Robert Bailey, Sunday Gleaner Writer
TEN-MAN St George's College captured the ISSA/Gatorade/ Digicel Manning Cup title, after a thrilling 3-1 victory over Charlie Smith High at the National Stadium yesterday.
Davion Kelly scored twice for St George's while Kendon Anderson got the other goal as the North Street-based school played with 10 players for the entire second half. National Under-17 player Romario Jones was ejected on the stroke of half-time, after receiving a second caution.
The speedy and skilful Kelly netted for the 'Light Blues' in the ninth and 68th minutes to bring his tally of goals for the season to 11. Anderson sealed the issue for St George's in the 90th minute. Michealos Martin scored the consolation goal for Charlie Smith in the 52nd minute.
proud of the team
"I am very proud of the team and I am happy for them, thank God," said Neville 'Bertis' Bell, coach of St George's.
"Sometimes you just have to play tough because it is not always going to be smooth and we played really tough today," Bell said.
Bell, who has now won four Manning Cup titles with St George's, added: "It is all about St George's College and not about Neville Bell. It is my fourth title and St George's number 20, and so that is more important to me."
Both teams started the game positively, however it was the Light Blues who struck first when Kelly fired home a powerful right-footed shot past goalkeeper Sulane Powell. St George's went on to dominate the remainder of the period, but faulty shooting from Kelly and Anderson let them down. Anderson came close to doubling the Georgians' lead on 23 minutes, but with Powell at his mercy, he shot wide of the target.
Shortly after, fleet-footed Anderson squandered another easy scoring chance for his team when his point-blank effort went high over the crossbar. Kelly also came close to doubling his team's lead in the 40th minute but after dribbling past two Charlie Smith defenders inside the 18-yard box, his powerful right-footed shot was spectacularly saved by Powell.
best scoring chance
Martin got Charlie Smith's best scoring chance in the first half, but his close-in effort was well saved by custodian Nico Campbell.
Charlie Smith came out firing in the second period and got the equaliser seven minutes into the half when Martin headed past Campbell against the run of play.
The yellow-and-white-clad Charlie Smith only had themselves to blame as they failed to capitalise on a number of clear-cut chances minutes after scoring the equaliser. Kelly stunned the Charlie Smith supporters when he put his team ahead. He outjumped Powell to head the ball into the back of the net.
"Congratulations to the St George's team because they have done extremely well," said Jerome Waite, coach of Charlie Smith. "I think those three goals were soft goals because the concentration of our defensive unit went astray and this is something that we have been doing all season," Waite added.
In the curtain-raiser, Wolmer's Boys secured third spot with a 4-0 win over Jamaica College.