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JC, STATHS in top Group B Manning Cup clash

Observer writer

Friday, September 29, 2017

After steamrolling Mona High 5-0 on Tuesday, reigning champions Jamaica College will now take aim at main contenders St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) in a Group B top-of-the table clash in the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup competition at the latter's Spanish Town Road base today.

JC will be riding high heading into today's clash after registering three consecutive victories on the trot, including a 9-0 walloping of Donald Quarrie on Saturday, since their last slip in a 1-1 stalemate against former champions Bridgeport a few weeks ago.

That is a good indication that the “Dark Blues” are now gradually rounding into top form, and Mona became their latest victim earlier this week courtesy of a brace from Captain Maleik Howell and Tevin Rochester and an injury-time strike from Shaniel Thomas at their Old Hope Road base.

It was always a matter of how many the Miguel Coley boys would be able to bag as they sought to increase their stranglehold on a group they were expected to dominate from day one.

Despite dominating possession from the opening whistle, it took the overlapping efforts and instincts of Howell to give JC the breakthrough in the 30th minute. But JC failed to add to their tally for the rest of the half, after being denied by the resolute Mona defensive line which had all 11 players behind the ball.

Mona seemingly gained some confidence from not being overrun in the first half and started to show more of themselves in the second half, led by their Captain Deandre Folkes who came close to getting Mona back on level terms when his shot from the left side of the area came back off the crossbar.

That was the closest the visitors would come, as shortly after it became the Rochester show. Being played in the unusual position of centre-forward, the lanky player used his size and strength to create his own goal-scoring chance to fire home his first goal in the 78th minute.

Rochester was at it again in the 85th minute, stroking the ball home to make it 3-0 and knocking the stuffing out of Mona, who were dead on their feet with five minutes to go.

Howell then got his second of the game in the 89th minute when Rochester laid the ball into his path for the JC skipper to fire home into the far corner of the goal.

A shell-shocked Mona was clearly playing for the final whistle by now, but they had to take the ball out of the net one more time when Thomas, who was a late substitute, got his name on the scoresheet with the last kick of the game, in the third of added time.

Miguel Coley was more pleased with the first half than the second, despite the majority of goals coming in the second stanza.

“I am especially pleased with the first half because we had lots of counterattacks which is what I wanted to see. (Tahja) Reynolds gave us good orientation in midfield, so we were able to move the ball well. The team is getting better and better and the winning mindset is important to have.

“We have a tough away game against STATHS on Friday (today), but we are taking it one game at a time in this group,” Coley concluded.

Mona Coach Kevin Williams admitted that his team was overmatched against the defending champions.

“We came here to nullify the JC midfield, and we did that for the most part. But JC got more clear-cut chances than we did, so the result was never really in doubt. On the balance of play they were the better team. We have a very young team and we are on a three-year programme; we can't compete against JC right now,” Williams assessed.

While JC was drubbing Mona, STATHS remained on their coat-tails with a 1-0 win over Bridgeport High, as both teams remain level on 14 points, with JC holding a superior goal difference.


Today’s schedule

Group A
Tivoli vs Pembroke Hall @
Innswood vs Kingston High @
Chedwin Park
Wolmer’s Boys’ vs Haile
Selassie @ Heroes Circle
Group B
STATHS vs Jamaica College @
Donald Quarrie vs Bridgeport
@ Bull Bay Football Club
Mona vs Papine @ Mona
Group E
Greater Portmore vs Spanish
Town @ Greater Portmore
Excelsior vs Norman Manley
@ Excelsior
Kingston College vs Ardenne
@ Stadium East
Group G
Eltham vs Cedar Grove @
Jonathan Grant vs Campion
College @ Jonathan Grant
Charlie Smith vs Calabar @
Anthony Spaulding Complex
All games start 3:30 pm