Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Top spot in ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel Manning Cup Group H and the lone semi-final berth will be decided today when Excelsior High and Spanish Town High meet at the Spanish Town Prison Oval this afternoon at 3 o'clock.
Excelsior (six points) lead the group on goal difference over Spanish Town (also six points) after both recorded wins in their opening two encounters against Calabar High and Donald Quarrie High.
Excelsior's plus-seven goal difference puts them well ahead of Spanish Town's plus two, and a draw will be enough to cement a semi-final berth for the Mountain View Avenue-based school. Spanish Town must win to advance. "The odds are against us as we have to play them at their home ground, but we will have to go out there and defend our goals cushion," said Excelsior coach Leebert Halliman.
"We have been moving a lot of roadblocks since the start of the season, including the exodus of several of our senior players to different schools. This is just another one (roadblock) that we will have to contend with, and it will be a matter of who wants it most."
HOPING FOR BIG PERFORMANCE
Halliman will be hoping for another big performance from forward Brian Richards who netted a five-timer in their 6-1 thumping of Donald Quarrie in the last match.
Richards is expected to get good support from towering midfielder Ojai Beckford, fellow forward Kareem Banton and goalkeeper Ryan Jackson.
Spanish Town, on the other hand, will pin their hopes on forward Kevon Nembhard, who netted a brace in their 2-1 win over Calabar on Monday, midfielder and captain Owen Walters, goalkeeper Sean Paul Desouza, and national Under-17 left-back Nathaniel Leslie.
"It is a must-win game for us and, as such, we will be pulling all stops to win it," said Spanish Town coach Anthony Thompson.
"It will require us to bring out our 'A' game, and based on what the players are saying ... . They are up to it and I anticipate a good game."
1 p.m: Donald Quarrie High vs Calabar High
3 p.m: Spanish Town High vs Excelsior High
Both games at Spanish Town Prison Oval.