CLARENDON, Jamaica—Andrew Peart was a happy man on Saturday after his Glenmuir team ended the long unbeaten run of Clarendon College in the ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup football competition.
The last time Clarendon College lost a game in the daCosta Cup was in 2017 as they went unbeaten in claiming back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019, before the competition was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19.
Glenmuir had lost their two previous games in the competition heading into the game against Clarendon College and so would not have been given much of a chance against the champions.
But as the old adage goes, 'goals win matches' and on Saturday, one was all it took for Glenmuir to 'do the impossible' and stop the champions dead in their tracks.
Peart, who is also Head of Coaching Education at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), hailed the performance of his players as “excellent” at the end of a grueling 90 minutes of football.
“It was an excellent performance from the boys. The previous two games (we lost) we played against teams who were physically more superior than us. They have a two-year age difference and that level of maturity showed, but we looked at it and knew that we had to match up physically better with the teams that we are playing and we did that today,” he said.
The former Premier League coach said that tactically, they got is spot on against the champions who are coached by the veteran Lenworth Hyde.
“We denied Clarendon College spaces to play through the middle of the field and forced them wide and that really helped us,” he argued.
A superb free kick from Tajaray Mahabeer in the 27
minute settled the match as a contest and gave Glenmuir three crucial points that have now given them a real chance of advancing to the quarter-final round.
Peart was pleased with the goal from his diminutive winger.
“It was an excellent goal from Tajaray Mahabeer and we managed to see out the game with some level of possession and then for the last 20 minutes we defended stoutly,” he stated.
The win moved Glenmuir to nine points, one behind Clarendon College and Edwin Allen and two behind group leaders Lennon High, which puts them in good stead to make it to the quarter-finals.
“This is a moral boosting win for us. We needed to win as a matter of fact, because going into the two playoff games we wanted to close the gap between ourselves and the teams in front. We are still in it to go through and that's what we want. We just need the boys to fight,” he said.
Peart noted that his team is a young one with time on their side as they continue to work on a long-term project.
“It's really a developmental year for them because the majority of our team is between 16 and 17 years old. We brought on two 15 years old players who did excellent and I must commend them for an all-around team performance.”
Peart and his players will now turn their attention to the playoffs, which will determine the two teams to advance to the quarter-finals.
“Beating any defending champion is always moral boosting and now it's to digest this one then also look forward to the ones that are coming because those are teams that we play against before and we will have to analyse how we match up against them to eventually get the wins in the next games,” he argued.
The Group E playoffs begin on Tuesday November 30 and conclude on Friday December 3.
On Tuesday, Lennon High will play Glenmuir High, while Edwin Allen will play Clarendon College and then on Friday Clarendon College will play Lennon High, while Glenmuir will play Edwin Allen. The times and venues are to be announced. All teams will carry over their points from the preliminary stages to the playoffs.