ST Catherine High defended their Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association Walker Cup crown, edging Kingston Technical High School (KTHS) 1-0 in the 2021-22 final at Stadium East on Saturday.
Second-half substitute Dillion Richards scored the winner in the 89th minute to provide his team with a repeat hold on the urban area's second-tier schoolboy football title.
It was a deserved win for St Catherine High, who got the majority of the opportunities in the match before eventually finding the late goal.
“We started the game on the front burner and we created a few chances. We left it late, but we really fought hard... we got one goal and that was enough,” said St Catherine High Head Coach Anthony Patrick.
“I got a little bit frustrated because we got so many chances, but better late than never [to] get the winning goal,” he added.
It was almost a fairy-tale end for KTHS, who had lost 0-5 to Mona High in the Walker Cup semi-finals but were handed a lifeline when the latter school was booted from the competition for using two players who should have sat out that match due to card suspensions.
Shaun Charlton, the KTHS head coach, told the Jamaica Observer he was proud of his players despite them conceding near the end of full time.
“These young men showed that they wanted to be here, and it's just unfortunate that we gave up a goal in the last few minutes,” he said.
“We should have executed from chances when we created them, and in defence, we lost concentration and didn't mark properly. We got too defensive as players tried to run the clock down, hoping for penalties,” the KTHS coach explained
In sapping early afternoon heat at the venue, both sides were guilty of disjointed play for long spells.
But Spanish Town-situated St Catherine High, who won the competition when it was last held in 2019, carried most of the attacking thrust from the opening half, though they were often wasteful when in promising positions.
The Hanover Street-based KTHS, champions in 1962 and 1981, stubbornly held firm and threatened on the odd occasion but lacked the necessary cutting edge.
The second half was mostly the same, with play concentrated in Kingston Technical's half.
St Catherine's pressure paid off in the dying embers when, after sustained possession, Nathel Ellis put a right-footed cross from the left side into the 18-yard box.
Ellis's effort picked out Richards, who had entered the fray in minute 53, for him to leap the highest to plant his header past substitute KTHS goalkeeper Kerron Grant.
— Sanjay Myers