Young Men’s Social Club 0 PHC Zebras 7
Idrees Sharrieff and Marco Warren scored the first two and last two goals as PHC wrapped up the league title with an emphatic victory at Police Field yesterday.
It was always a question of what margin PHC would win by after going into the match against the bottom team needing only a draw to make certain of a tenth league title. PHC beat Social Club 7-1 in their previous meeting back in December.
The Zebras were well on their way when, from their first corner of the match they took the lead through in the third minute. A shot from Dunte Albouy was turned around the post for a corner by goalkeeper Reid Trott, and from Cecoy Robinson’s cross on the right Sharrieff found the net with a header that dropped under the crossbar at the near post.
Sharrieff set up the second goal seven minutes later for Warren to open his account. Warren connected with Sharrieff’s ball into the box and then leapt higher than a defender to head over Trott. Social Club, who managed just a couple of draws in their first season back in the top flight in 37 years, suffered another setback in the 16th minute when midfielder Giovanni Saltus was shown a straight red card for using foul language towards referee Garic Swainson.
“It’s easy sometimes to think you are playing one of the easier teams in the league when you look at their record, but you never take anything for granted,” coach Scott Morton stressed afterwards as the celebrations continued.
“It was important to keep the players focused, which was challenging at times. Sometimes fans might say it was a foregone conclusion but I never looked at it like that. My job is to make sure they stayed humble and stayed hungry.”
To their credit Social Club continued to battle on despite now being a man short, threatening on occasion through front pair Clay Darrell and Saki Tuzo, who had his own problems in the game, twice going down with injuries that needed treatment, as Daniel Morgan, the PHC physio, twice came on to assist the injured player.
Robinson went close to scoring late in the first half when Sharrieff’s pass put him through before he raced towards the edge of the box and put his low shot just wide. Robinson returned the favour early in the second half when his ball into the box was met by Sharrieff whose first time shot hit the crossbar at the near post.
Then a volley by Robinson from 20 yards was tipped over the bar by Trott as PHC tried to cushion their lead. Social Club’s resistance was finally broken midway through the second half, Robinson’s goal from close range finally opening up the floodgates as PHC’s last five goals came in the final 27 minutes.
A run down the left side by Warren saw sub Zakiyah Lee’s shot from the cross tipped over for a corner by ‘keeper Trott. For the second time in the match PHC scored a header from a corner, this time substitute Keishon Bean provided the cross and the unmarked Na’eem Griffith sent a firm header into the back of the net.
PHC scored again from a move down the left by Warren, whose cross inside the six-yard box was missed by Kenneth Matthie before Bean connected at the far post to sidefoot home.
Warren and Sharrieff closed out the scoring in the dying minutes with their second goals of the match. A penalty was awarded for a handball and Warren, wearing the captain’s armband after Cecoy Robinson was substituted a few minutes earlier, stepped up to take the penalty in Robinson’s absence and comfortably scored to Trott’s right.
Sharrieff closed out the scoring two minutes into stoppage time when he raced through the middle and lobbed the ball over Trott who was caught off his line.
The win enabled PHC to finish three points ahead of Robin Hood on 42 points, one more than the two finished with last season when Hood took the title on goal difference.
“It was nice to have the fans back out, we are actually playing good football and giving them something to watch,” said captain Robinson whose substitution enabled youngster Matthie to play the final twelve minutes before the trophy was presented to the new champions by Premier David Burt.
“Hopefully we can continue this, we have a lot of youngsters coming through who are just 16 or 17,” Robinson added. “One player [Zakiyah Lee] had his first game today and it is just a matter of keeping their heads right and hopefully we can keep it going. The future is very bright.” SCORERS
Sharrieff 3, 90+2, Warren 10, 84 (pen), Robinson 65, Griffith 74, Bean 79
YMSC: R Trott — C Woolridge, M Smith (sub: J Simmons, 27min), A Samuels, M Parsons, N Armstrong (sub: K Butterfield, 71), K Arruda, G Saltus, J Lewis-Trott, C Darrell, S Tuzo (sub: J Outerbridge, 78). Booked: Tuzo, Butterfield, Woolridge. Sent off: Saltus.
PHC: S Trott — D Usher, N Griffith, M Waldron, K Abraham, J Hassell (sub: K Bean, 56), J Iris, M Warren, I Sharrieff, D Albouy (sub: Z Lee, 68min), C Robinson (sub: K Matthie, 78). Substitutes not used: Q Hunt, C Castle, K Hypolite, Z Ming-Wilson.
Referee: G Swainson