Final destination - Cornwall defeat Clarendon 2-1 for first final appearance since 2001
Cornwall College reached their first daCosta Cup final in 15 years when they clipped Clarendon College 2-1 in the ISSA-FLOW semi-final yesterday at St Elizabeth Technical Giovanni Reid and Aiden Jkombo were on target for Cornwall, who had to withstand a late charge from Clarendon, during which time Creggton Charlton managed to score.
Playing without the influence of Peter-Lee Vassell, who later entered the fray as a second-half substitute, and with Jourdaine Fletcher not yet warmed to the occasion, it was left to Reid to provide Cornwall's first threat.
He was first to meet a Fletcher corner-kick, outjumping the Clarendon defenders around him to flash a powerful header into the net in the sixth minute.
But when Charlton, who looked dangerous, particularly in the first half, was allowed to sneak a cross that was drilled into the area to equalise in the 85th minute, many thought the game would again go to the wire.
But then in the 87th minute, the supremely talented Vassell took charge. He darted into the area, drawing the attention of two Clarendon College defenders, and when he was challenged, the ball ran loose to Jkomba, who beat Benjamin Williams in the Clarendon goal.
It was a fine victory for Cornwall as they marked a wonderful campaign without a defeat in the daCosta Cup. They have only lost twice all season, once to Lennon in the Ben Francis Cup and to Wolmer's Boys in the FLOW Super Cup final.
"The match went according to plan except for the Clarendon College late goal, but we showed determination to score late on ourselves to clinch a good win," Dr Dean Weatherly, Cornwall College head coach, said.
It was overall a disappointing display from Clarendon, with little urgency shown in the final third.
They had three attempts on target in the first half, with Charlton coming agonisingly close in the 15th minute. Then in the 31st minute, the Clarendon aggregation had a shout for penalty ignored by referee Danion Parchment, as the ball cannoned off a Cornwall player inside the area.
Clarendon College's team manager, Richard Palmer, attributed the loss partly to referee's decisions, which, he said, never went his team's way.
"We are just disappointed that the penalty was not given. It was plain that the player handled the ball inside the area, but we are happy to have come this far but regret that the journey had to end like this," Palmer said.
Cornwall's opponents in the final will be known this afternoon when defending champions St Elizabeth Technical tackle Lennon High at the Manchester High School ground at 2:30 p.m.