CLARENDON College are one step away from claiming their first title of the season after a 2-0 win over Hydel High at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Tuesday to secure their place in the final of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association Wata Champions Cup.
The Chapleton-based boys have been dubbed the best schoolboy team on the island, and they showed signs of it in the first half as they controlled possession from the very first minute. In the 19th minute Deandre Gallimore’s free kick hit the crossbar but the rebound eventually found its way to talisman Keheim Dixon who sent Clarendon in front.
However, Hydel would find their feet in the second half after the introduction of star creative midfielder Keyanni Jackson.
Right before the hour mark Omario Henry’s curling effort just flew over the Clarendon goal. Henry would have a better chance minutes later as he went round goalkeeper Roshae Burrell but pushed the ball too wide, with his resulting effort flying over the crossbar yet again.
In the 66th minute Derron Campbell’s cross-turned-shot almost caught out Burrell but he was able to tip it over.
Hydel continued to press but it would be Clarendon who would add a second as Dixon returned with a fine strike to get his 27th goal of the season in all competitions, thereby booking the team’s spot in the final.
Head Coach Lenworth “Teacha” Hyde was particularly impressed with his team’s showing in the first 45 minutes.
“I’m pretty pleased with the execution, especially the first half. I thought we had an excellent first half, moving the ball around, be patient, — we showed that for the most part and scored a goal. But we should have maintained that control of the game for [longer]… [and exhibited] discipline; they broke down some of the times.
“I didn’t like most of the second half. We brought Hydel back in the game, the coach put up extra players and we weren’t handling [our responsibilities], with defenders making mistakes. We defended well when Hydel have their moments, and the goalkeeper stepped up today also, so it was a good performance,” said Hyde.
Double scorer Dixon says he was determined to put on a good show in the semi final.
“I’m the striker for the team. I know I have to put away some goals but I didn’t get to do that in the [daCosta Cup] semi-final against Garvey Maceo so I had to step up for my team.”
It wasn’t to be for Hydel’s Head Coach Devon Anderson who made the final in 2014 with Holy Trinity.
“It was a game that the team that made the least mistakes would have come out the winner,and it wasn’t us. We made a few critical mistakes in front of goal, they made a few. We had a chance to punish them, never did. Goals win matches. Once you don’t score and [instead] concede goals, you know how that go.”
“To be honest, I’m proud of my boys — win, lose or draw. We had to strategise. We came here today with a bit of tweaks and injuries; I had to shift things and protect my players. Nevertheless, credit to Clarendon, They played the better football.”
Clarendon College return to the National Stadium on Saturday to try to secure the all-island knockout competition for the second time, while Hydel turn their attention to the Manning Cup final set for Friday, December 8.