JAMAICA College (JC) consolidated their place atop Zone B of the ISSA/Digicel/Gatorade Manning Cup schoolboy football competition with a 2-1 win over St Jago High at Old Hope Road yesterday.
Junior Flemming (35th minute) and Naquain Brown (57th) gave the Alfred Henry-coached boys their seventh win in as many matches. Taniel McKenzie pulled a goal back for St Jago's goal in the 71st, but they wasted some good chances afterwards to come away with a result.
The Dark Blues had secured top spot in the group after their 4-1 win over Waterford High on Friday and now sit seven points clear of second-placed Camperdown with one round of matches to go.
Waterford (six points) and St Jago (five points) still have two games to play. However, neither team can catch Camperdown, who defeated Mona High, 3-0, through a brace from Tevin Garnett and a solitary strike from Akeem Christie, to cement second place in the group.
At Old Hope Road, the visiting St Jago dominated possession and threatened for most of the match. But it was Flemming who opened the scoring for the home team with his eighth goal of the season.
The JC captain had just missed a chance a minute earlier, but he made no mistake at the next opportunity as he lifted the ball past an advancing Rushane Patterson to give his team the lead.
St Jago nearly went in front earlier, but McKenzie fired his effort just wide from a free kick in the 23rd minute. Junior Reid also came close moments later, but his shot from 30 yards just missed the upright, with goalkeeper Odean Clarke well beaten.
JC added a second goal 12 minutes after the break when Brown finished off a good attack from six yards. But St Jago kept their discipline and got back in the game when McKenzie flashed home a header from a Romario Constant free-kick in the 71st.
The Jeffrey Hewiit-coached team could have snared at least a point from the contest, but McKenzie could not direct his header on target from six yards.
Then, in the time added, the ball fell kindly to Shawayne Barrett six yards out, but he hesitated and allowed the JC defence to avert the danger.
JC's assistant coach, Otis Brown said since the team had already qualified for the next round, they were giving other players a chance to show what they can do.
His counterpart Keith McTavish conceded that the defeat has now put them out of the running for a second-round place.
"This defeat put us on the back-foot but we have two remaining games and we just have to go into those games and see where it takes us," he said.
Meanwhile in Zone G, Charlie Smith High all but secured top spot in that group after a 7-0 drubbing of Pembroke Hall High at Tony Spaulding Complex.
Kemar Edwards led the Jerome Waite-coached 'Charlie' with a brace, as they move six points clear of Kingston College (KC) with 25 points. Charlie Smith need just a point from their last game to consolidate group honours although they have a far superior goal difference and should top the table even if they lose their final match and KC win their remaining two.
In today's matches, Campion College host Penwood High and Excelsior entertain Greater Portmore High in Zone A. In Zone C, Dunoon Tech play Denham Town, Cumberland take on champions St George's College and Clan Carthy face Hydel High.
In Zone D, Calabar go up against Innswood, Tivoli Gardens tackle Bridgeport High and St Mary's College meet Haile Selassie. All matches start at 3:30 pm, with home teams named first.