Spanish Town High scored an invaluable 2-0 win over Ascot High in their Zone E ISSA/Digicel/Gatorade Manning Cup match at Ascot High yesterday to stay two points clear of Holy Trinity atop the standings.
Captain Owen Walters opened the scoring for the visitors in the 76th minute from the penalty spot and Kevon Nembhard sealed the win with a sumptuous strike 10 minutes from time.
With one eye on qualifying for the Walker Cup play-offs, Spanish Town's coach Anthony Thompson declared this a crucial win for his team.
"We are trying to get into the Walker Cup and winning this game put us ahead, so we just have to win one of our next two games and we will be on our way," he said.
In a tightly-contested game, the home team had the better of the chances, especially in the second-half. But it was the visitors who went ahead with 15 minutes to go when Spanish Town were awarded a penalty for a hand ball inside the area.
Walters expertly converted the resulting kick to put his team in front.
Minutes later they added another to their tally when Nembhard latched onto a ball down the flank, got by his marker and unleashed a vicious shot that flew across goalkeeper De'Angelo Austin and into the top corner of the goal.
Ascot's coach Jason Grant said his team conceded a soft penalty but his players are still confident they can advance to the second round.
"I was disappointed that we lost the game but I was pleased with the actual performance because they put out a lot and I was very grateful for their effort," he said.
In the group's other games, Holy Trinity beat Trench Town, 3-1, on goals from Kiquiro Williams, Shamar Stephenson and Nicholas Hamilton to remain second on 16 points.
St Catherine stayed third with 11 points despite going down 1-0 to Jonathan Grant on Kimoni Francis' goal.
Meanwhile, Hydel reclaimed stop spot in Zone C on goal difference after beating Cumberland, 5-0, while defending champions St George's College drew 1-1 with bottom side Dunoon.
In the group's other game, Denham Town slammed Clan Carthy, 5-0.
Hydel and St George's are now locked on 18 points, with Hydel holding a better goal average. Denham Town are third with nine points.
In Zone B, Jamaica College (JC) maintained their perfect win record from six matches after a Okeeno Bailey's hat-trick and an Albert Aaron strike carried them to a 4-1 drubbing of Waterford.
In the group's other game, St Jago and Camperdown played out a 0-0 draw.
JC sit atop the table with 18 points, seven clear of Camperdown, while Waterford are third with six points.
In Zone F, Jose Marti (13 points) maintained second spot by a point after a 2-0 win over Kingston Technical. Jeremy Nelson and Miguel Ormsby were the scorers for the Spanish Town school.
Donald Quarrie (12 points) also kept alive their hopes for a second round berth after Michael Lucas' goal gave them a 1-0 win over Oberlin.
Wolmer's lead the group with 23 points.