Paul Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Green Pond High will meet Manchester High School in one semi-final of the 2013 ISSA/LIME Ben Francis Cup knockout football competition, after the Montego Bay-based school eased past Godfrey Stewart High 2-0 in yesterday's quarter-final at Jarrett Park.
Jerome Haughton and Davaine McKenzie scored second half goals to take them a step closer to their objective of winning their first senior schoolboy football title.
However, to do this they will have to get by one of the strongest teams in the competition, Manchester High, who stopped high-flying Clarendon College 1-0.
"It's a very, very pleasing feeling to know we have come this far with this win," said Gregory Daley, Green Pond's coach.
"The work is not yet done, we face another big-name school on Wednesday, but we will be ready to perform because we want to be in the final, where we expect to lift the title," he said.
In the other quarter-finals matchups, defending champion St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) waltzed into the final four after outclassing Kemps Hill 3-0 at their home field in Santa Cruz and will now play Paul Bogle High, who had a 5-4 win on penalties over St Mary Technical. Both teams were locked at 3-3 after regulation and extra time.
At Jarrett Park, Godfrey Stewart started with more intent, marauding down both flanks as they came within inches of taking the lead in the 17th minute, when a floated pass inside the area brushed the crossbar on its way out.
The game soon developed into a war of attrition as both teams tried to get the upper hand, with crunching tackles and powerful attempts at goal.
McKenzie missed what was arguably the easiest chance of the first half, when the ball sent in from a corner kick missed all players and fell in front of him. However, his attempt at a header barely missed, with the gaping goal at his mercy.
Haughton would make up for that miss in the 59th minute. Battling his way past two opponents, from 25 yards out he then unleashed a powerful shot that sailed low past Obrian Finnikin in the Godfrey Stewart goal to give his team the lead.
Their advantage was doubled in the 64th minute as McKenzie found space in the area to beat Finnikin with another low shot.
"We just want to keep a level head and do what we are capable of doing and with that the title should be ours," Daley said of his Green Pond team.
STETHS 3, Kemps Hill 0
Manchester 1, Clarendon College 0
Green Pond 2, Godfrey Stewart 0
Paul Bogle 3, St Mary Technical 3
(Paul Bogle won 5-4 on penalties)