Paul Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
A stubborn defensive display, backed up by a cool finish from Romario Clarke, gifted St James High their first win of the 2012 ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel daCosta Cup rural area schoolboy football competition at the Montego Bay Stadium at Catherine Hall, defeating Cornwall College 1-0 in a pulsating Zone A fixture.
Clarke found room inside the area to slot the ball into an open net at the 88th minute - with Cornwall's goalkeeper Chevoy Lewis well beaten - scoring to secure a win that left the zone wide open after the first two rounds, with Green Pond holding the lead on goal difference over St James.
In a matchup that brought out the best in both keepers, Cornwall had better chances to break the deadlock, none moreso that in the 12th minute when Ricardo Wilson's shot from inside the area was blocked on its way to goal, with the goalkeeper out of position.
St James, with more vociferous support, started the game tentatively but slowly got into the groove with their midfield play sparking a number of opportunities - especially in the first half - with Chevoy Watkin and Olanzo Osbourne threatening.
Wicked free kick
However, it was a set piece that help to break the deadlock when Watkin slammed a wicked free kick from the half line that had the back-pedalling Levanno Lewis in the Cornwall goal counting his lucky stars, as the ball skimmed the crossbar.
The excitement did not end there as both schools attacked at will.
Alex McFarlane should have at least forced a save from the St James goalkeeper, but his shot flew over the crossbar.
Then in the 80th, Cornwall College mounted an attack from midfield with the dangerous-looking Demarco Fowler waltzing through St James' defence, before unleashing a thunderous right-footed shot that barely missed the right post.
Late in the match, Cornwall pushed forward, but they were stopped in their tracks time and again by the St James defence.