SUBSTITUTE Patrick Sayles scored in the 89th minute to lead Charlie Smith High to a deserved 1-0 win over Group G rivals Kingston College (KC) in yesterday's ISSA/Gatorate/Digicel/ Manning Cup action at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
Sayles, who entered the fray a mere two minutes earlier, tapped home from close range after the crafty wide player Lennox Russell sped past his marker on the right side and fed a pin-point cross into the box.
The victory put Charlie Smith atop the group with six points from their two outings so far this season, while KC remain on three points.
Charlie Smith's head coach Jerome Waite appeared a relieved man in the post-match interview after his team dominated large portions of the match but lacked the desired efficiency in the attacking third.
"It is good to know that we made use of our advantage at home. We missed some chances, but we won in the end. We left it late, but I'm glad for the win. We played a high-press and fast game while KC were more on the defensive end," said Waite.
KC's assistant coach Barry Brown virtually conceded that his unit was second best on the day, blaming the defeat on a lack of concentration in the defence.
"It was a tough game, physically and otherwise. Charlie played hard and KC played hard and it was a matter of one moment of lapse from KC and they scored a goal.
"We expected Charlie Smith to come at us, but I don't think our players are used to such vocal home supporters. Still, I think we showed heart, courage and a lot of character today," Brown told the Jamaica Observer.
In the early stages, Charlie Smith looked the more energised as they unleashed crunching tackles against a slow-starting KC bunch.
Russell sent early warnings with his pace and trickery down the right, but the KC defence generally held on stoutly.
The visitors from North Street were left to attempt several counter-attacking moves but were not able to break through a solid Charlie Smith defence, guided by Michael Webb, Roman Brown and Andrew Cuff.
Though Charlie Smith had the better of play, KC could have taken a surprise lead midway the first half when a long range effort from Allan Morgan was pushed unconvincingly around the post by 'Charlie' goalkeeper Kirk Morgan.
KC started the second half in a slightly more positive mode, but had to thank 'keeper Obrian Duncan, who bravely saved a viciously-struck, close range left-footer from substitute Raylon Paisley on the hour mark.
The hard-working Allan Morgan remained a threat for KC and flashed his header wide minutes later, and Russell got a chance to score at the other end within the last 15 minutes, but his effort in a one-on-one encounter with the advancing Duncan was deflected for a corner.
Only moments later, KC's substitute Chevaughn Blake saw his one-time effort easily saved by Morgan and he was left to rue that miss as Sayles pounced a minute before the end of normal time to hand Charlie full points.
In other Group G games, St Andrew Technical blanked Meadowbrook, 3-0, while Pembroke Hall and Ardenne ended 1-1.
In Group D, the 2006 winners Bridgeport won, 1-0, and Haile Selassie and visitors Calabar played to a 1-1 scoreline.
Wolmer's Boys', one of the pre-tournament favourites, crushed Donald Quarrie, 6-0, in a Group F encounter at their Heroes' Circle base. In another match in the group, Jose Marti Technical hammered Oberlin High, 7-0.