Coaches left frustrated with a point apiece
PHC Zebras 2 Devonshire Colts 2
Neither head coach was left content after PHC Zebras and Devonshire Colts played out a hard-fought draw at PHC Field yesterday.
Both PHC’s Winston Trott and Colts’ Ray Jones had reason to bemoan a first point of the Premier Division campaign after watching their sides fail to capitalise on respective periods of dominance in either half.
Colts took a deserved first-half lead through Razhir Smith-Jones only for PHC to respond after the interval as substitute Enrique Russell marked his introduction in spectacular fashion with a brace, the second coming eight minutes from time, to put his side in sight of victory.
However, it was not to be as Colts showed their character with substitute Laquan Thomas’s brilliantly taken volley snatching a late point.
“I think a draw was probably a fair result by the way the game panned out,” Jones said. “I’m a little disappointed we didn’t capitalise on our dominance in the first half and add to our advantage with a second goal.
“I think a second goal at that stage would have knocked them back a bit, but as long as it was 1-1 we gave them a chance and that’s exactly what happened.
“However, I’m pleased with the character of the players to not give up and come back to equalise and find a way to pick up a point on the road.
“Overall, I can’t be too disappointed with the squad. Getting that first point back in this division is massive, and we can build on that moving forward.”
Despite his disappointment, Trott conceded patience is needed with his side still in a transitional period after a summer of much change in which nine players departed, including key figures Cecoy Robinson and Tre Ming.
“I definitely feel we should have taken all three points, but you’ve got to score your chances,” he said. “We are definitely in a period of transition and we are just trying to get things up and running.
“It’s a process we have to go through. We have a lot of young players who have shown some encouraging signs.
“We are still tweaking things and that process will take a little time. I believe we are on the right track but we just need that victory to build some confidence.”
Colts started brightly and deservedly broke the deadlock in the eighth minute. Chemarl Henry did brilliantly to beat his marker down the left-hand side before being denied by Shaquille Trott, who could only watch on as his parried save fell kindly for Smith-Jones to simply tap the ball into the empty net.
While Colts enjoyed the majority of possession, it was PHC who created the clearer chances throughout the first half, with Keitaro Darrell in fine form to preserve his side’s advantage.
The goalkeeper was at his very best on the half-hour mark to deny Joshua Joseph not once, but twice with an eye-catching, double save from close range, before his defence managed to scramble the ball away.
Having held firm to the interval, Colts came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage as Jaquari Paynter’s stinging long-rang effort beat goalkeeper Trott but not Darren Usher, who was in the right place at the right time to head the effort off the line.
From that point on, PHC seized control of the game and, after Keishon Bean clipped the crossbar, they found themselves level in the 71st minute. A defensive mix-up presented Bean the ball on the right-hand side and he took advantage to slip the ball across the box to an unmarked Russell to tap in.
As well as Russell, the introduction of fellow substitutes Cory Booth and Jared Lines rejuvenated PHC, giving them a clear threat on either wing as well as greater ball retention.
Having dominated much of the half, Zebras took the lead with just eight minutes remaining as Russell beat Darrell from close range, finishing off another move down the right.
However, with a first victory of the season seemingly all but assured, Colts rallied late on and Thomas kept his composure to fire a controlled left-foot volley past Trott to claim a point.
PHC Zebras: Russell 71, 82
Devonshire Colts: Smith-Jones 8, Thomas 88
PHC Zebras (4-2-3-1): S Trott — M Lambe, M Joell (sub: J Lines, 67min), D Smith-Lightbourne, N Griffith — M Warren, D Usher — K Bean, S Trott, J Joseph (sub: C Booth, 72) — K Hypolite (sub: E Russell, 55). Substitutes not used: C Fubler, Z Lee, O Tucker, J Sealey. Booked: Hypolite, Joell, Lambe.
Devonshire Colts (4-3-3): K Darrell — C Trott, K Cann (sub: C Crichlow, 72), N Raynor (sub: L Thomas, 46), J Samuels — J Burgess, J Salaam, C Henry— R Smith-Jones (sub: T Eve, 20), R Jones, J Paynter. Substitutes not used: B O’Connor, J Eve, T Axelsen, J Francis, F Lima. Booked: Lima, Burgess, Salaam, Samuels, R Jones (coach).
Referee: T Simons.
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