STETHS triumphant in controversy-hit derby game

… Newell High trounce Maggotty High

Editor at Large, South Central Bureau

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

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Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth — Given controversy and tension surrounding the visitors' refusal to play under artificial lights, it was probably to be expected that the quality of football from hosts St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and arch-rivals Munro College would fall below popular expectations.

Yet the largely scrappy ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup 'parish derby' at STETHS Sports Complex on Saturday had its fair share of excitement with STETHS ending 2-1 winners, thanks to goals two minutes apart from Nickjay White in the 41st minute and Demar James in the 43rd.

Munro College's Okeeno Allen scored from a free kick in the 57th minute during a period of sustained dominance from the visitors.

Indeed, on an overcast, drizzly afternoon before a massive crowd, Munro should have opened the scoring very early in the top-of-the table clash, after working their way through the STETHS defence. But Chanderpaul Dehaney's miscued effort from close range went straight to a grateful goalkeeper, Kenroy Wallace.

A minute later, at the other end, a marauding James saw his left-foot shot from just inside the penalty box soar just over the bar, following good combination play with Alex Thompson.

Midway the first half, Munro wasted a second golden opportunity when Reno Edmondson's tame shot was easily cleared following a mazy dribble and cross from the right by Renardo Burgher.

But as the first half progressed, STETHS gradually took control, with skipper Chris-Andrew Dixon asserting himself and pulling strings in midfield. Good work from goalkeeper Deventae Clarke kept Munro afloat before STETHS finally broke through, with White hammering home a left-footed grounder.

With the applause for the opening goal still ringing in his ears, James provided the second two minutes later. Racing across the face of goal, he curled a left shot just inside Clarke's right-hand post to leave the home support in raptures at the half-time break.

However, any thoughts the visitors were going to roll over and die soon disappeared. Munro started the second half fast and kept coming as STETHS lost their shape in all areas of the field. With Edmondson, Allen and company storming forward in waves, the Munro goal came as no surprise, though 'keeper Wallace will probably blame himself.

Allen's free kick from 30 metres out found its way through the wall, bounced short of Wallace, and then eluded his grasp to find the net.

With the hard-working striker Romeo Wright substituted midway the half and James eventually forced to depart because of what appeared to be cramps, STETHS supporters feared the worst.

But Munro's attackers gradually ran out of steam and as the referee's final whistle approached, the home team regained the ascendancy. From point-blank range, STETHS midfielder Tahjae Palmer rammed the crossbar with his left-foot shot and immediately after, Thompson's speculative right footer from distance had to be tipped over the bar by Clarke.

STETHS coach Omar Wedderburn was happy for the win while playing down his side's below par performance in the second half.

“After scoring two goals we played a reserved second half”, he said.

He was highly critical of Munro's refusal to play under lights, pointing out that progression to title games later in the season will require school teams to play at night under artificial lighting. “Clearly Munro don't want to win anything, they just want to beat STETHS,” Wedderburn said.

Munro's coach Hopeton Gilchrist said his team suffered from missed chances.

“I thought we played better than them, especially in the second half, but we didn't capitalise while STETHS took their chances,” he said.

Following an official 'switching on' ceremony for the artificial lights with participation from officials of sponsors Wisynco, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association and STETHS, a rapidly improving Newell High beat Maggotty High 3-1.

Newell got goals from Shandee Brooks in the seventh minute and Jevaughn Bruce in the 18thand 70th. Maggotty High's Renardo Gordon netted a consolation in the 67th minute.

Principal of STETHS Keith Wellington said the newly installed lighting system, involving ten banks of LED floodlights on five poles, will be further enhanced with two additional banks on a portable pole to be placed in the vicinity of the cricket pitch, just west of the main football field. He declined to reveal the cost of the project, which is being underwritten by distribution and manufacturing company Wisynco.




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