Tough wins put JC, St George's in Walker Cup final
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Reigning Manning Cup champions Jamaica College (JC), and St George's College, will meet in this year's final of the ISSA/LIME Walker Cup Knockout competition, following semi-finals wins against Hydel and Charlie Smith, respectively, at the Constant Spring Sports Complex yesterday.
In the opening game, JC, led by goals from former national Under-17 captain Junior Flemmings (38th) and Akeem Shackleford (78th), edged Hydel 2-1. Stephen Barnett scored the consolation goal for Hydel in the 80th minute.
"It feels good because this is my first Walker Cup final," said JC coach Miguel Coley. "But Jamaica College have three titles and so to make it four would be fantastic.
"I am pleased with our performance, but I think in the latter part we didn't manage the time by keeping the ball because we tried to kick it away too much," he added.
In the feature encounter, St George's College, led by a 76th-minute goal from Amoy Brown, beat Charlie Smith 1-0.
Neville 'Bertis' Bell, coach of the 'Light Blues', was delighted with his team's efforts because they had to play very hard to win.
"It was tough because the surface wasn't good for football for both teams and I thought we just played really hard," said Bell.
"I thought we really ran hard and so I am very proud of these youngsters because they have worked hard to win," Bell said.
Charlie Smith's coach, Jerome Waite, was disappointed with his side effort.
"It wasn't one of our better games," said Waite. "They created a chance and made use of it, but we got chances and with more effort we could have scored. But this is a good experience for my team."
Both teams failed to create any meaningful scoring chances in the first half because of the poor playing surface, heavily muddied due to rain and deterioration from the first match.
However, Charlie Smith started the second half very confidently, and though they created a number of clear-cut scoring chances, poor finishing from their attackers let them down.
Bebeto McDonald's powerful shot from 12 yards was pushed behind for a corner by custodian Cordell Irving in the 50th minute, then Kimani Arbouine's clear header on goal sailed over the crossbar.
Despite soaking up most of the pressure from Charlie Smith in the second period, St George's found the winner through Brown, who arrived at the back post to head home a cross from Gregory Messam Jr past goalkeeper Leon Taylor.