Paul Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:After defeating one former champion on Wednesday, Green Pond High rallied from two goals down to claim a famous victory over St James High in their top-of-the-table Zone A clash at Jarrett Park yesterday. The win gave them zone honours and a place in the Ben Francis Cup for the first time. Shane James was the hero for Green Pond who claimed a superlative victory in the driving rain at Jarrett Park.
James bagged the equaliser in the 68th minute then found the winner in the 83rd as Green Pond repeated their early-season victory over the former champions.
Romario Clarke gave St James a sixth- minute lead and they held it until the 10th minute when namesake Jeleel Clarke increased the advantage for the Gregory Palmer-coached team.
But the never-say-die attitude exhibited all-season long by the Green Pond team came to the fore, which resulted in them reducing the deficit with a tremendous effort from Jerome Houghton.
His quick thinking caught St James goalkeeper Robert Morrison off guard as he launched a powerful shot from about 35 yards out that flew like a rocket past the back-pedalling Morrison, to make the score 2-1.
In the second half and in very wet conditions, Green Pond began the fightback and grabbed the equaliser when James slotted home to spark wild celebrations among the spectators, many of whom were huddled together under umbrellas.
And the eventual winner was not far behind as James made no mistake from close range.
"History is on our side again," declared coach Gregory Daley of Green Pond. "We are in the Inter-zone and the Ben Francis for the first time ever."
"The players deserve this. It was a really hard-fought game, St James had it their way earlier in the contest, but we fought back in style to win the game. I am so happy," he said.
Rusea's High, by virtue of their 5-1 win over Cambridge High, won the right to contest the Ben Francis Cup as winners of Zone B, while Green Island High have cemented their place as runners-up and will be in the Inter-zone round.
Rusea's have 18 points to their credit while Green Island finished their schedule one point adrift on 17 with early pacesetters and 2005 daCosta Cup winners Frome Technical eliminated with 16 points.