Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Former champions Excelsior High sealed their spot in the quarterfinals of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Associations (ISSA)/Gatorade/Digicel Walker Cup Knockout competition, after registering an exciting 4-3 victory over Penwood High in Manning Cup Group A at the Cling Cling Oval yesterday.
The Leebert Halliman-coached Excelsior were led to their victory courtesy of double strikes from Kareem Banton (12th and 59th) and Brian Richards (36th and 51st). Clifford Shaw (33rd and 47th) and Kerron Thomas (35th) were the scorers for Penwood.
In the group's other game, Norman Manley High thrashed Campion College 10-0.
Excelsior won the group, after amassing 19 points, two ahead of Norman Manley. They are followed by Penwood (12), Greater Portmore (eight) and Campion College (one).
Halliman said he was pleased with his team's performance and they are now looking forward to the Walker Cup competition.
"I think the boys played well despite the wet conditions," said Halliman.
"They showed a lot of guts and determination even when we went behind in the game, and so, I must lift my hat off to them."
Halliman added: "We are a young team because we have lost a number of players to the transfer market and we are now going to prepare ourselves for the Walker Cup competition."
Banton stunned the home team when he netted Excelsior's opening with a powerful long-range effort, which went through hands of goalkeeper Demoy Simms. However, Shaw got the equaliser for Penwood with a powerful point blank header past custodian Ryan Jackson.
Thomas put Penwood in the lead two minutes later with a torrid 30-yard shot which went like a rocket past Jackson. However, the speedy and skilful Richards brought Excelsior level a minute later, with a powerful header. The game was tied at 2-2 at half time.
The lanky Shaw sent Penwood ahead two minutes into the second stanza when he netted from close range but Richards and Banton hit back with crucial goals in the second period to wrap up the victory for Excelsior.
Norman Manley 10 Campion 0
Penwood 3 Excelsior 4
St Jago 4 Waterford 1
Jamaica College 3 Mona 0
Donald Quarrie 4 St Andrew College 1
Jose Marti 0 Wolmer's Boys 0
Oberlin 2 Kingston Technical 3
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