PHC start defence with a victory
PHC 3 Boulevard 1
PHC Zebras got their title defence off to a winning start on an emotional afternoon at PHC Field yesterday.
Playing in honour of the memory of former player Mazhye Burchall, who was killed in a motorcycle accident the previous day, Zebras came from behind to secure maximum points against Boulevard.
Tre Ming led the revival with a brace from two set pieces before fellow midfielder Diondre Dowling converted from the penalty. Boulevard took the lead when Khiry Easton pounced on a defensive blunder.
Scott Morton, the PHC coach, admitted his players were struggling to come to terms with the loss of Burchall.
“These guys have come up together from pee-wee high and they are a brotherhood,” he said. “It has been extremely difficult for all of them.”
Tributes were made to Burchall during a ceremony on the pitch before kick-off, which was attended by players from the late player’s club, Robin Hood.
“It just goes to show that when we are on the field we are competing against one another, but off the field we are all brothers and we have to be our brother’s keeper,” Morton said.
Boulevard went ahead against the run of play after a defensive mix up between Shaquille Trott, the goalkeeper, and defender Rakeem DeShields, leaving Easton with the simple task of slotting home.
Zebras were level within two minutes. PHC won a free kick just outside of the box which Ming thumped into the top right-hand corner.
After the break, Clay Darrell picked out the unmarked Easton but he hesitated to shoot, allowing PHC to recover.
Zebras brought on fresh legs and changed their shape in attack, which paid off as Boulevard failed to make the necessary adjustments. After a period of relentless pressure, Zebras broke through again to go ahead when Ming’s low, free kick nestled into the bottom corner of Ronniko Burchall’s goal.
Dowling then made sure there would be no way back for the visiting side after Jakio Williams, the Boulevard defender, hacked PHC substitute Kenneth Matthie down in the box.
PHC Zebras (4-2-3-1): S Trott — D Smith-Lightbourne, R DeShields, D Usher, K Abraham — D Dowling, O Tucker (sub: K Matthie, 55min), M Warren — Z Lee (sub: J Iris, 55), T Ming (sub: D Davis, 76) — C Robinson. Substitutes not used: M Lambe, D Lodge, K Hypolite, Z Ming-Wilson. Booked: Ming, Lee.
Boulevard (4-4-2): R Burchall — T Butterfield, A Smith (sub: T Stovell, 85), J Williams, N Augustus — A Foggo, T Walker, E Trott, D Taylor — C Darrell (sub: Y Darrell, 88), K Easton (sub: M Smith, 68). Substitutes not used: I Coke, K Smith.
Referee: T Simmons.