Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
National junior representatives Jaheel Hyde and Jason Wright netted second-half goals to guide preseason favourites Wolmer's Boys to an exciting come-from-behind 2-1 victory over defending champions St George's College in the quarter-finals of the ISSA/Gatorade/ Digicel Walker Cup Knockout at the Constant Spring Sports Complex yesterday.
In the first quarter-final at the same venue, Kingston College (KC) turned back Charlie Smith High 1-0 with a goal from Dorvil Jackson.
The feature encounter lived up to the pre-game hype as Wolmer's and St George's produced the best football seen from two Corporate Area schoolboy teams this season.
St George's were on top in the first half and got the lead in the 28th minute when Cardel Benbow headed a cross from Kendon Anderson past the Wolmer's goalkeeper Kamal Knight. A shot from Andre Lewis had earlier hit the inside of the right upright and rebounded into play.
Wolmer's hit the ground running in the second half and buried St George's with two goals in three minutes.
Hyde, son of former national senior representative and coach of Red Stripe Premier League team Humble Lion, Lenworth 'Teacher' Hyde, drew his school level in the 50th minute, and before the applause had completely subsided Wright completed the turnaround with a neat finish.
The speedy Hyde eluded his markers inside the 18-yard box to fire home a powerful shot past custodian Nico Campbell, and Wright headed a free kick from Kamario Osbourne past the diving keeper.
a nerve-wracking game
"It was a nerve-wracking game for us," Ludlow Bernard, the Wolmer's coach, said.
"However, I think my players really played for it today because they wanted it badly."
Bernard added: "They wanted to have an edge upon St George's College, who have been their nemesis over the past couple of years, and they were determined to win the game today."
Neville 'Bertis' Bell, the St George's coach, was gracious in defeat.
"Congrats to Wolmer's, I thought they played well," Bell said. "I thought we only started to play when we went down 2-1 ... ."
In the opening game of the double-header, KC were dominant throughout against a listless Charlie Smith and should have won by a larger margin. They will meet Wolmer's in next Tuesday's semi-finals.
KC played the majority of the match without coach Donovan 'DV' Hayles on the bench. The referee sent him to the stands midway the first half after he protested against some of his decisions.
After the game, Hayles had high praise for his players.
"There is still a lot of work to be done, but one has to give credit to our players, who have been working hard throughout the season," he said.
Hayles added: "They didn't have such a great preseason and to come and deliver here in a quarter-finals is really great for us."
Charlie's Smith's coach Jerome Waite agreed that the better team won.
"Charlie Smith played in spurts, which was never going to be enough," he said.
"Last year, we lost to KC at the quarter-final stage of the Walker Cup and we went on to reach the final of the Manning Cup. So we are hoping it will be case of deja vu," he said.
Today's last two Walker Cup quarter-final matches are Excelsior vs Bridgeport at 1 p.m. and Jamaica College vs Spanish Town at 3 p.m. Both will be played at the Constant Spring Sports Complex.