Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
St George's College striker Zhelano Barnes scored a hat-trick to lead the defending champions to a 6-0 victory over Denham Town in their Group C encounter of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Gatorade/Digicel Manning Cup competition at Winchester Park yesterday.
Barnes, who made the switch from Excelsior to St George's at the start of the season, scored in the 12th and 31st minutes to help his team to a 3-0 half-time lead. Barnes, who is a national Under-20 representative, completed his hat-trick when he beat goalkeeper Nakeem Kirkpatrick from close range in the 64th minute.
National Under-20 representative Cardel Benbow scored the Georgians opening goal in the sixth minute. Andre Lewis (55th) and substitute Oshane Boothe (70th) were the other goalscorers for the Neville 'Bertis' Bell-coached St George's.
In the group's other game, Hydel blanked Dunoon 2-0, while Cumberland and Clan Cathy played to a 1-1 draw.
The Georgians lead the group with 17 points, two ahead of Hydel, who remain in second place on 15.
"I thought we played well for most of the game," said Bell. "However, there were times when we relaxed too much and we gave Denham Town too much of the ball, but overall I am impressed."
Bell added: "We scored six goals, we wanted to win and got three points, and we are happy for that."
Meanwhile, Desmond Francis, coach of Denham Town, said: "I think that my team didn't carry out the plan. We were not marking in the midfield and we also backed off and give St George's the pace and they made use of it."
The speedy and skilful Benbow gave the champions a dream start, when he arrived at the back post to tap home a cross from Davion Montaque.
Barnes netted the 'Light Blues' second goal six minutes later, when he fired home a powerful left-footed shot past Brown, who was well beaten at his near post.
Barnes, who displayed a lot of clever dribbling skills and swift off-the-ball movements, made it 3-0 before the break, when he eluded three defenders in the 18-yard box to slot the ball home ahead of Brown, who was advancing out of his goal.
Greater Portmore 2 Campion 0
Penwood 1 Norman Manley 2
St George's 6 Denham Town 0
Dunoon 0 Hydel 2
Cumberland 1 Clan Carthy 1
Spanish Town 2 Holy Trinity 1
Jonathan Grant vs Ascot