STETHS reach fifth straight daCosta final
St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) hurdled a tricky semi-final matchup at Manchester High yesterday to oust Lennon High 2-1 and book a spot in the final of the ISSA-FLOW daCosta Cup against Cornwall College on Saturday, December 3.
The Santa Cruz-based STETHS made sure they took the time to exact some amount of revenge against a Lennon side that pipped them to the Ben Francis Knockout title a week ago.
A goal in each half, the first from Tahjae Palmer in the sixth minute and a 78th-minute strike by Nickalous Gayle, fired the defending champions to the win. Ray Campbell was on target for Lennon in the 43rd minute as the teams went into the half-time break at 1-1.
It was a predominantly midfield-dominated game, with Lennon's Kwesi Watts having a good game on the right.
Demar James, the STETHS striker was busy, having four shots at goal, but none managed to beat Tyrone Mullings in the Lennon goal. However, when James was brought down 30 yards out, a Rujay Robinson free kick was blocked by Mullings into the path of Palmer, who tucked it away for the opening goal.
Lennon found the equaliser when Campbell spotted STETHS goalkeeper Kenroy Wallace off his line and he applied a clinical finish from 30 yards, lobbing the back-pedalling custodian two minutes before the half-time break.
After the break, Christopher Randall was within a whisker of scoring a second goal for Lennon, but his header floated over the crossbar off a right-sided free kick.
DEFENSIVE SECOND HALF
Sensing the possibility of the game going into extra time, neither team provided much adventure in the second half. Both were content to sit back and pounce on the counter-attack.
On one such counter-attacking move, Gayle was sent clear and his shot gave Mullings no chance. STETHS then held the lead for the final 12 minutes to reach a fifth straight daCosta Cup final.
"I cannot complain. Today, we showed the mettle of true champions. It was a given that Lennon would come at us, but once our players played to the plan, it was hard to get the better of us," said a clearly delighted Wendell Downswell, STETHS' technical director.
"These players are a good bunch, an excellent set of youngsters. Now they can reward themselves by retaining the daCosta Cup title," he added.
In contrast, Lennon's skipper Fitzroy Cummings and several of his teammates slumped over in tears in the driving rain at the end of the game. He said it was a big loss as he wanted the win to reach the final in what is to be his final chance of lifting rural area's schoolboy football biggest title.
Lennon's assistant coach Sheldon Lennon labelled the season as successful even though they failed to advance to the final.
"Yes, we wanted it really badly, but there can only be one winner, and STETHS had the better of us today although we dominated possession. It was an excellent effort here, but we still have the Ben Francis Cup," Coach Lennon stated.