Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
Wolmers' Boys' booked their spot in the semi-final of ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel Manning Cup football competition, following a 3-0 win over Bridgeport High at Constant Spring Sports Complex yesterday.
The Heroes Circle-based team, strong challengers for the Manning Cup title, began the day second (on goal difference) in Group K behind leaders Norman Manley, who went down 2-1 to Innswood High at Spanish Town Prison Oval.
Tazio Gilpin gave Wolmers' the start they needed when he opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Jorghino James (55th) and Kamario Osbourne (80th) then added what turned out to be insurance goals, as they finished the round at the top of the group with seven points.
"Today we were patient and showed a great amount of discipline," said Wolmers' coach, Ludlow Bernard.
"We knew that the group had a competitive edge and that Innswood would have given Norman Manley a fight, so we were always confident knowing that once we did what we had to do we would qualify."
The Wolmer's coach was proven to be correct in his pre-match assertions, as in the group's other game, Innswood, who could also have advanced with an unlikely Wolmer's loss, battled bravely to frustrate Norman Manley's ambitions.
For a time, the Maxfield-based entity seemed well on their way to getting the result they needed, after Rohan Foster's fiercely struck effort beat a fully-extended Innswood custodian Bebeto Lawrence to put them a goal to the good.
Norman Manley's joy was, however, short-lived and Leforne Hayles found Innswood's equaliser with a ferocious strike of his own, which nestled in the bottom right hand corner, only eight minutes later.
A desperate Norman Manley were then caught short at the back, in time added, and as they searched for the crucial goal, Innswood striker Tavoy Morgan eventually broke their hearts.
Hayles took advantage of an overstreched Norman Manley defence, dropping a well-weighted through ball from the left to right, just over the top of the backline. Morgan sprinted on to take Hayles' pass in stride, before coolly rolling the ball around a stranded Jovaniel Stewart - the substitute Norman Manley custodian - and into the goal.
"We did some good things this season, but this is disappointing in the end," Norman Manley coach Miguel Coley said.
"We really needed the goal so we were forced to gamble. It could have paid off, but we missed our opportunity and they caught us on the counter."
Norman Manley ended in third place on four points, behind Innswood, who finished on six, and ahead of Bridgeport, who finished at the bottom of the zone without a point.
Wolmers' will play defending champions St George's College in one game of a semi-final double-header on Saturday, while Exclesior High will play Hydel High in the other.