Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Excelsior High secured their spot in the second round of the Inter-Secondary Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Gatorade/Digicel Manning Cup football competition, after an impressive 4-0 victory over Greater Portmore in their Group A encounter at Courtney Walsh Oval, Excensior High, yesterday.
In the day's other game, defending champions St George's College - led by a four-timer from Romario Jones - thrashed Cumberland 10-0.
The Lebert Halliman-coached Excelsior were led to victory courtesy of a double from Delonte Pottinger, who netted in the 19th and 81st minutes. Brian Richards (44th) and Romaine Hosang (55th) were the other scorers.
Victory moved Excelsior to the top of the table with 16 points, with one round of matches remaining in the group. They are followed by Norman Manley (14), Penwood (12), Greater Portmore (eight) and Campion (one).
"I think that we did what we had to do, which is to score and win the game," said Halliman. "Hats off to the boys because after losing so many players by the transfer market I have to commend them."
Halliman added: "It affected them mentally and so we had to prepare and keep them focused, and I think they have done a good job so far this season."
Excelsior dominated the early exchanges, but they were kept at bay due to excellent goalkeeping from Greater Portmore's custodian Roman Carter, who made a number of brilliant saves to deny the opposing attackers.
However, Excelsior were finally rewarded for their dominance when Pottinger arrived at the near post to tap home a well-measured cross from Kurtis Christie. Richards sent his team further ahead on the stroke of half-time, when he scored a headed goal from close range.
Hosang wrapped up the victory for Excelsior 10 minutes into the second stanza, when he outjumped Carter to head home the ball.
Floyd Coke, coach of Greater Portmore, who are now out of the running for a place in the second round, said: "It was a good season because this is a team with average age 15 years old."
Coke added: "We are only going to lose two players this year and we are looking forward to some good things next season."
Campion 1 Penwood 3
Excelsior Greater 4 Portmore 0
Cumberland 0 St George's 10
Clan Carthy 0 Hydel 8
Calabar 7 Innswood 0
Tivoli1 Bridgeport 3
St Mary's College 2 Haile Selassie 2
Group E (home teams named first)
St Catherine vs Trench Town
Jonathan Grant vs Spanish Town
Matches start at 3:30 p.m.