Gilbert hails XLCR's champions' mentality
Denham Town's Deshanna Allen (left) tries to get away from Excelsior's Destiny Powell during the ISSA/Tip Friendly Society girls' football quarter-finals match at Excelsior High on Monday. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

Excelsior High Head Coach Xavier Gilbert has hailed the attitude of his players after the defending champions displayed their class in a 15-1 dismantling of Denham Town High in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Tip Friendly Society girls' football quarter-finals match on Monday.

Playing at their Mountain View home ground, defending champions Excelsior had an eighth-minute lead when Denham Town's Natoya Atkinson scored an own goal.

Excelsior Captain Shaneil Buckley doubled Excelsior's advantage in the 11th minute before Ricquanna Richards grabbed the first of her four goals in the 13th minute. Richards' other goals came in the 31st, 51st, and 67th minutes.

Cassandra Smith added her name six times on the scoresheet with successful strikes in the 15th, 20th, 23rd, 28th, 35th, and 57th minutes.

Destiny Powell (46th minute) and Akelia Johnson (45th) scored with powerful shots from close range, while Shakira Richards put the icing on the cake for Excelsior when she easily converted from the penalty spot in the 69th minute of the 80-minute encounter.

Denham did try, and were rewarded a consolation in the second minute of stoppage time when Richana Barrett's free kick from just outside of the box beat Schenell Goodhall in goal for Excelsior.

"To be honest, I think we made the victory look easy. We put them on the back foot pretty early, and then they had to react to it, and I don't think they reacted well. Their main threat [Natoya Atkinson] had to go around the back, and so it became a little more comfortable for us. I think the first half was very good. I have to give the girls credit as they were up for this challenge, and I think they did well," Gilbert told the Jamaica Observer.

Delano Campbell, the head coach of Denham Town, said that it's back to the drawing board for his team with the focus on the remaining two games in the quarter-finals.

"The performance today was one of our worst performances, ever. We came out of a tough battle with STATHS (St Andrew Technical) over two legs in the round of 16 and we are still nursing a lot of injuries, and some of the girls are also getting this flu that is going around, so we would have come here with a little more depleted squad.

"We still have time, and we will regroup, but definitely, we are going back to the training ground. We still have six points to collect from the two remaining games, and so that's what we are going for right now," Campbell said.

Ruddy Allen

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