Manchester step closer to history
Manchester High School moved a step closer towards winning their first-ever piece of schoolboy football silverware at this level after marching into the semi-finals of the ISSA Ben Francis Knockout Cup with a 2-1 victory over Frome Technical High School at the St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) Sports Complex yesterday.
Manchester took the lead four minutes into the second half through Dane Golding, with Janoi Simpson doubling their lead in the 60th minute.
Frome pulled one back with five minutes to go through Jevoy Harvey, but Manchester held on to secure their place in the semi-finals.
Vassell Reynolds, who is in his first season in charge of the Mandeville-based school, said he is proud of his boys’ response after their daCosta Cup disappointment.
“What we did today was good as we gave ourselves an opportunity to play in the semi-finals of a competition. As you know, when you’re in a semi-finals, anything can happen,” said Reynolds, who, of course, recently won titles at Wolmer’s and Rusea’s, respectively.
“I have to say kudos to the youngsters because we were very disappointed after getting knocked out of the daCosta Cup, and it was very difficult to motivate them. Overall, I think it was a workmanlike performance, and I’m happy to come away with the result. We just have to go back now, work on the mind, and get them to be positive for the semi-finals,” Reynolds added.
Manchester are known to have had quality teams in recent years but have always fallen short of a title-winning campaign at the quarterfinal group stage of the daCosta Cup.
However, with the new format that sees teams that finish second and third in the quarterfinal group having a shot at the Ben Francis Cup, the boys from the heart of Mandeville have their sights set on winning theirs and the parish’s first national senior schoolboy football title.
Reynolds, who is looking to repeat a title win in his first season as he did in 2017 when he won the daCosta Cup with Rusea’s, said he is hoping yesterday’s win will get the boys into the right frame of mind to create history for the school.
“From a coach’s point of view, I’m more than motivated, however, it’s about the players who will be on the pitch. I think after this victory, they would have recognised how close they are to a title. One thing that we are always saying and reminding them is that the school has never won a schoolboy football title. Hopefully, it will be enough to motivate them to come out and give of their best in the semi-finals,” Reynolds said.