CATHERINE HALL, St James — St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) captured a historic third successive Ben Francis Knock Out title yesterday after beating first-time finalists Grange Hill High, 4-2, on penalty kicks.
STETHS had come back from a 0-2 deficit at half-time in the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel to contest at Montego Bay Sports Complex to level the scores at 2-2, thanks to a brace from Jamel Sinclair after Norman Malcolm had given Grange Hill the lead after just 13 minutes.
Malcolm scored in the third and 13th minutes, while Sinclair scored in the 53rd and 75th.
Despite creating good scoring chances, neither team was able to score in the 20 minutes of extra time and it took penalty kicks to decide the first schoolboy football title of the 2012 season.
STETHS coach Omar Wedderburn said afterwards that the game plan was to keep possession, as they knew Grange Hill would come at them, but said the players did not carry out the game plan in the first 20 minutes and suffered the consequences.
They, however, reverted to the game plan in the second half, especially with their off-the-ball movements. "Champions never say die, we had to be patient when we had the ball," he said.
Grange Hill's Dane Warren, who was physically attacked by a supporter at the end of the game, said his players strayed from the game plan after taking the lead.
Grange Hill, who were knocked out of the daCosta Cup at the Inter-zone level, silenced the STETHS crowd after going 2-0 up inside the first 13 minutes.
Malcolm took on the STETHS defence and fired his team in the lead after just three minutes, bullying his way past three players and shooting past goalkeeper Enrique Rochester.
Ten minutes later, he made it 2-0 when the STETHS defence allowed Grange Hill to take a short corner without any pressure and Malcolm curled a shot into the top left-hand corner with Rochester rooted to the spot.
STETHS came to life after that, but Sinclair was blocked twice in the 19th minute for corners. Rochester then just managed to keep out a looping shot that fell on the crossbar as Grange Hill came back at them.
The Westmoreland school should have gone 3-0 up late in the first half, but Malcolm's efforts at the near right post was blocked by a defender, then by Rochester.
At the start of the second half, Grange Hill appeared to be defending, giving up the midfield to STETHS, who took the invitation and took the game to their opponents.
Sinclair got early dividends as eight minutes in the second half when he swept home a shot from close range as Grange Hill failed to clear the ball out of their area.
Grange Hill suffered a blow soon after when Malcolm, their main scoring threat, had to be taken off the field due to injuries and STETHS eventually drew level when Sinclair scrambled home a ball from the left half side of the box.
Grange Hill, who appeared to be playing for penalty kicks, had the best chance in the two periods of extra time when they caught STETHS on the counter, but Romario Foster, who had replaced Malcolm, got in the way of his teammate Akeam Shackleford and they lost the ball inside the 18-yard box.
In the shoot-out, Kaycee Bromfield, Donjay Smith, Romario Thompson, and Rodney Whitter scored for STETHS, while Shaquille Irving and Shackleford netted for Grange Hill after the STETHS goalkeeper had saved a shot from Omarley Thomas.