Zebras will lock horns in the Dudley Eve Trophy final for the second straight season tomorrow at Somerset Cricket Club.

Cougars are the defending champions, having edged PHC 1-0 in last season’s final on their home turf at Devonshire Recreation Club.

However, they will be the underdogs against a Zebras side who are unbeaten in all competitions this term and are appearing in the final for a third consecutive year.

Scott Morton’s team may have the psychological advantage, having beaten Cougars 2-0 in their opening group match in September — the only previous meeting between the clubs this season.

PHC possess the most explosive attack in domestic football. They have scored 32 goals in all competitions — twice as many as Cougars. However, Cougars and Zebras are more evenly matched defensively.

“PHC pose a big threat, scoring-wise,” Omar Butterfield, the Cougars coach, said. “But as long as we do what we have to do, we should be all right.

“No disrespect to other teams, but they leave themselves open and if you give PHC that they will punish you — and we’re not trying to be punished.

“Our defence is definitely one of the stronger parts of the team and every game we go out and try and keep a clean sheet.”

Cougars will be at full strength for their fourth cup final showdown with Zebras in two seasons.

“Everyone is healthy and we are full of confidence,” Butterfield said. “We have had a good week of training and are just looking to carry that into the game.”

Morton played down his team’s win over Cougars in the group stage and cautioned his players not to take anything for granted against the holders.

“That was in the early stages and Cougars have made huge strides as far as the way they play and are improving as a team,” he said.

“We [can’t] take anything from that, just have to take the match on the day and assess situations. The main thing is to entertain the fans.

“As footballers, we have to remember we come to entertain the fans; that’s why they pay money to come out. They don’t come out to be bored.

“For us it’s carrying on what has got us to this position and how can we improve it because every game is about improvement.”

Kick-off is at 2.30pm.