Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Favourites Wolmer's Boys and Jamaica College (JC) scored penalty shoot-out wins over Kingston College (KC) and Excelsior High at Constant Spring Sports Complex yesterday to reach the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel Walker Cup Knockout final.
Goalkeeper Amal Knight came up big for Wolmer's in the feature match as the teams went into penalties after ending full and extra time at 1-1. Kamario Osbourne netted for Wolmer's in the 59th minute and Shamala Ashman scored the equaliser for KC in the 71st minute.
"I was always confident going into the penalty shoot-out," said Knight. I always practice this in training and so I wasn't nervous."
In the opening match of the double-header JC booked their place in the final after 5-4 penalty kicks victory over Excelsior, after both sides had play to a 0-0 draw at full and extra time.
Junior Flemming, Akeno Bailey, Rafique Bryan, Alando Brown and Stefan Logan were the goalscorers for Alfred Henry-coached JC while Tereck Anderson missed for the Excelsior in the shoot-out.
The Leebert Halliman-coached Excelsior had only themselves to blame for their demise, as they missed a penalty in the 90th minute. Substitute Colardo Murray's spot kick was brilliantly saved by JC's custodian Odean Clarke.
Excelsior outplayed JC from the opening whistle but they failed to capitalise on a number of clear-cut chances, as poor finishing from their attackers let them down.
Excelsior were awarded the penalty in the dying moments when the speedy and skilful Brian Richards was brought down inside the 18-yard box by a JC defender. However, Murray's weak penalty was saved by Clarke.
Delroy Brown, assistant coach of JC, was very pleased with his team's efforts.
"It was very tough match for us," said Brown. He added: "I think once it reached to penalties we were always confident because we have never lost in a penalty shoot-out and so weren't too perturbed going into it."
Halliman said: "We outplayed them from start to finish but we just weren't able to capitalise on our chances."
The feature match between Wolmer's and KC lived up to the hype as both teams treated the spectators to some very good attacking football. Both teams battled to 0-0 draw at the end of the first half.
The game gathered momentum at the start of the second period as both teams increased the tempo of their play. Wolmer's struck first when Osbourne arrived at the near post to tap home a right-sided cross from former KC player Jorginho James.
Ashman netted the equaliser for the North Street-based KC with a powerful close-range header past Knight.
Jason Wright, Chaver Brooks and Jordan James were the scorers for Wolmer's in the penalty shoot-out. Akeem Richards was on target for KC but Allan Morgan, Kyle Smith and Tevon Campbell all failed to score their penalties.
"It was really a good game because Kingston College really pushed us to the limit today," Wolmer's coach Ludlow Bernard said. "I think that at the end of the day, the class of our team showed. We were the better team on the day," he said.
Meanwhile, Donovan Hayles, coach of KC, was disappointed but said "it was a very even game".
The second round of the Manning Cup kicks off this afternoon at the same venue. 12:45 p.m: Holy Trinity vs Charlie Smith. 2:45 p.m: St George's vs Camperdown High.