Mona High turned in a workmanlike performance to edge St Catherine 2-1 atop Group E in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup at Mona on Saturday.
Denzel McKenzie scored for Mona in the 60th and 82nd minutes. Kadean Young scored for St Catherine in the 61st minute. Mona ended the match with 10 players as Robino Gordon was sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the 90th minute.
Mona, who are unbeaten in the competition, lead the group with 12 points from four matches. St Catherine, who were suffering their first defeated of the season, are second in the group with nine points from four matches.
Mona Head Coach Craig Butler says he is pleased with the performance because they had to work very hard to win the game.
"I think it was an excellent performance for us," he said. "At the beginning of the game we soaked up a lot of pressure from St Catherine because they were riding high and they were leading the group, but I think that this game showed that we have depth in the squad and it showed that we have good defensive abilities as well.
"I think that my boys showed a lot of courage and a lot heart, but it was really a team effort, so we just want to continue to play our game because we need to show our pressing game and also that we can keep the ball. Once we do that, then we should be fine this season."
St Catherine Head Coach Anthony Patrick says his team played well despite the defeat.
"I think that we played really well because this is a young team and some of them are very inexperienced at this level," he said.
"I think that I just need my team to be a little tougher because we are not playing with that mental toughness as we are depending on our raw talents to take us through."
The first half of the game was lacklustre as both teams failed to create any meaningful scoring opportunities. In fact, the best scoring chance fell to Gordon, but he headed wide of the target from 10 yards out.
Both teams came out looking much better in the second half as they both created several early scoring opportunities. However, it was Mona who took the lead when McKenzie fired home a beautiful 25-yard free-kick, which went like a rocket past goalkeeper Omarion Brown and into the back of the net.
However, Mona's celebration had hardly died down when Young stunned the home side with the equaliser for St Catherine with a spectacular long-range effort against the run of play.
McKenzie, who has been one of the standout players in the Manning Cup so far this season, notched the winner for Mona eight minutes from full time when he dribbled around three St Catherine defenders inside the 18-yard box to fire home past Brown.
Hydel 1 Charlie Smith 0
Kingston College 14 Penwood 0
Calabar 5 Camperdown 2
Mona 2 St Catherine 1