Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The Manning's School pulled the rug from under the defending daCosta Cup champions yesterday, defeating Rusea's High 3-0 in the inter-zone ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel football competition at Frome Sports Complex.
National Under-17 representative Melvin Blair scored twice, while André Smith netted the other as Manning's shrugged off inconsistency to complete their best performance so far and send Rusea's crashing to their first loss in the daCosta Cup in nearly 21/2 years.
"We were a little flat today. It seemed that Manning's wanted it more than us, hence the scoreline," said Rusea's assistant coach, Anthony 'Follies' Williams, after the opening Zone One fixture.
"It is going to be very difficult to move out of this zone; having one loss and three goals in deficit. But we will give it our all in the next two matches," he promised.
The game was only 12 minutes old when Blair received a pass from the right flank and made no mistake, heading the ball past Richard Trench for the lead.
The second goal came from the penalty spot as Pessoa was pulled down inside the area. Blair fired hard past the goalkeeper for his and Manning's second of the afternoon.
The third goal came from a goalmouth scramble when French failed to hold on to the ball and Smith was able poke home from a few yards out.
The win was tonic for The Manning's School, who narrowly made the inter-zone, and coach Aaron Lawrence was elated with his team's display.
"I feel so good about this win because as you know Rusea's is a very good team," said Lawrence. "But we were the hungrier of the two and we proved we had what it takes to win in these big games."
Lawrence, a former many-time daCosta Cup winner at Rusea's while playing alongside Stephen 'Shorty' Malcolm, Mark 'Hagler' Wilson and Donald 'Gemi' Hewitt, added: "I really could not have asked for anything else. They played really hard; it is easy to say it was our best game all season. Now we look forward to our next game."
Meanwhile in Zone Three, Lennon High turned back Bellefield High 3-0 to grab the early lead, while Maggotty High, who qualified as one of the best third-place teams, played out a 1-1 draw with Tacius Golding.
Rusea's 0 The Manning's School 3
Lennon 3 Bellefield 0
Maggotty 1 Tacius Golding 1
1 p.m. St James vs Spot Valley at Jarrett Park
3 p.m. William Knibb vs Cornwall at Jarrett Park
3 p.m. Grange Hill vs Frome at Frome
3 p.m. Spalding vs STETHS at Kirkvine
3 p.m. Clarendon vs Manchester at Brancourt
3 p.m. Munro vs Christiana at STETHS
3 p.m. Cedric Titus vs St Mary High at Drax Hall
3 p.m. Bog Walk vs York Castle at Dinthill
3 p.m. Port Antonio vs St Mary Technical at Carder Park
3 p.m. Brimmervale vs Happy Grove at Highgate Community Centre
3 p.m. Paul Bogle vs Garvey Maceo at York Oval
1 p.m. Kemps Hill vs Dinthill at Jamalco
3 p.m. Glenmuir vs Seaforth at Jamalco