Inexperienced Cedar Grove being patient despite STATHS drubbing
STATHS Defender, Alexavier Gooden (top), outjumps the Cedar Grove players to score in their 7-0 win in the ISSA Manning Cup at the Boys' Town Playfield on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Cedar Grove Academy Head Coach Nicholas Wilson says that it will take some time before his team can be competitive in the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Manning Cup. This was after their 7-0 defeat to last season's beaten finalists St Andrew Technical High (STATHS) at the Boys' Town playfield on Tuesday.

In the 90 minutes of play, Cedar Grove spent most of the match in their own half and only managed one shot on target, which came in the 85th minute after conceding seven times.

Wilson says that preparation for the season hasn't been ideal but isn't overreacting after losing all four games and sitting bottom of the group.

"We've had a lot of off-the-field issues as it relates to some of the boys not being able to play, which made our squad thinner than it's supposed to be," Wilson said. "Many of these boys are playing football for the first time so it's a work in progress with our school's programme."

Cedar Grove won three games for the first time in the school's history last season, finishing fourth with 12 points in a competitive group behind eventual winners Jamaica College, St Catherine, and St Jago.

However, Wilson says an all-round effort will be needed if they are to ever make it out of a group stage.

"It's for the school, myself, and my staff to just get the boys in a little earlier, having them play football a lot more frequently, get them into some clubs," he said. "But again, many of my boys are youngsters; my goalkeeper is 13 years old!

"It's a bit difficult, we're new to the programme and it's now taking the youngsters from grade seven and eight to try to build them for this Manning Cup experience because, in truth, some of these boys won't be here next year and I'll need those grade sevens and eights to pull some weight next year. The programme is building, it's something we're looking forward to and to take it day by day."

STATHS Head Coach Philip Williams has played down his team's title favourites tag despite winning their fourth straight match.

"It's not something we wear or try to accept, [although] others and pundits might say that," he said. "We look at it as a team that has been doing the best with the limited resources that we have. I've been here since 2017 so the tag that is being attached is a combination of the hard work that we have been doing and the evidence that the programme is maturing."

STATHS remain top of Group D on 12 points, the same as Excelsior, but with a superior goal difference.

Tuesday's results:

STATHS 7, Cedar Grove 0

Bridgeport 0, Excelsior 2

Tarrant 0, Clan Carthy 1

St Mary's College 0, Holy Trinity 7

Penwood vs Camperdown - No game (Penwood arrived late, match officials had already left)

Cumberland 0, Spanish Town 2

Wednesday's Games (all games start at 3:30 pm except Charlie Smith vs KC)

Charlie Smith vs Kingston College @ Calabar (1:30 pm)

Calabar vs Hydel @ Calabar

Jamaica College vs Kingston Technical @ JC

Jose Marti vs St George's College @ Jose Marti

Ascott vs Wolmer's @ Ferdie Neita Park

Vauxhall vs St Jago @ Vauxhall

Mona High vs Edith Dalton @ Mona High

Tivoli vs Meadowbrook @ Tivoli High

Eltham vs Haile Selassie @ Eltham

Innswood vs Norman Manley @ Chedwin Park

Ardenne vs Campion College @ Ardenne

Donald Quarrie vs Papine @ Harbour View Mini Stadium

Pembroke Hall vs Waterford

Dunoon vs Denham Town

Greater Portmore vs Jonathan Grant

Cedar Grove goalkeeper Taquain Byfield (second left) trips STATHS attacker Kevin Hall (second right) inside the 18-yard box which led to a penalty. Joseph Wellington
BY DANIEL BLAKE Staff reporter blaked@jamaicaobserver.com

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