New Manning Cup champion to be crowned as STGC deny JC; Hydel secures other semi-final spot

By November 11, 2023
Hydel's Head coach Devon Anderson (left) and Neville "Bertis" Bell of St George's College. Hydel's Head coach Devon Anderson (left) and Neville "Bertis" Bell of St George's College.

A new champion will be crowned in this year’s ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup, as St George’s College denied defending champions Jamaica College a spot in the semi-final for the first time since 2012, after they played out a 1-1 stalemate in their decisive Group two quarterfinal encounter at Ashenheim Stadium on Saturday.

St George’s College entered the contest needing only a point and did enough to ensure they got in when Brian Burkett converted a 45+3-minute penalty. Though Jamaica College pulled on back through substitute Jayd Johnson (59th), stout defending, coupled with some excellent glove work by D’Jone Davis, in goal for St George’s College, broke the hearts of their Old Hope Road-based counterparts.  

With the point, St George’s College finished second on five points, two behind group winners Hydel High, who were 3-1 winners over Tivoli High in their fixture at the Spanish Town Prison Oval.

Both St George’s College and Hydel will next face Mona High and Kingston College respectively in the semi-final, with all four teams also set to represent the urban area in the all-island Champions Cup knockout tournament.

Meanwhile, Jamaica College, who ended third on three points, it is on to the consolation Walker Cup knockout tournament, along with the pointless Tivoli, who are defending champions.

Marcel Gayle, assistant coach of many-time champions St George’s College was delighted by the outcome, which he credited to the work done by goalkeeper Davis, in particular.

“I must say credit to Jamaica College, they are a very quality team, fought hard, and it is something that we were prepared for. It was a case of defence versus attack and we defended stoutly, credit must be given to D’Jone in goal, he was fantastic and I think he made the difference for us today,” Gayle said in a post-game interview.

With 53 titles between them, the clash between Jamaica College and Jamaica College was always expected to be a humdinger affair and it didn’t disappoint.

The games started at a good tempo with both teams going at each other in end-to-end action. Jamaica College gradually gained the ascendancy, as they showed more enterprise in attack which resulted in numerous squandered chances.

They should have opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Jabarie Howell was left unmarked deep inside the 18-yard box, but his shot kept out by Davis.

A minute later Jamoy Dennis produced a tidy run down the right channel and played a pass inside to Amarlie King, who couldn’t sort his feet out in time to get a shot on target.

Jamaica College again went close in the 24th when Malachi Sterling combined with King on a counterattack, but the latter again muffed his effort.

The “Dark Blues” of Old Hope Road, thought they had the go-ahead goal on the half-hour mark, but the goal was flagged offside.

As St George’s College struggled to break free, Jamaica College was again denied by Davis, who left his line well to block Tahir Lawrence’s stinging shot from point blank range, in the 35th minute.

Just when it seemed like the teams would go into the break goalless, the “Light Blues” of North Street found the lead against the run of play when Burkett converted from the penalty spot, after Zabir Taylor was felled inside the area by Javaun Mills.

Having paid for their profligacy, Jamaica College now requiring two goals to progress, again came out pressing on the resumption and pulled level 14 minutes in. This, as Johnson got in behind defenders and applied a tidy finish beyond Davis from an angle.

The Davion Ferguson-coached Jamaica College continued to create chances in their push for the winner. The best of those came in the latter stages when Johnson’s freekick was blocked by Davis and three players converged on the rebound but none could convert in time added.

That basically summed up Jamaica College’s Day, and Ferguson was left bitterly disappointed.

“We came out here today with a plan, we created enough chances to win the game and we just didn’t put them away. We’ve had some issues up to and it showed here today. St George’s came here with a resilient spirit, and they deserve to go through, so congratulations to them,” he said.

Saturday’s results

St George’s College 1, Jamaica College 1

Hydel High 3, Tivoli High 1

Semi-Final Matchups

Mona High vs St George's College

Hydel High vs Kingston College

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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