PHC Zebras got back to winning ways with a dominant display over Somerset Trojans at PHC Field yesterday.
Rakeem DeShields, returning to the side from suspension having missed his team’s defeat to Trojans in the Dudley Eve Trophy semi-final four days earlier, put the home side ahead with a glancing header.
Kushae Hypolite doubled PHC’s advantage early in the second half before Marco Warren’s superb half volley made the points safe.
Somerset pulled a goal back when captain Coolidge Durham headed in a consolation from a set piece. The win keeps PHC two points adrift of league leaders X-Roads while winless Trojans remain anchored at the bottom of the table with one point from seven matches.
“I thought the performance was excellent,” Scott Morton, the PHC coach, said. “The players carried out the instructions, were able to play collectively and did the things we do in training.”
Morton said his players had a score to settle with Trojans, who are the only team to beat PHC so far this season, albeit in a penalty shoot-out.
“It’s a good thing and a bad thing, meaning they’re so used to winning they want it so much. When the game gets a bit tight, like it did the other night, we end up chasing the game when they should just stay composed and believe in the things they’re doing.”
PHC went straight for Somerset’s jugular from the outset, with the front trio of Kenneth Matthie, Hypolite and Jahiem Iris wreaking havoc with their movement.
The home side pinned their opponents in their own half for long spells and went close when Durham cleared away Iris’s goal-bound effort after some excellent link-up play between Marquel Waldron and Warren.
PHC’s relentless pressure eventually told when DeShields made the breakthrough. Midfielder Samario Valasse-Paul whipped in a corner, which defender DeShields headed inside of Shaquille Bean’s far post.
Somerset had the ball in the net against the run of play but Khyree Hollis’s effort was ruled offside.
The visiting side played the final two minutes of the first half a man short after midfielder Stafari Burrows suffered a cut above his right eye during a challenge. He was treated for his wound but unable to continue because of impaired vision and was replaced by Darren Minors at the start of the second half.
It came as no real surprise when Hypolite extended the home side’s lead after linking up with his brother Matthie.
Matthie broke away down the right side and after drawing Bean off his line, squared the ball to sibling Hypolite who finished from close range.
Iris should have got his name on the scoresheet after being played through by Waldron’s defence-splitting pass but rolled his effort inches wide. But Trojans would not be as fortunate moments later when Warren put the match beyond reach. Waldron unleashed a shot from an angle, which Bean was unable to hold onto, and Warren drilled the loose ball into the net with authority.
Trojans eventually scored when PHC switched off during a set piece. Damon Swan chipped a free kick where the wide-open Durham headed home.
PHC Zebras (4-3-3): S Trott — D Smith-Lightbourne, R DeShields, M Lambe, D Usher (sub: Z Ming-Wilson, 76min) — M Waldron (sub: M Simmons, 69), M Warren, S Valasse-Paul — J Iris, K Matthie (sub: Z Lee, 62), K Hypolite. Substitutes not used: T Place, D Dowling, Shakhai Trott.
Somerset Trojans (4-2-3-1): S Bean — H Butterfield, T Ming, C Durham, J Ratteray-Smith — D Swan, S Burrows (sub: D Minors, 46), A Trott (sub: T Smith, 65), D Zuill (sub: A Seaman, 59), K Hollis — V Perinchief. Substitutes not used: D Lister.
Referee: A Francis.