STETHS ride luck into semi-finals
Petersfield's dream run in this year's Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME daCosta Cup competition ended in a tough loss.
Donjay Smith scored the all-important goal to guide defending champions St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) to a 1-0 win at their Santa Cruz home field yesterday and a place in the semi-finals.
It is the sixth-straight semi-finals appearance for STETHS, and they join Clarendon College, Glenmuir and Dinthill Technical in the next round.
Clarendon tagged Frome Technical 3-1 at Juici Field to top Zone R on nine points, while Glenmuir edged Old Harbour 1-0 in their encounter at the Jamalco Sports Ground, also for their ninth point of the round.
Dinthill made sure of their passage with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Kemps Hill; while Cornwall College ended the season, as well as they began with a 3-0 win over Lacovia in the first match of the Jarrett Park double-header, where St James also defeated Cedric Titus 2-1.
Smith was scoring his 21st goal in all competitions - his 18th of the daCosta Cup, to keep the Omar Wedderburn-coached school in the hunt for a repeat of last year's success.
Needing only a draw to advance, Petersfield came the closest in the opening exchanges. Lushain Esson flashed his effort just over the crossbar in the 17th minute, after being released by Melvin McKenzie.
Moments later, they came close again to scoring, but that chance was squandered and STETHS began to take control of the midfield through Chris-Andrew Dixon and Smith, who looked lively upfront from early.
Just when it seemed the visiting Petersfield had done enough to go into the half-time break on level terms, Smith went on a dribble that took him past three defenders before he was brought down inside the area, for the referee to point to the spot.
Up stepped the striker to bury his spot kick, beating Petersfield goalie Akeen Brown to his right for the lead in the 31st minute.
It was an even more impressive second-half display from STETHS, who apparently responded to the half-time talk by coach Wedderburn.
They were all over Petersfield in a five-minute spell that could have brought them at least three more goals, but the strong defending from the Petersfield back four made the work that much more difficult for STETHS, and in the end one goal did the job.
"I am very happy to have scored to give my school this win; we are back in the semi-finals and it's a great feeling," Smith told The Gleaner.
"It was a tough game, as Petersfield played hard all game, but as champions we feel very proud to have come back in the semis," an elated Smith added.
Deflated Petersfield coach Delroy Delliser heaped praise on the reigning champions, telling reporters his team gave all they could, but champions always find a way out. He promised to return just as focused next year.