XLCR, Vauxhall score important wins
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Former champions Excelsior kicked off their second-round campaign in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup competition with a 3-1 victory over Denham Town at the Constant Spring Sports Complex yesterday.
Excelsior were led to victory courtesy of a double from their captain Christopher Thorpe, who scored in the 43rd and 84th minutes. Samuel Halliman also scored for the Leebert Halliman-coached Excelsior in the 59th minute. Junior McGregor netted Denham Town's lone goal in the 57th minute.
Excelsior is now atop the table in Group J on goal difference with three points, ahead of defending champions Jamaica College. Excelsior holds a two plus goal difference lead over their opponents.
They are followed by Holy Trinity and Denham Town, who are yet to secure a point in the second round.
In the second match of the double-header, in Group I, Vauxhall came from two goals down in the second half, to register to a 3-2 victory over Norman Manley.
Vauxhall has Junior Lywood to thank after he netted in the 74nd and 76th minutes. Jordan Baston scored the third goal for the Keon Broderick-coached Vauxhall in the 81st.
Saquille Lewis netted both goals Norman Manley in the 5th and 74th minutes. The victory moved Vauxhall to the top of the group with three points ahead of Charlie Smith and Innswood who are both on one point each followed by Norman Manley (0).
Broderick said he was very delighted with his team's efforts.
"It was a tough one for us, but these are the games that pulled teams together because it was excellent performance from us to come from two goals down and win the game," said Broderick.
In the feature encounter, Excelsior dominated the early exchanges, creating several clear-cut chances but poor finishing from their attackers let them down.
However, Denham Town's resistance was finally broken when Excelsior was awarded a penalty in the 43rd minute after Romario Brown was brought down inside the penalty box by goalkeeper Sanijo Salkie.
Thorpe then fired home from the spot kick to give Excelsior a 1-0 lead at half-time. McGregor pulled Denham Town level twelve minutes into the second half, when he headed home a corner kick from Tarrique Campbell.
Halliman, however, restored Excelsior's lead two minutes later, when a powerful left-footed strike from 20-yards flew past Salkie against the run of play.
The fleet-footed Thorpe returned to seal the victory for his team, six minutes from time when he collected a pass out of midfield from Cadine Graham then dribbled around three defenders, to fire past Salkie who was advancing off his goal line.
"It is a good way to start the second round," said Halliman. "We had to get rid of the indiscipline people and tried to build team spirit and unity so today we didn't have stars but those who want to play for Excelsior did the job for us."