Williams pleased with Charlie Smith's grit after rebound win over CalabarSaturday, November 27, 2021
Charlie Smith High gave themselves a fighting chance to advance to the quarterfinals of the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup competition with a hard-earned 1-0 win over Calabar High at the Stadium East Field on Friday.
When the fixtures were released for this truncated season, Group A was immediately declared the “group of death”, and after each match day, it is proving more and more to be just that.
After losing to Bridgeport High earlier in the week, Charlie Smith found themselves in a must-win situation and were able to answer the call, while simultaneously seriously denting the hopes of their opponents.
At the end of the matchday, Charlie Smith found themselves in second place in Group A, levelled on nine points with group leaders Kingston Technical, but trailing on goal difference.
For head coach Eugene Williams, the result typified what Charlie Smith has always been about.
“This is the true fighting spirit and you saw how we played with grit and dedication,” he declared. “We told them that we had to dig deep. Every player out there was helping every player. This is not an individual sport, this is a team sport,” Williams continued.
The first-time head coach is certain that his team possesses the requisite skill sets to do well but says it is the importance of teamwork that they need to embrace.
“We always tell them that the talent that we have, if we can put that together and play as a team, as a unit, we will get results like this.”
The significance of the win was not lost on Williams as his team gets closer to ending the preliminary round of the competition.
“These three points are very, very important, these three points go a long way for us,” he said.
At this point, he has no fear of who lies ahead and is preparing his charges to deliver in their final group game.
“Any team that comes in front of us, we are prepared to play them. On the given day we play that team to get three points.”
Meanwhile, their goal-scoring hero Andre Gibbs could not hide his delight at securing the win that extended their season.
“We lost the game against Bridgeport High and we decided that we needed this win today and we did that. It's a great feeling because we needed it, we did it today and we are going home and celebrate together.”
It was Gibbs' first goal ever in the Manning Cup and he is hoping for even more success before the season ends.
“It's a great feeling to score a goal in the Manning Cup, my first goal…I am just going to continue to work hard, stay disciplined and hopefully we win more games.”
Charlie Smith will have a week to prepare for their final group game against St George's College next week Saturday and even though they can reach a maximum of 12 points with a win, are still not guaranteed a top-two finish and an automatic spot in the quarterfinal round.