It's Rusea's!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Picture Picture Picture Picture

CATHERINE HALL, St James — Rusea's High School came from a goal down and produced a second-half defensive masterclass to win their 11th ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup schoolboy football title last night, beating red-hot favourites Clarendon College 2-1 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

Daniel Reid and Leonardo Fogarthy scored in the second half as the “Russians” came roaring back after an ordinary first half, when they were forced back in their own half and which saw Nicque Daley give Clarendon a deserved lead.

Fogarthy, who scored the winner minutes after firing just wide of the post, was brought to tears after the game, as he achieved a feat that his late father Anthony had accomplished, leading Rusea's to a daCosta Cup title.

There were two big misses by the usually reliable Daley, however, that proved costly for the Clarendon College team, who were seeking the rural area double for the second time after winning the Ben Francis Knockout earlier.

Watched by a packed stadium the two teams produced one of the best schoolboy football finals in ages, with well-coordinated, attacking football almost the entire 90 minutes.

Vassell Reynolds, who won his first 'league' title in his first season in Hanover, said at half-time he reminded his team of their quarter-final win over last year's winners Cornwall College, when they came from a goal down to win.

“I don't think we played that badly in the first half, maybe at 70 per cent,” he said. “We wanted to soak up some pressure and nullify their attack, but at times I think we sat back too deep.”

Reynolds, who led Wolmer's Boys' School to the FLOW Super Cup title last year, said “one of the battles we did not want to lose was the one with Nicque Daley, but he got away and scored on us. But we reminded them of the game against Cornwall College and what we did, and they came back out and stepped up: We pressed them high and they started to crack and we pushed the extra man forward — Daniel Reid — and it paid dividends.”

Assistant Coach Dwayne Ambusley said they also recognised that the Clarendon College defence was their weak area and “we gave them too much respect in the first half, and so we matched our wing backs against theirs; we know they will boss the midfield and we could not match them there, so we went after the defence.”

Byjeon Thomas, the first-year Clarendon College coach was a picture of dejection and, while admitting the two misses by Daley “cost us the game”, added: “But we cannot blame him alone.”

Thomas said he was not able to say where it went wrong. “We have to sit down and see where it went wrong, I can't say right now.”

After a slow start, Clarendon College took over the game and, with their midfield pulling the strings, pushed Rusea's deep into their own half — with Ricardo McIntosh shooting just wide in the ninth minute and Lamar Walker missing with a left-foot drive by mere inches two minutes later.

They eventually took a deserved lead when Daley muscled his way through the Rusea's High defence and slotted the ball past goalkeeper St Michael Edwards and his near left post, scoring in his 11th-straight game in all competitions since the end of the first round of the daCosta Cup.

Daley should have doubled the scores in the 45th minute, but he headed the ball high and wide at the far left post from about two feet out, with no Rusea's player within a yard of him.

Rusea's drew level 10 minutes into the second half when Reid snapped up a bad pass by a Clarendon College defender and raced away down the left flank, and had time to place the ball wide of the stranded goalkeeper, Benjamin Williams, and into the far corner of the goal.

While the goal appeared to ignite a fire under the Rusea's players, it also served to cause panic in the Clarendon College camp, which allowed the Hanover team to run at them.

Daley was gifted another chance in the 64th minute to give his team the lead after he got by Edwards, who had left his area, but the soft shot by the Clarendon College striker was blocked at the near post by the retreating Renaldo Williams for a corner.

It was then time for a Clarendon College player to save his team as Demario Phillips was well placed on the goal line in the 76th minute to stop a flick on from Bobby Brown from a corner.

A minute later, Fogarthy got past the now-confused Clarendon College defence but powered his shot just wide of the far-right post.

He was on target in the 80th minute when he capitalised on yet another blunder and, after racing into the 18-yard area, powered it past Williams to win the title for his school.