Glenmuir down gritty 10-man Clarendon College 3-2 to secure first hold on Champions Cup

By December 02, 2023
Glenmuir High celebrate their first Champions Cup title. Glenmuir High celebrate their first Champions Cup title. Sports of Jamaica

If ever there was a fitting way for a team to win the first title of the ISSA Schoolboy football season, it is to cop their first ever hold on that title, and Glenmuir High did just that when they snared the Champions Cup all-island knockout crown on Saturday.

The fact that Glenmuir achieved the feat by coming from behind to condemn their highly thought of neighbours Clarendon College to a first defeat of the season in an enthralling contest that ended 3-2, sweetened the deal, and the celebrations by the team and its fans which formed a sea of red in the Grandstand at the National Stadium, declared that much.

Ja-Son Whyte (27th), captain Kyle Gordon (53rd) and the menacing Orane Watson (82nd), etched Glenmuir's name in the annals of the competition's history, as they became the third rural area team to win the title and, more importantly, remain on course to secure the coveted treble.

They now join Jamaica College (2014 and 2022), St George’s College (2015), Wolmer's Boys (2016), Kingston College (2017 and 2019), Cornwall College (2018) and Clarendon College (2021) in the champions column.

Keheim Dixon (18th) and captain Malachi Douglas (90+5) got the goals for Clarendon College, who played most of the second half with 10 players after Nashon Bolt was red carded in the 51st minute.

Though elated, winning coach Andrew Peart cut a subdued figure, as he is aware that another tough battle against the same opposition for the more prestigious daCosta Cup title awaits.

 "To God be the glory, as I said at the start of the season, it is a three-year journey and so we are happy to be here as champions. The boys did well to come from behind and we couldn'task for a better fight," said Peart, who alps guided Glenmuir to Ben Francis triumph last season.

"We now have a one week break ahead of the next game. We know it's going to be tough, so we have to be better than we were today (Saturday), but this is one accomplishment achieved and so we prepare to fight for another, " he added.

It was always expected to be an entertaining encounter, and it didn't disappoint as both teams gave as good as they got from the start when they got off some early warning shots in their press for the early ascendancy.

Clarendon College eventually broke the deadlock when a decent team buildup sent Atibo Green down the right channel to play a perfect pass across the face of goal for Dixon to finish from close range.

They almost found a second in the 26th through Douglas, who found space inside the 18-yard box for a left-footed drive along the pitch, but Antwone Gooden got down well to his left to parry.

Glenmuir responded a minute later and were back on level terms courtesy of Whyte, who tucked away a firm right-footed effort from just about 20-yards out that left Roshae Burrell, in goal for Clarendon College, flat-footed and as a mere spectator.

Though they engaged in end-to-end action from there and created a few half chances, neither team was able to add to their tally as the score remained unchanged at the break.

Clarendon College was more purposeful at the top of the resumption, but their progress was thwarted six minutes in as Bolt was shown a straight red card by referee Steffon Dewar after he took out Orane Watson just inside the arc.

And if that wasn't bad enough, Gordon threw salt in Clarendon College's wounds with a firmly struck right-footer from the resulting freekick that gave Burrell no chance at a save.

With the numerical advantage and scoreline in their favour, Glenmuir enjoyed a decent passage of play, but failed to add to their tally at that point. 

Clarendon College were brave and instead of going defensive, Head coach Lenworth "Teacha" Hyde threw some fresh legs in attack, and the move almost proved fruitful as they went close on a few occasions through Douglas and Dixon.

In fact, they had two opportunities in quick succession in the 71st through Dixon, whose first effort from just inside the 18-yard box came off the left upright, and seconds later Douglas hit the right upright as the Chapleton-based team cursed their luck. To make matters worse, Glenmuir found a third when Burrell left his lines and made a big blunder which allowed Orane Watson to steal possession and calmly fire into an empty net from a distance.

Though down, Clarendon College fought on and pulled one back in time added, when Douglas converted from the 12-yard spot, after Dixon was brought down by Gooden inside the danger area. They went close to pulling level term on the final play of the game as Dixon rifled and effort from just inside the 18-yard box, but Gooden stood firm to deny the talismanic striker and sent the May Pen fans into frenzy.

Hyde, as always, lauded his team for their grit and determination despite the disadvantage.

"Even when we down to 10 players, we still created numerous chances and we could have won. So, hats off to my team, they fought hard, and it just wasn't to be, but we will get them replenished and motivated again for the daCosta Cup final," Hyde noted.

Sherdon Cowan

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

Related items

  • New York Red Bulls v Charlotte FC: Smith not worried about goalless run New York Red Bulls v Charlotte FC: Smith not worried about goalless run

    Charlotte FC head coach Dean Smith says his team will continue to work on their lack of goal threat as they prepare to travel to New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.

    Charlotte sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind the Red Bulls after going unbeaten in their last five matches.

    However, their last two outings have finished 0-0 against LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union as they managed just six shots on target combined in those games.

    Asked how he approaches a situation like that, Smith said: "We talk openly, review all the games and the fact is that we probably haven't worked the goalkeeper enough.

    "We've spoke about that and what we feel we can do to improve that. We've had chances, and we probably haven't done as well as we could do with those, so that's something we'll continue to work on

    "It's going to be a tough game [against the Red Bulls] because they're a tough team."

    The Red Bulls are coming off a 10-day break after their derby defeat to New York City FC on May 19, and sit fifth in the table.

    Head coach Sandro Schwarz said: "The performance [against NYCFC] wasn't the best, and we weren't able to create chances to score and to get three points.

    "We want more, and we have to improve a lot, but this is normal. We need time, but the mentality, the behaviour, they adapt very quick and very well.

    "We were disappointed to lose the derby game, but that happens. Heads up, we have to come back stronger and take the next opportunity."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New York Red Bulls – Cameron Harper

    Harper scored New York's lone goal in their last match, his third straight match with a goal. He is the first Red Bulls player to score in three straight regular-season matches since Patryk Klimala in 2021, and the last Red Bulls player to score in four straight league games was Bradley Wright-Phillips in July-August 2017.

    Charlotte – Kristijan Kahlina

    Charlotte have kept clean sheets in five consecutive regular-season matches, the only team to do so in MLS this season. The only team since 2008 to keep a clean sheet in six straight games within a single regular season was New York City FC in May 2022, and Kahlina will be looking to equal that record.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK RED BULLS WIN

    The Red Bulls have lost only one of their six all-time meetings with Charlotte in all competitions, a 2-0 road defeat in June 2022. New York have won three of their four home matches against Charlotte (D1), scoring multiple goals in each match, including a 5-2 win in last year's playoffs.

    The Red Bulls are unbeaten in eight straight home matches dating back to last season (W5 D3, incl. playoffs). New York have not had a longer home unbeaten run in MLS play since a nine-match run from August 2018 to March 2019.

    Meanwhile, Charlotte won 1-0 at Chicago in their last away match after a seven-match winless run on the road in all competitions. Charlotte have never recorded back-to-back away wins in all competitions before.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New York Red Bulls – 53%

    Draw – 23.9%

    Charlotte – 23.1%

  • Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC: Reds keep growing under Herdman Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC: Reds keep growing under Herdman

    Toronto FC head coach John Herdman admits his team still have some growing to do as they travel to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.

    Despite losing three of their last four MLS games – winning the other 5-1 at home to CF Montreal – Toronto sit sixth in the Eastern Conference on 22 points with a very balanced record.

    They have won seven and lost seven of their league games, drawing the other one, and have both scored and conceded 24 goals.

    After conceding late in their 4-3 loss to Cincinnati, Herdman says his team need to put more work into their defensive side of the game.

    "It's that level of concentration, that level of discipline that championship teams are able to bring to games," Herdman said.

    "Knowing your job and delivering your job in high-pressure moments where you stay concentrated for long periods of time, that was the message [this week].

    "I think collectively as a group they recognized it. And they welcomed it. They know we're growing. They know we’re on a bit of a journey."

    Philadelphia are four points off a final series place in eighth with 18 points and are unbeaten in their last two matches after failing to win any of the previous six.

    Asked about the test his side will face against Toronto, the Union head coach Jim Curtin said they are a "much-improved team.

    "Really well organized, really well coached. A dangerous team."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Philadelphia Union – Daniel Gazdag

    Gazdag has been involved in eight goals (four goals, four assists) in three home matches against Toronto FC, recording multiple goal contributions in each match.

    Toronto FC – Lorenzo Insigne

    After recording two assists against Montreal last week, Insigne had a goal and an assist on Saturday, the second player, along with Federico Bernardeschi, to contribute to multiple goals in consecutive matches for Toronto this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

    The Union have won each of their last four home matches against Toronto by a combined score of 16-2. Philadelphia had won just four of their first 11 home matches against the Reds (D3 L4).

    However, the Union have lost four consecutive home matches for the first time in club history. Philadelphia had suffered three defeats in their previous 59 matches at Subaru Park before this run.

    Meanwhile, Toronto nearly drew with FC Cincinnati on Saturday, losing 4-3 to a goal in the third minute of stoppage time. Toronto have drawn only one of their last 36 matches in all competitions dating back to last June (W11 L24).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Philadelphia Union – 67.7%

    Draw – 18.9%

    Toronto FC – 13.4%

  • Disheartening and gut-wrenching: Price condemns killing of former Boys' Town player Rafiek Thomas Disheartening and gut-wrenching: Price condemns killing of former Boys' Town player Rafiek Thomas

    President of Boys' Town Football Club Andrew Price says he is struggling to come to grip with the brutal slaying of former player Rafiek “Fari” Thomas, who was gunned down at his home  in Denham Town on Tuesday.

    It is reported that about 4:40am, unknown assailants gained access to Thomas’ residence, in the troubled West Kingston community, and shot him several times in his bed. Another man was also injured during the home invasion.

    Thomas, 40, was well-known for his goal scoring exploits in local football, especially during his time at Boys’ Town and Tivoli Gardens. He also represented Harbour View, Waterhouse, and Humble Lion throughout his career, before returning to the Boys’ Town. He scored the match-winning goal for the Collie Smith Drive-based club when they copped the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Wray and Nephew Championship last season.

    They retained the title with a penalty shoot-out win over Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) on Sunday, but their celebrations were cut short by the tragic news, which has plunged the football fraternity  into mourning.

    Price expressed condolence to Thomas’s family and friends, as he remembered the player as passionate, inspirational and humble.

    “It is so sad when you hear another life snuffed out through crime and violence in inner city communities. Rafiek Thomas was an inspirational player, very skillful, and a prolific goal scorer. I enjoyed coaching him. He was a gem to coach, always unassuming, humble individual, so I'm taking this very, badly to awake to this type of news after the club's triumphant Sunday night it is just really disheartening and gut-wrenching,” Price said.

    “Such a talented individual; he was always willing to assist, to impress, to guide the youngsters and even at his age, he was still a prolific goal scorer. One of the last goals he scored was a year ago in the finals of the Championship against Constant Spring. So we will remember Rafiek for how passionate he was both on and off the field. It's sad to hear that his life has ended in this tragic manner and it reinforces the need to engage football as a socializing effect in communities,” he added.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.