Mona cruise by Wolmer's for Group E control
Domonic Atkinstall (front) of Wolmer's Boys fends off a challenge from Mona High's Dante Peralto during their ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup Group E encounter at Stadium East yesterday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Though it was not their most polished performance, Mona High's Head Coach Craig Butler feels satisfied that his team extended its unbeaten run in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup even while not yet at their optimum.

For Butler, Mona's 3-1 win over Wolmer's Boys in their Group E top-of-the-table clash at Stadium East was not only testament to how far they have come, but also to the quality they possess, as they hope to upset the applicant in this year's competition.

Zhaine Pinnock (sixth), Romarion Thomas (45th) and Donhue Mitchell (81st) ensured that Mona took their tally to five wins on the trot, while condemning Wolmer's Boys to their first defeat of the campaign.

Substitute Caton Daley (85th) got the consolation for the Heroes' Circle-based team.

With maximum 15 points, Mona are well on the way to the second round and this Butler said is the first step of their objective.

"I'm pleased with the performance, even though I think we could have done much better. But because we had a lot of cramps an injuries it broke us down and that resulted in the mistake which caused the one goal that could have been avoided," Butler told the Jamaica Observer.

"But these boys will continue to raise their games because if you look at the statistics all season we knew it was going to be a three-plus-goals game and they delivered that.

"So we expect more of the same because we want to win the competition and open up opportunities for players to get scholarships, but win, lose or draw the objective remains the same," he added.

It was a frantic start by Mona as they quickly forced Wolmer's into a defensive posture and required just six minutes to break the deadlock when Pinnock lashed home.

Though they were contained soon after Wolmer's settled, Mona continued to play well in patches and inevitably pushed further ahead when Thomas rifled a ferocious right-footer from over 20 yards out that gave Wolmer's goalkeeper Roan Melford no chance at a save just before the break.

Wolmer's started more purposeful on the resumption and almost pulled one back five minutes in, but Jahmani Bell's well-struck right-footer went straight at goalkeeper Akeem Bernard.

Mona responded shortly after through Kshaine Gordon, who went on the break but had his effort charged down by the advancing Melford.

Bell again went close in the 64th minute but was again left in despair as his well-taken freekick from an angle was equally well-saved by Bernard, who got down in time at his near post.

After being kept quiet for a brief period, Mona woke from their slumber and should have extended their lead on two occasion, but for faulty shooting and poor decision-making on the part of Gordon.

The player sporting the number seven jersey first steered a left-footed shot wide of the target from close range and minutes later was hesitant in pulling the trigger, allowing Melford time to leave his line to thwart his progress.

However, Gordon was given a reprieve when he won a penalty for Mona after drawing a foul from Ravaughn Rainford in the danger area. Mitchell calmly converted the 12-yard kick to put the game beyond doubt.

Wolmer's eventually pulled one back through Daley, who buried a rebound after another substitute, Jevonte Tulloch's initial shot was blocked by Bernard five minutes from time.

Wolmer's Boys head coach Jerome Waite says the loss was a mere bump in the road that they will recover from.

"These guys need to understand the importance of concentrating from the first whistle because that is where we lost the game. They didn't deliver as expected but we will regroup and come again.

Earlier, Camperdown High signalled some semblance of a resurgence as they came from behind to secure a 1-1 stalemate with Hydel High in a contest where chances were at a premium.

Keyani Jackson's sixth-minute strike sent Hydel in front, but Jardel Williams (84th) ensured Camperdown a share of the spoils.

Today's games

Group C

Bridgeport v Tivoli @Dunbeholden

Haile Selassie v Edith Dalton @ Haile Selassie

Vauxhall v Charlie Smith @Vauxhall

Group F

Campion College v Excelsior @ Campion College

Jose Marti v Clan Carthy @Jose Marti

Kingston Technical v Cumberland @Kingston Technical

*All games start at 3:30 pm

Sherdon Cowan

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