LAST year's beaten finalist Hydel High and Excelsior High scored wins over St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) and St Jago, respectively, in the ISSA/LIME Manning Cup and assumed early leadership of their groups yesterday.
In one of only two games played yesterday Hydel, last year's beaten finalist, registered their first victory of the season with a close 1-0 win over STATHS in their Group A match at Bumper Hall.
A beautiful 15th minute strike from Stephen Barnett gave the Geoffrey Maxwell-coached Hydel their first win from two games and top spot in the group with four points. On Monday, they had battled to a 1-1 draw with Edith Dalton James.
It wasn't the best of performances on a field not conducive for football, but Hydel did enough to get the better of a fighting STATHS aggregation and should have won by a wider margin.
"This is what I called early going. I thought we should have won the game by at least six to nine goals. I knew we got chances like rain falling," said Maxwell.
"But I think overall it's a good performance and there is a lot of tension when you have a young team. We have lost about seven or eight starters so from here on it's building with the younger players coming in. But we are happy for the three points," noted Maxwell, who is also the coach of Red Stripe Premier League outfit Humble Lion of Clarendon.
Meanwhile, STATHS, who lost their opening game 2-0 to Ascot High, remained pointless from two games and coach Michael Francis was clearly disappointed.
"It was a very keenly contested game; the two teams played well in patches, but overall I think my team was a little bit nervous at home. As the game progressed, we looked a little bit better," said Francis.
In the only other game of the day, highly touted Excelsior High edged St Jago 1-0 in their Group B match at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, courtesy of a Tevin Jackson goal in the 81st minute.
The Leebert Halliman-coached Excelsior from Mountain View jumped to the top of the group with maximum six points following their 2-0 beating of another St Catherine team, Waterford, on Monday.
The Geoffrey Hewitt-coached St Jago are now on one point from two games and dropped to fourth spot behind Haile Selassie with three points and Norman Manley on a point but from one game.
The competition continues today with Clan Carthy taking on St Catherine, Denham Town versus Kingston Technical and Wolmer's Boy playing Papine High in Group C action.
In Group D, defending champion St George's College visit Oberlin High, Camperdown High welcome Donald Quarrie and Charlie Smith take on Vauxhall High.
Kingston College will play their first match away to Penwood High in Group F and Eltham High tackle Greater Portmore.