Another all-Clarendon affair
Edwin Allen, Glenmuir to contest Ben Francis KO final

SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Another all-Clarendon affair is set to decide top honours for the ISSA/Digicel Ben Francis Knockout competition, as defending champions Edwin Allen and Glenmuir High will contest the final after registering contrasting victories in their respective semi-finals here at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex on Wednesday.

A brace from David Reid (13th and 64th minutes) propelled Glenmuir High above first-time semi-finalists York Castle High and ensured they remain on course to add to their six titles, the last of which was won in 2009. The others were in 1993, 1994, 1999, 2004, and 2005.

Edwin Allen for their part made light work of former champions Rusea's High in a lopsided 3-0 scoreline in the feature contest of the double-header.

Tajae Thomas (2nd), Clayton Peck (16th) and Alwayen Bryan (48th) got the job done for the Frankfield-based team bubbling with confidence heading into Saturday's finale which will serve as a prelude to the other Clarendon derby between Clarendon College and Central High for the DaCosta Cup.

Edwin Allen Head Coach Tafari Burton believes his team's confidence stem from their growth throughout the season.

"You have to make winning a habit and 75 per cent of them are playing for the first time and this is their 18th game and they got better overtime, so I think that's where the confidence comes from. From here it's all about keeping them focused and grounded," Burton said in a post-game interview.

It was a frantic start by Edwin Allen, who wasted little time to get on the scoresheet when Thomas waltzed his way into the attacking third and drove a right-footer from just outside the 18-yard box, beating goalkeeper Chadwyck Campbell at his near post.

It was almost as if Thomas's eighth goal of the season gave his teammates some licence of sorts, as they showed confidence and flair on the ball, dazzling Rusea's defenders who struggled to cope.

They doubled the lead in the 16th minute when Peck converted his seventh goal of the season with a well-taken left-footed free kick from just over 20 yards out that again bettered the hapless Campbell at his near post.

After creating a few more openings which they failed to put away before the interval, Edwin Allen picked up where they left off on the resumption and pushed further ahead three minutes in.

This time it was Bryan who went on the break, flicking the ball over a defenders head before firing home from close range.

Edwin Allen could have and should have increased their tally, as they certainly created the chances to do so, but their finishing in the final third lacked the quality of their build-ups.

Rusea's tried to play their game and had a few chances, particularly in the latter stages but couldn't make them count.

Earlier, York Castle who took the scalp of two former champions in St Elizabeth Technical and Dinthill Technical to get to the last four, failed to replicate those performances and were soundly put in their place by Glenmuir.

Though it was a contest in which chances were at a premium, Glenmuir handled the warm afternoon conditions best as they broke the deadlock when Reid breached York Castle's defence and fired past the advancing

Kyle Gordon, who provided the first goal, served up another assist 14 minutes later; however, Deandre Johnson went for power instead of placement and skied the effort from goalmouth.

Fortunately for them, York Castle offered very little in attack and they were able to double the lead in the second half when Gordon again provided a pass across goal on a platter for Reid, who made no mistakes.

Gordon, sporting the number 10 jersey, could have got on the scoresheet but fired his 78th-minute effort on the crossbar.

Winning Coach Andrew Peart lauded his team for their workmanlike display.

"Brilliant performance, we managed the conditions very well and after we scored the second goal we realised we could manage the game without being so intense. So we can now go back and pick out what we did well and what we didn't and work on improving ourselves so we can be ready for whoever comes," he said.

BURTON...from here it's all about keeping them focused and grounded (Photo: Paul Reid)
Sherdon Cowan

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