Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Excelsior High, led by a brace from Kareem Banton, defeated Norman Manley High 3-1 in Group B of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup football competition at Norman Manley's field yesterday.
The win pushed Excelsior to the top of the group with 16 points from seven games as they displaced Norman Manley (14) in the battle for qualifying spots to the next stage.
In the top-of-the-table clash, Excelsior attacked early and took the lead when Tevin Jackson netted in the first minute. Not to be outdone, Norman Manley fought back and levelled when Damane Douglas headed past Excelsior goalkeeper Jonah Morgan in the 19th minute to end the half 1-1.
Excelsior picked up the tempo in the second half and dominated possession. They regained the lead when a ball was handled inside Norman Manley's 18-yard box and Banton calmly slotted home the resulting penalty in the 74th minute.
The wily Banton sealed the deal for his team when he hit past Morgan in the 88th minute.
Banton, who was named the LIME Man of the Match, was happy that his team won the game after some hard training.
"It is a feeling of relief as we worked hard in training. It was a very important win for the team as we are now in the lead," Banton told The Gleaner.
Leebert Halliman, coach of Excelsior High, said: "We showed a lot of courage. We are fitter than Norman Manley and it showed in the second half. We didn't allow them to play."
Meanwhile, Alrick Clarke, coach of Norman Manley, said his team lost because of indiscipline. "It was a disappointing performance as we fell down due to indiscipline early in the game," Clarke assessed.
"This is our first loss of the season, so hopefully we can come back and advance from the group," the coach added.