Win puts Camperdown closer to semi-finals
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Camperdown High edged St Jago High 1-0 to maintain pole position in Group K of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup football competition at Spanish Town Prison Oval yesterday.
The Christopher Bender-coached Camperdown team improved their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals courtesy of substitute André McCatty's strike in the 74th minute.
The win pushed Camperdown onto six points from two games ahead of Hydel (four) as the teams battling for group honours. St Jago are on one point and KC are without a point with one round remaining.
Camperdown were prevented from playing their usual slick passing game by the St Jago team.
St Jago's goalkeeper Warston Pennant kept his team in the game with some fine saves.
However, with the introduction of McCatty and national Under-17 representative Tahjae Brown in the second half, Camperdown looked better.
St Jago relied on long passes instead of combinations and turned over the ball regularly to the Camperdown team.
Bender was satisfied with the three points that pushed his team closer to a spot in the last four of the Manning Cup.
"We played in moments rather than the usual flow. The St Jago team was playing the ball long, so we had to adjust with some changes to the team," Bender told The Gleaner. "It was important to win the game today (yesterday)."
Looking ahead to the next game, which will be the decider, Bender said: "It will be a game to qualify, it will be the crunch game."
The coach of St Jago, Glen 'Bobby Reds' Laing, said his team played with a strategy that worked for the most part.
"We went in with a strategy to get the ball beyond the Camperdown defenders. The goal was a blunder in the closing minutes," Laing said.
"Now, we will look forward to the next game as the intention is to win although we are out of contention," he added.
In the opening game of the double-header, Hydel kept their hopes alive with a 2-0 win against Kingston College (KC).
Stephen Barnett sent Hydel into the lead in the second minute and national Under-17 attacker Nicholas got the other goal in the 22nd minute.
Hydel's coach, Donovan 'DV' Hayles, was happy for the win.
"The ultimate thing today (yesterday) was three points. And we did the job. They (KC) pushed us to the limit. I was looking for at least one more goal," said Hayles, who was relieved of his duties as coach at KC last season.
The coach is now looking forward to the next game against Camperdown.
"It will be like a final," he said.