MALDON, St James — Maldon High have scored seven goals in their last three games while recording two wins and a draw, and while for some teams that output is ordinary, for the school based in south St James, it must feel like a flood of goals.
Maldon High failed to score a single goal in all seven games of the 2021 season and started this season with a 0-2 loss at Cornwall College and even then they were flattered by the scoreline.
A come-from-behind 1-1 result with 10 players against St James High seemed to have flicked a switch, snapping a 16-game losing skid which dated back to September 2019.
Since that draw they have used home advantage to full effect with a 4-1 win over last-placed Anchovy High and a 2-1 win over Cornwall College that has dented the former champions' hopes of getting out of the first round.
On Monday they will be at home again against unbeaten zone leaders Irwin High.
But Coach Dillion Thelwell is not daunted, noting that his players are beginning to trust their skills and dare to dream of advancing to the second round.
"I think it was a good start for us this year, unlike last year," he told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday.
"Last year we were not allowed to prepare, it was COVID times and at no time did we have enough players for a training session. At times we would have five or six or even just four players coming to training," he said.
This year they were able to put all the proper preparations in place and it is beginning to bear fruit, he said.
"We were able to get all our players out from the start of training in June, we had a nine-week camp that really helped and it was a steady process coming into the season," adding that "lack of confidence" affected them earlier in the season.
Thelwell said the turnaround in fortunes started only when he was able to get them to start believing.
"They are slowly believing that they can play well against anyone. They are physically fit but it is still a work in progress mentally.
"It's one game at a time, but we must believe that we can get to the next round for it to happen," he said.