Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
A stone-filled, bumpy and close to grassless playing surface wreaked havoc on a dour 0-0 draw between Group D rivals Calabar and Bridgeport High at Red Hills Road yesterday, as action continued in the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel Manning Cup schoolboy football competition.
The game, a top-of-the-table clash, saw the players struggling to come to terms with control being extremely difficult, passes going awry and players holding back when contemplating challenges.
The result was Calabar's second draw in three games, following a 2-0 win over St Mary's College in their opener and a 1-1 draw with Haile Selassie.
As for Bridgeport, they were dropping their first points of the campaign, having defeated Haile Selassie 6-0 and Innswood 1-0.
"The surface is poor and really affected the way we played here today," said Calabar's coach, Marvin Tate.
"We could not get any rhythm and this frustrated the players. But it is what it is as the school is in no position to upgrade the field.
"In fact, the situation has persisted since last season where I had made it clear that one of the pre-conditions of me returning this season was the field.
"But again the school is not in a position to help and, as such, I have been forced to work with what we have," he added.
Bridgeport's coach, Tyrone Roberts, who saw his charges getting the better of the limited chances that were created throughout the match, also bemoaned the surface, saying that it's anti-football development.
"It's sad when we are trying to develop young players and they have to play on surfaces like these," he said.
"It holds them back and in some instances it's also dangerous.
"But having said that, I thought we could have come away with all three points as we got the better chances."
The group's other matchup between St Mary's College and Innswood at St Mary's College ended 1-1.
Excelsior 2 Norman Manley 1
St Jago 1 JC 2
Calabar 0 Bridgeport 0
St Mary's 1 Innswood 1
Kingston Tech 0 Jose Marti 0
Charlie Smith 14
Ardenne 0 STATHS 0