Paul Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) eased into the final of the Ben Francis Knockout with a 2-0 victory over Paul Bogle at Santa Cruz yesterday and will meet Grange Hill High who came from behind to stop Manchester High 2-1 in Montego Bay.
Jason Jacobs scored the opener in the 26th minute for the defending champions and Rohan Lindsay made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute for the Omar Wedderbourne-coached STETHS.
It was clearly not the Paul Bogle High many have heard about which turned up yesterday, as they lacked quality in a crowded midfield marshalled by STETHS' Danjay Smith, Rodney Witter and Lindsay with Khesanio Hall always a danger up front.
"We never showed up today. Our midfield did not play as well as we would have liked and in the end it cost us," Richard Williams, the Paul Bogle coach lamented.
"Alvas Powell was heavily marked all afternoon and the supporting players up front never gave it their all. I am disappointed but the season continues for us in the daCosta Cup."
It all started slowly for Paul Bogle, as the home side packed players in the midfield to nullify the movement of Powell.
STETHS went in search of the opening goal from the first blast of the whistle and almost got it in the fifth minute, when Jamel Sinclair tested the resolve of goalkeeper Shaquille Drysdale with a decent effort that he managed to save well.
They came close again, this time through Smith but his effort drifted over the crossbar.
In the 21st minute, Sinclair again threatened but before he could get his shot off, the goalkeeper advanced to clear the danger.
The long awaited go-ahead goal finally came when Jacobs' attempted cross flew high over Drysdale's head and landed in the far corner of the net to give STETHS the lead.
Two minutes later, Powell attempted to shake off his lacklustre performance with a shot from distance but it failed to trouble STETHS' goalie Enrique Rochester. Russian Brissett let one fly from about 25 yards out; that too never caused any alarms for Rochester as it sailed wide of the target.
bigger team prevailed
Even without any great input from the mercurial Hall, STETHS found ways to punish their opponents, this time it was left for Lindsay to hammer home the final nail in the Paul Bogle coffin, slamming his shot beyond the reach of the diving Drysdale.
"The bigger team prevailed today; it was clear that Paul Bogle never played as we expected them to. But we did what we had to do and we will now look to really defend the title in the final," an elated Wedderbourne said.
Meanwhile, over at the Jarrett Park facility, 'home team' Grange Hill booked their first-ever spot in an ISSA football competition, with a rousing come-from-behind win over Manchester High in the other semi-final.
It seem all was destined for a repeat of last year's final when Manchester took a first-half lead, but an inspired second-half performance from the Dane Warren-coached Grange Hill sparked celebratory scene among their supporters.
Delroy Miller gave Manchester the lead in the 52nd minute but Grange Hill hit back with strikes from Norman Malcolm in the 67th and Akeem Shackleford in the 81st.