EXCELSIOR High School Head Coach Keon Broderick says poor officiating contributed to his team's 4-1 defeat to last season's beaten finalists St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS), in their top-of-the-table Group D clash on Saturday in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in St Andrew on Saturday.
STATHS controlled the majority of the contest and were led by a brace from striker Leon Brown, and second-half strikes from Kalonji Watson and Andre Salmon.
Jkivann Salmon netted for Excelsior in the 75th minute but it only proved to be a consolation.
Broderick credited STATHS for their performance but feels they got away with some infringements.
"I thought STATHS was very aggressive in the way that they pressed, and in being aggressive you will commit a few fouls," he said. "I thought the referee could have made a few calls as it relates to the fouls which he did not call, and it cost us one or two goals in the game. But, such is the nature [of football]."
He has also urged his team to develop better focus, after giving up goals in the first two minutes of the first and second half.
"We have to be more consistent in keeping possession of the ball, just so we can pull out quality teams like STATHS," he said. "Conceding early in both halves was detrimental to the team, and we just have to keep the concentration high."
While pleased with the results, STATHS Head Coach Philip Williams wants his team to address major components of their game.
"Composure and decision-making is very important," he said. "We're gonna have games that are going to be closer than this, and the difference between scoring and not scoring is having some of amount of composure and decision-making. That is an area we definitely need to work on."
STATHS are now five wins from five, scoring 30 goals so far and conceding just once. But Williams is not jumping the gun in their quest for the title.
"We're just going game by game," he said. "We play what is in front of us, and what we stress on is consistency of quality. There's a long way to go — you have to play about 23 matches to win the Manning Cup — so we're not getting ahead of ourselves. We're just focusing on the first round and the next opponent."
Some of Saturday's games were affected by rain. This included the matchup involving defending champions Jamaica College whose game against hosts Meadowbrook was called off after just 10 minutes, with the game goalless.