Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
Excelsior dropped their first points of the season when they played to an absorbing 0-0 draw with Charlie Smith in their Group C Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Pepsi/ Digicel Manning Cup urban area senior schoolboy football match yesterday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
Excelsior had their custodian Jonah Morgan to thank for keeping their unbeaten record intact, as he denied Charlie Smith's captain Kemar Brown from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time. Charlie Smith were awarded a penalty after Morgan had brought down Javoni Simms in the area, but he then pulled off a smart save to his left to redeem himself.
"It feels good because I made an error and I redeemed myself with that save," said Morgan. "I was saying maybe this will score because I let my team down, but I had confidence in myself and I did my best and saved it," he added.
Jerome Waite, coach of Charlie Smith, believed his team should have capitalised on penalty opportunity and emerge winners.
Waite said: "We should have won this game with that penalty. I think Excelsior gave a spirited performance but I am not pleased with the end result."
Although playing away from home, Excelsior started out the more positive of the two teams and came close to opening the scoring in the 26th minute when Brian Richards relayed a pass to Kevin Blackwood on the edge of the area. Blackwood's shot was blocked off the line by Charlie Smith's imposing defender, Al Nesbeth.
Excelsior carved out another glorious opportunity in the 39th minute when substitute Juvanne Benjamin was played through on goal by Brian Richards, but with only the keeper to beat he placed his shot high.
Daniel Riley, assistant coach of Excelsior, said his team was at its best and was grateful for the point.
"We always go for the win but a point is good and we are still in the lead," Riley said. "The approach of the players today could have been more serious, but it is schoolboy football and sometimes on the road you get these types of games from the players, but overall we give thanks for the point," he added.
Excelsior remain clear out front in the group on 19 points from seven games, while Charlie Smith (10) are fourth. Innswood moved to 16 points after clipping sixth-place St Andrew College (one) 2-1. Third-place Calabar scored the biggest win in the group to date, a 13-0 trashing of pointless Papine. Kingston Technical, who were idle, lie sixth on seven points.
Group A: Oberlin 1 Waterford 5; St Mary's College vs Camperdown (no referee showed)
Group C: St Andrew College 1 Innswood 2; Charlie Smith 0 Excelsior 0; Papine 0 Calabar 13
Group E: St Jago 0 Wolmer's Boys 2; St George's 2 Donald Quarrie 0; Spanish Town 1 Ardenne 0
Group B: Jose Marti vs Dunoon Technical; Bridgeport vs Tivoli; Vauxhall vs Ascot
Group C: Norman Manley vs STATHS; Mona vs Meadowbrook; Penwood vs Pembroke Hall
Group F: Tarrant vs KC; St Catherine vs Eltham; Campion vs Jonathan Grant