SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — They were rarely at their best, but defending champions St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) cruised into the final of the Ben Francis KO with a 2-0 win over Paul Bogle High at STETHS Sports Complex yesterday.
Jason Jacobs in the 26th minute and Rohan Lindsay in the 69th were the goalscorers before a large crowd in bright sunshine and good conditions.
STETHS, in search of an unprecedented third straight KO title, were in control from the start and could have scored in the opening minutes, but for goalkeeper Shoquille Drysdale's brilliant block which denied striker Jamel Sinclair, who found a way through the heart of the defence.
But with STETHS pressing hard, an error by Drysdale allowed the opening goal. Jacobs' speculative left-footer from wide on the right, lobbed the goalkeeper and found the back of the net on the bounce — Drysdale having badly misjudged the flight of the ball.
With their star player Alvas Powell heavily marked and midfielder Sergeni Frankson withdrawn in the first half because of a suspected leg fracture, Paul Bogle struggled to find inspiration. It came as no surprise when STETHS found their second goal — an unmarked Lindsay heading home from a right-sided cross.
A satisfied STETHS coach Omar Wedderburn commended his players for a "good victory", though he felt they had an "off day".
'We're glad we got this match over with," he said. "The players were a little tense because of the talk that they could be the first to win the title three years in a row."
Losing coach Richard Williams said his team had a bad afternoon. "We kept playing the long ball and the tall STETHS defenders kept winning it in the air," he complained.
Williams said the injury to Frankson and card suspensions could prove damaging as his team returns to the daCosta Cup competition, but insisted Paul Bogle would not give up.
"We're always true to our national hero Paul Bogle, who is our inspiration; we never say die," he said.