Wed | Aug 16, 2017

St George's seek revenge against Excelsior to secure top spot

Published:Wednesday | October 12, 2016 | 10:00 AMMarc Stamp
Matthew Wilson of St George’s College (right) and Raewin Senior of Excelsior High battle for possession of the ball in their ISSA-FLOW Manning Cup football matchup at Winchester Park Friday, October 7. Excelsior won 1-0. The teams renew battle this afternoon in a fixture that will decide the group winner.

Excelsior High will look to avoid defeat when they face St George's College in an unfinished ISSA/-FLOW Manning Cup Group A football game at Stadium East today. Match time is 3:30 p.m.

The game is a continuation of the abandoned one, following the death of former St George's College captain, Dominic James, on September 20. James collapsed less than five minutes into the contest and was pronounced dead at the University Hospital of the West Indies.

When the announcement of the player's death came, Excelsior were leading 2-1 at the half-time break.

Now, the teams will do battle for 45 minutes in a crucial encounter to decide the group winner.

Excelsior lead on 19 points from seven games, while St George's have 18 points. With one game remaining in the group, a point for Excelsior will cement their spot at the top.

Both teams have already qualified for the Manning Cup second stage, but the battle is also hot for an automatic spot in the prestigious FLOW Super Cup, as well as the Walker Cup KO competition.

With all that at stake it should be a gruelling second half and spectators should brace for a hot contest.

Excelsior defeated St George's 2-1 last Friday in their return match at Winchester Park and the latter is fully aware that only a win can put them in a position to defend the FLOW Super Cup, having won last year.

Excelsior's technical director, Xavier Gilbert, says that his team will be mentally ready for this battle.

"We know the situation, the players are some mature young men and should be able to manage the game. It is a fresh start and teams lose games in a minute," Gilbert told The Gleaner yesterday.

"I'm sure that St George's want some sort of revenge following the loss on Friday, in order to win the group. We have to be mentally ready to defend our slim lead," added Gilbert, a former St George's College cricket star.

Excelsior will rely on senior players such as Thorne Buchanan, Cadine Graham and captain Christopher Thorpe.

The Neville 'Bertis' Bell-coached St George's will certainly be in attack mode as only maximum points today will see them winning the group.

St George's will look to players such as new captain Alex Marshall, Hakim Williams, Ronaldo Watson and former Wolmer's striker Akiki Jackson.

CRUCIAL ENCOUNTER

In another crucial encounter, Jonathan Grant High and Haile Selassie High will meet to decide the winner of Group D.

Haile Selassie are in front on 24 points, ahead of Jonathan Grant (22), St Catherine (17), Ardenne High (10), Meadowbrook (3) and Pembroke Hall, who are yet to score a point.

Haile Selassie, under the guidance of veteran coach Geoffrey Maxwell, have been performing well with eight wins and only one loss. Now, they need a point to top the group.

Jonathan Grant must win today's game in order to march past Haile Selassie and win the group. In the reverse fixture, Haile Selassie edged Jonathan Grant 3-2. Another close and exciting game is expected.

Also, St Jago High and Hydel will square off in a key game in Group G. Bridgeport are the group winners after finishing on 23 points from 10 games, followed by St Jago on 19 points from nine games and Hydel on 16 points from nine games.

That means Hydel and St Jago are battling for second spot in the group. Hydel need to win against St Jago to move into second spot.

Today's games

Excelsior vs St George's College at Stadium East

Norman Manley vs St Mary's College at Norman Manley High

Jonathan Grant vs Haile Selassie at Jonathan Grant High

Edith Dalton James vs Camperdown at Duhaney Park

St Jago vs Hydel at Spanish Town Prison Oval

(All games start at 3:30 p.m.)