Robert Bailey, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Defending champions St George's College played with a lot of glitz and glamour to secure their 22nd hold on the Manning Cup title, when they recorded an emphatic 3-0 victory over first-time finalists Hydel High in the final of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Gatorade/Digicel football competition at the National Stadium yesterday.
The Georgians were led to victory courtesy of goals from Andre Lewis (30th) and Zhelano Barnes (31st), both members of the national Under-20 team that has qualified for the World Cup CONCACAF Finals.
St George's third goal was scored by defender Jerondy Henry in the 77th minute.
The North Street-based school totally outclassed their opponents with a very confident and masterful display of football in both halves of the game.
"Thank God for this victory," said St George's head coach Neville 'Bertis' Bell. "We worked hard all season and we are really happy that we got it.
"This is a good team and I am the coach and I feel good about this, but we did well because we have great players and I told them if we came to play we would win the game," he said.
Bell added: "I don't think it was a one-side final. I congratulate Hydel because I thought they played well, but my team is good and I am not surprised with what they did today."
Hammering the ball
The speedy and skilful Lewis gave St George's the lead when he latched on to a pass inside the 18-yard box from live wire Cardel Benbow. Lewis faked and cut inside a defender, before hammering the ball past goalkeeper Romaine Hamilton.
The celebrations had hardly died down when Barnes scored St George's College's second goal. Benbow was fouled by Hydel defender Dale Reid just outside the penalty box. Lewis made a quick pass to Barnes inside the penalty area and the latter turned away from his marker to nail a powerful left-footed shot past Hamilton.
Substitute Kendon Anderson thought he had scored for St George's, but his goal was waved off for offside, just before they had added their final goal.
Henry netted that third goal when he fired home from close range past Hamilton.
St George's outclassed their opponents in the second period and could have won the game by a wider margin had it not been for faulty finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Anderson, who made a number of fine saves.
"I am really disappointed," said Geoffrey Maxwell, coach of Hydel which had drawn 1-1 in two preliminary matches this season. "I know that this team is capable of doing much more. I just thought that we didn't turn up today," he said.
"St George"s played a magnificent final and I hope that our youngsters will learn something from this final," added the veteran coach. "St George's showed tonight that they are better than us, but overall I am very disappointed with our performance."