Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan

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

It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold, and Clarendon College reminded neighbours Glenmuir High of the famous saying with a 6-2 pounding in an electrifying ISSA/Wata daCosta Cup showpiece, to retain their title at the National Stadium on Saturday.

After going down 2-3 to Glenmuir in the ISSA Champions Cup last week, Clarendon College would have been mindful that vengeance is more satisfying when not inflicted immediately, and almost as if possessed, they produced what could be regarded as the most clinical schoolboy football showing in recent times.

A delightful hat-trick from the prolific Keheim Dixon (2nd, 21st, 90+3), a brace from Jahmelle Ashley (9th, 38th) and one from Deandre Gallimore (67th), propelled the Chapelton-based team to its 11th title, adding to those won in 1977, 1978, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

Romario Thompson’s 63rd-minute own-goal, and Orel Miller (75th) were Glenmuir’s consolations.

It was also the first time a team scored six goals in a daCosta Cup final in recent times, bettering the previous 5-0 scoreline between Garvey Maceo and Mannings High in 2021.

For Head coach Lenworth “Teacha” Hyde, it was sweet redemption for his team and one which they dedicated to trainer, who was absent due to illness.

“I am very happy and elated, I am happy for the players mostly this one is dedicated to Junior Samuels out trainer, her is not here, he is very ill, and the players were hell-bent that they would come out here and leave everything on the pitch and that’s what they did. They worked very hard for this and the loss the other day made them even hungrier, so it was easy to get them pumped and it showed in their display,” Hyde said in his post-game interview.

With their Champions Cup five-goal thriller whetting the appetites of football enthusiasts, there was never a doubt that the rematch would fail to serve up a treat, and the large turnout in the grandstand, complemented by those in the bleachers, proved that much.

Unlike the Champions Cup when they played the patient game, Clarendon College were in no mood to wait on this occasion and declared their intentions in a frantic start.

They broke the deadlock with only two minutes on the clock as captain Malachi Douglas and Ashley combined in a build-up that paved the way for Dixon to fire home from close range.

Before Glenmuir could catch their breaths, they were two goals down, as Dixon forced a turnover to Douglas, who pass into the 18-yard box inadvertently got to Ashley at the far post, and the player sporting the number nine jersey fired in the roof of the net.

With Glenmuir struggling to contend with their pace, Clarendon College pressed the ascendancy, stretching the opponents defence, but came up empty at that point as Christopher Hull shot wide, and minutes later Glenmuir’s custodian Antwone Gooden, denied Dixon.

Glenmuir eventually came into their own and should have pulled one back in the 20th when Orane Watson dismissed defender and had enough time and space to pick a spot, but somehow hit his effort over the cross bar.

He was left ruing that missed opportunity a minute later when Ashley sent Dixon on his way, and the number 13 dismissed a defender, as well as the advancing Gooden to fire in his 30th goal of the season, and put Clarendon College 3-0 up.

In the 28th Watson went on another break for Glenmuir, but his attempt was charged down by Clarendon College’s Roshae Burrell, who left his line well in the one-on-one situation.

And before long, Ashley added another to Clarendon College’s tally, when he expertly headed in a weighted cross from Ateibo Green to make it 4-0 at the break.

Down, and faced with a mountainous task, Glenmuir came out more purposeful on the resumption and were rewarded for their efforts three minutes past the hour mark, courtesy of Thompson’s own-goal.

However, the celebrations were short-lived, as Clarendon College restored the four goal cushion four minutes later through Gallimore’s well-struck right-footer from the top of the arc that left Gooden beaten all ends up.

Glenmuir continued to show fight, and notched a second goal in 75th. Clarendon College’s defenders failed to deal with an Orane Watson cross which allowed Miller to pounce and finish.

But Clarendon College and their point man Dixon had one more in the bag, which came through a brilliant solo effort in which he slipped by four defenders before firing a right-footer past the hapless Gooden, for his 31st goal of the season, in time added.

Glenmuir’s Head coach Andrew Peart felt his team lost it from the start.

“I thought we had the worst possible start; we planned for them coming high up the field that’s why we had two strikers, but poor decision to play the ball short into the middle of the field cost us. That was the start that Clarendon College wanted because they are a rhythm team, and they want to be up early. Second half, we were a bit more controlled, but it was just a good start, and we just couldn’t get back to them from there,” Peart noted.

Clarendon College will next face Manning Cup champions Mona High for the Olivier Shield, at Glenmuir’s field on Wednesday.

McGrath High became the fourth school to win the ISSA/Wata Ben Francis knockout title since the change in format, as they edged Frome Technical 1-0 in a lively final at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Dante Anderson's 32nd-minute strike was enough to get the Linstead-based team over the line, and saw them join Charlemont, BB Coke and Edwin Allen as first-time champions.

Winning coach Jermaine Thomas was over the moon about his team’s accomplishment.

"I am happy and elated because we worked really hard for this. I also want to take time out to say rest in peace to Gibbs “Gibbo” Williams, he was an important part of my life and the reason why I went to college, so I wish he was here to witness this moment,” Thomas said.

“But congrats to the boys, they played well, we have been playing well all season, the last game we lost was to Christiana in the Round of 16, and we haven’t lost since then. So, I must commend the boys and the entire school community for the support,” he added.

It was a closely contested affair in which both teams threatened in open play and had their fair share of opportunities to break the deadlock.

McGrath went closest in the 32nd when a well-taken David Hutchinson freekick, was equally well-saved by Oral Davis diving full stretch to his right, in Frome Technical’s goal.

Frome responded soon after but Dwayne Watt’s shot from close range, was parried by Joel Davis, in goal for McGrath, as they remained scoreless at the break.

However, McGrath eventually found what turned out to be the match-winning goal five minutes into the resumption when Devone Davis picked up possession and played a pass off to Anderson, who applied a tidy finish, beating Oral Davis at his near post.

It was end-to-end action from there with McGrath looking to add to their tally, while Frome Technical pressed for the elusive equaliser. In fact, the Westmoreland-based team showed more in the attacking third in the latter stages, as they used the wide channels to good effect to provide services inside the danger area.

The tactic almost bore fruit in 74th when Akeem Kongal’s weighted cross was met by Jamaro Grant, who rose above defenders, but the effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by defender Isaac Mason to keep his team’s lead intact, and they saw off Frome from there.

Frome Technical’s Head coach Cleighton Stevens was gracious in defeat.

"First I have to say congratulations to McGrath on their victory, my boys put up a good fight, but it just wasn't our day. It was still a successful season and we just have to build on it going forward,” he said. 

Craig Butler stressed the term unification of purpose, and also spoke highly of Mona High’s pride throughout the season. To some, it may have even seemed arrogant when he declared that there was no school in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup to beat his team this year, and on Friday, Butler not only proved the doubters wrong, but more importantly, backed up the talk.

In only his third season in charge, Butler guided Mona High to its maiden schoolboy football title, as they edged Hydel High 1-0 in an entertaining final at the National Stadium.

Demarion Harris got the all-important goal that ensured Mona High became the 15th school to hold the emblem of urban area schoolboy football supremacy. They now join Jamaica College, St George’s College, Kingston College, Wolmer’s Boys, Excelsior High, Tivoli High, Calabar High, Charlie Smith, Camperdown High, Norman Manley High, Bridgeport High, Dunoon Technical, Ardenne High and St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS), in achieving the feat.

It is also the first time in 22 years that a new team’s name is etched on the title, as for the last 17 years, in particular, the Manning Cup has resided on North Street and Old Hope Road.

An emotionally Butler attributed the team’s success to the bond that they share.

“This is what love does, love conquers all things. Look at what they gave us on the field today, all heart fight for the entire game, they wanted this, and they got it, so we are very proud…Mona pride. This is about believing in youth and having faith in yourselves, believing in your system and playing to your strengths.

“That’s what these boys did, none of these boys were ever called for Jamaica’s Under-15, Under-17 and under-20, nobody wanted them and look how good they are.  Look how Mona played, systematic right through,” Butler said in a post-game interview.

After a fairly cagey start, Mona injected some tempo into the contest with a tidy build-up which started with a long pass out by goalkeeper Akeem Bernard and ended with Kshaine Gordon playing a pass inside for Harris to fire home from deep inside the 18-yard box, for his fifth of the season.

Mona should have doubled the lead in the 16th, as Carlton Brown was left unmarked deep inside the area but steered his header, from Romarion Thomas’s cross, wide of the left upright.

Hydel belatedly came to life in attack and were enterprising in their build-up play in patches but couldn’t produce anything meaningful to beat Bernard in goal for Mona High.

Mona looked more threatening in open play after the interval, and bossed possession for the most parts, but found Hydel’s defence in a defiant mode.

It wasn’t until the backend of the contest that they got efforts on target, the first of which was in the 86th when Thomas produced a delightful first touch to get around defender and unleash a stinging right-footed effort that rattled the crossbar.

The second came seconds later through Gordon’s follow-up effort that was parried by Tajarie Lee.

For the fifth time in recent years, Jamaica College and St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) had to be separated by penalties, and for the fifth time, Jamaica College toppled their perennial rivals.

The Old Hope Road-based team registered a 7-6 sudden death shootout win over their Bumper Hall-based opponents, after both played out a 1-1 stalemate in a keenly contested ISSA/Digicel Walker Cup final at the National Stadium on Friday.

Leon Brown gave STATHS a fifth-minute lead, but that was cancelled out by Jamaica College’s captain Renson Sayers Jr (59th), and from there the Davion Ferguson-coached “Dark Blues” maintained their composure best to register a fourth hold on the knockout title.

Both teams converted the first four of their five initial penalty kicks, and a further three in sudden death with things locked at 6-6 when controversy struck.

This, as Jamaica College’s Zinodean McLean, who had his attempt saved by STATHS’ goalkeeper Jaheem Williams, was allowed a retake as it is understood that the ball wasn’t stationery at the time of the kick, which goes against the laws of the game. McLean converted on the second occasion, after which, Kevin Hall of STATHS hit his kick over the crossbar, gifting Jamaica College the win.

While it wasn’t the way Ferguson wanted the outcome to be decided Ferguson welcomed the win which adds to the titles won in 2009, 2010 and 2017, especially after they failed to defend their more prestigious ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup.

“I think the incident at the end really marred the game, but kudos to our boys. We came out here today (Friday) and we started a little bit shaky but on the flow of the game we had the better of STATHS, still commiserations to STATHS, I think they played well. They are always a difficult opponent, but I think today we wanted it more, and our boys showed that,” Ferguson said in a post-game interview.

STATHS Head coach Phillip Williams was unavailable for a comment as the coaching staff and players were distraught and irritated that the retake was allowed.

And their disappointment is very much understandable as they would have wanted to add this Walker Cup to their solitary Manning Cup title won in 1987, and their wait to break that lengthy drought continued.

Both Jamaica College and STATHS have met in three finals last five to six years and given their rivalry, the contest, despite not being for Manning Cup honours, was always expected to be a lively one and it didn’t disappoint.

Jamaica College looked a bit more purposeful at the start, but it was STATHS that struck first in the fifth minute when Rashaun Frankson’s weighted cross inside the 18-yard box fell to an unmarked Brown, who finished a free header for his 17th goal of the season.

In the 25th, STATHS thought they had a penalty when Brown sidewined his way through two defenders and was felled inside the danger area, but referee Tyrone Robinson waved off the appeal.

Jamaica College again went on the charge in the 34th and it took a timely save by Williams, who got down well to his left, to keep out substitute Thierry Garrick’s left-footed effort.

STATHS should have doubled their advantage four minutes later, as Andre Salmon broke behind defenders and into one-on-one with Jamaica College’s custodian Raul Renton, who left his line, but tried to be fancy and the effort went well wide of the target.

Jamaica College intensified their press for the equaliser on the resumption and eventually and got it, when Sayers Jr converted from the 12-yard spot, after Malachi Sterling was felled inside the area by Alexavier Gooden.

Both teams nullified each other thereafter, but STATHS gradually regained the ascendancy and enjoyed a decent passage of play in the 70th. At that point, they found a number of openings from which they could have gone ahead, but Jamaica College stood firm and repelled everything thrown at them.

Jamaica College responded and went close four minutes later, as Sayers Jr’s well-taken freekick from just about 25 yards out, was tipped unto the crossbar by Williams.

And the “Dark Blues” almost won it late when Sterling’s weighted cross was headed down by Sayers Jr, but not properly cleared by STATHS and that allowed the powerfully built captain another opportunity, which he struck acrobatically only found the upright it in time added.

It was then down to the dreaded penalties to decide the outcome, and much like it was in 2017, 2019, as well as in the last season’s Manning Cup final and Champions Cup semi-final, Jamaica College proved the better of the two from the spot.

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson knows his team is in for a tough time given their draw for next year’s CONMEBOL Copa America but fancies their chances of beating the odds.

This, as their Group B opponents –Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador –are all familiar foes to some extent, and given the significant improvements in terms of the quality of players his Reggae Boyz squad now boats, Hallgrimsson believes the group is going to produce some very interesting matches.

Though this will be his first time leading the Reggae Boyz in the prestigious Copa America, the occasion marks the third time Jamaica will grace South American tournament, after appearances in 2015 when they faced Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina, and 2016 when they opposed Venezuela, Mexico, and Uruguay.

“I didn't know much about Venezuela, but after thinking, it's tough teams really, all the three teams. If I can say something similar about them all, is that they are competitive, really hard working, and all of these nations play enthusiastic and tough tackling football. So, it's all tough, tough opponents, but I think it's quite an equal group,” Hallgrimsson said.

“So that means, I don't think any team will be a runaway winner with nine points in this group. I think all teams will have a chance against each other, so it is quite an equal group. There is not a team that anybody can take for granted, and I don’t think there is a team that will be a runaway winner,” he added.

While Jamaica has squared off against Mexico and Venezuela a number of times over the years, they have only faced Ecuador three times in 2009, 2011 and 2018, losing two of those games 2-5 and 0-2, while the other ended in a goalless stalemate.

“So, in that sense if we prepare well and get our points, we will always have a chance to progress from this group, but I think all the teams will think the same. So, that is my feeling and after looking at the opponents I feel a little bit better,” Hallgrimsson declared.

“I didn't know much about Venezuela, I knew a little bit about Ecuador, and of course, we know a lot about Mexico, but I think that everyone has a chance in these games. So, all teams can pick points from each other,” he noted.

Having produced a stunning comeback to better Canada in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal recently, Hallgrimsson pointed out that their preparations will be focused on maintaining that momentum in the semi-final against United States, before turning their focus to the Copa America in June.

“We had already made a plan what was going to happen. So, the early months of the year, in January, maybe half of February, we'll go in Jamaica for domestic players. Hopefully we will get a friendly against a Caribbean nation or maybe in United States. So, in January US-based players can also play these matches.

“But the plan was always to focus on the domestic based players in January and maybe beginning of February. Then from maybe mid-February, we have to think about the Nation's League semifinal against US. So, we turn our focus to that project and then of course after that we will have the draw for the World Cup (qualifying) games,” the Icelandic coach shared.

“So that will be complete focus on those games. So, we are kind of forced to turn our focus to the next project all the time and then after the World Cup (qualifying) games we we've turned our focus to the Copa America. So that is our plan, it's a full schedule and we have to be really focused on every project, because all of these matches are important,” he ended.

Jamaica will open their campaign against Mexico on June 22, Ecuador on June 26, before completing their Group Stage matches against Venezuela on June 30.

In other group pairings, the United States finds itself in Group C alongside Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia. Group D is set to witness a showdown between Costa Rica or Honduras against heavyweights Brazil, Colombia, and Paraguay. Group A promises a tough challenge for Trinidad and Tobago or Canada, who will face off against World Cup champions Argentina, Peru, and Chile.

Newly elected Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) president Lance Rochester says his administration intends to hit the ground running to execute on their vision to achieve growth, and, by extension, move aquatic sports forward.

Rochester, who is the former vice-president in charge of water polo, takes the reins from Martin Lyn, as he found overwhelming favour with delegates, during the ASAJ’s Annual General Meeting at the National Aquatic Centre on Tuesday.

He tallied 46 votes to Georgia Sinclair’s seven in the election process, which was managed by Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Christopher Samuda.

Along with Sinclair, the former vice-president in charge of swimming, incumbent Shauna Jackson, was also ousted from the Secretary position by former Treasurer Florence Grizzle-Williams.

Grizzle-Williams earned 40 votes to Jackson’s 12, while Robyn-Ann Chin Sang was unopposed for her post of vice-president in charge of artistic swimming, and Marlon McIntyre has taken over as vice-president in charge of water polo. Richard Hopkins and Michelle Parker, who will serve as treasurer and assistant treasurer respectively, complete the administration.

Rochester pointed out that his first order of business for his administration is to restore accountability and integrity to the association by demonstrating good governance skills.

“It is a very humbling experience to have received the support of a majority of delegates, it is clear that the vision which was outlined connected with members and I am very excited about the opportunities to come, and also to execute what has been outlined,” Rochester told SportsMax.TV.

“I must say I am grateful for the support which the outgoing members provided to this association over the past few years. Sports administration is very challenging and demanding, and so we have to be grateful to those who choose to serve, and of course if they are able to lend support in some other capacity going forward, I am keen to receive that support,” he added.

While admitting that he feels some pressure to deliver accordingly, Rochester explained that he is mentally and strategically prepared to ensure his administration’s two-year term will be a fruitful one.

“Of course, there is pressure to deliver because the vision that was outlined was a bold vision, but the good thing is that I am not alone in this because we have a very strong team that is keen on working to execute,” he declared.

“One of the central objectives is not only to develop an all-island and grassroots programme to ensure that we are identifying talent early, and developing that talent appropriately, but also to ensure that Jamaican boys and girls right across the country are learning how to swim because swimming is an essential life skill.

“We are also moving to develop a high-performance programme to ensure that we are providing the most value and support to our club and national level athletes,” Rochester shared.

Newly elected administration

President – Lance Rochester

1st Vice President – Dr Hilary Nixon in charge of Swimming

2nd Vice President – Robyn-Ann Chin Sang in charge of Artist Swimming

3rd Vice President – Marlon McIntyre in charge of Water Polo 

General Secretary – Florence Grizzle-Williams

Treasurer – Richard Hopkins

Assistant Secretary/Treasurer – Michelle Parker

Arnett Gardens Head coach Xavier Gilbert expressed delight about his team’s dominant showing against Vere United, as they gave football enthusiasts a glimpse of the depth of their squad with a 2-0 win in Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League action on Monday night.

Rushane Thompson (32nd) and Jaheim Thomas (72nd) were on target for the “Junglists”, who despite being without a few of their regular starters due to red card suspensions, extended their unbeaten run across three games.

The win moved Arnett Gardens up to 14 points in second position, five behind reigning champions and leaders Mount Pleasant, and one ahead of third-placed Tivoli Gardens, who registered a 3-2 win over Treasure Beach in the feature game of the double-header at Stadium East.

This is much to the delight of Gilbert, who was hoping to keep their chasing rivals at bay.

"I am very happy with the way we executed, the table is really tight between second and sixth, so it was important for us to get the three points and inch up the table a little bit. So, it's a welcome one, especially knowing that Tivoli Gardens is also playing and if they win, they are right behind us," Gilbert said in a post-match interview. 

"Another important component was the fact that players stepped up, we try to ensure that we have a balanced squad so when persons miss out, others can bridge the gap, so I am really pleased with the guys that came in and got the job done. That's the mentality that we want, it is something we have been trying to do to ensure everybody is competing for their spot and that is exactly what they are doing," he added.

Arnett dominated from the start, as they were showed more enterprise in their build ups, and also produced some colorful plays in patches. But it wasn’t until two minutes after the half-hour mark that the inevitably found the go-ahead goal when Thompson arrived to finish off Shai Smith’s pass across the face of goal.

Warner Brown almost added a second in the latter stages of the first half, but his right-footed effort on the break, was kept out by the outstretched leg of Roje Williams, in goal for Vere United.

Though they continued to boss possession and created numerous half chances, Arnett Gardens had to wait until late in the second half to extend their lead, when poor defending followed by an error by Williams who left his line, allowed Thomas to finish into an empty net from close range, after Warner Brown's effort came back off the crossbar.

Vere United tried to play and created a few half chances of their own but couldn't make them count, and succumbed to their third defeat of the season, which left them eighth in the standing on eight points.

Vere United's assistant coach Jermaine Douglas was left disappointed.

"We never got off the mark in terms of attack and the second goal that we conceded, we were just getting into the game, we lapsed and got caught on the transition and it was really unfortunate that we conceded at that time. But we weren't productive in the final third and at the end of the day if you're not scoring goals or not being dangerous in front of goal, we can't win games, so we have some mental work to do," Douglas noted.

Matchweek Eight results

Molynes United 0, Lime Hall 0

Montego Bay United 3, Portmore United 2

Mount Pleasant 0, Waterhouse 0

Arnett Gardens 2, Vere United 0

Tivoli Gardens 3, Treasure Beach 2

Harbour View vs Dunbeholden (postponed)

Humble Lion vs Cavalier (postponed)

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.

Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz remain in a tough position to make next year’s Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, despite coming from behind to secure a 1-1 stalemate with Panama in their penultimate qualifying fixture at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Marta Cox gave Panama a 31st-minute lead from the penalty spot, but that was cancelled out by Shaneil Buckley's 45th minute strike, which ensured the Jamaicans a share of the spoils.

With the point, Panama inched up to seven points and booked their spot in the inaugural women's Gold Cup, while the Jamaicans, who were earning their second point, must beat second-placed Guatemala (four points) on Sunday to get into the Gold Cup prelims.

Though disappointed that they didn't secure all three points on this occasion, interim Head coach Xavier Gilbert is backing his team to get by Guatemala on Sunday.

"It was a competitive game, unfortunately things didn't go entirely according to plan, of course we wanted to win, but we also wanted to ensure that we didn't lose tonight, that was our first objective.  We are still in with a shot with just have to get the job done against Guatemala, in terms of speed and depth, we have a better unit and so I fancy our chances more against Guatemala," Gilbert said in a post-match interview.

The contest started at a decent tempo with the Jamaicans using their pace and athleticism to exploit the wide channels, as they were more threatening in open play, but were unable to make the most of their half chances.

In the ninth Melissa Johnson broke down the right channel and should have at least tested Yenith Bailey in goal for Panama, but the build-up was undone by indecision.

Nine minutes later, Buckely broke down the right and played a pass inside, and Davia Richards couldn't connect at close range.

Panama patiently played their game and went close in the 28th minute when Cox played a through pass in for Natalia Mills, but Serena Mensah, in goal for Jamaica, left her line well to avert the danger.

However, the visitors were given the opportunity to break the deadlock when Lauren Reid seemingly got ball in a challenge on Mills, but Honduran referee Melissa Borjas Pastrana awarded the penalty, which Cox converted.

The Reggae Girlz probe for the equalizer came on the stroke of half-time when a weighted cross from the left by Malikae Dayes was well finished by Buckley from close range.

Gilbert's side again started purposeful and applied consistent pressure throughout but didn't really put anything meaningful on goal.

In fact, there best effort of the stanza came in the 68th when Njeri Butts cross inside was skipped by captain Chinyelu Asher for Marlo Sweatman, whose shot lacked the power to beat Bailey.

From there, but teams nullified each other, as their search for the winner proved fruitless.

"I don't think we did anything wrong; we just didn't score. We have to score goals to win games and we just didn't get on the scoresheet when we got our chances," Gilbert said, as he also fielded questions about the substitutions.

"We are in a different dynamic from the other teams. They are playing one game and they are finished, while we are playing two games in five days. I know what I am working with, we had to be smart in terms of our approach to each game, so we couldn't be erratic and make a number of substitutions here, I also understand the situation that we are in and we are just going to give it our all on Sunday," he declared.  

Interim Reggae Girlz Head Coach Xavier Gilbert is well aware of the need for his players not only maintain their focus, but also to execute efficiently and consistently for the next over 180-plus minutes, if they are to achieve the desired results in two must-win Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifying fixtures.

The first will be against a gritty Panama outfit that will be riding high on the fact that they defeated the Jamaicans 2-1 in their first meeting and, more importantly, hold pole position in Group B on six points, which means they only need a point at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Kickoff is at 7:00pm.

For Gilbert and his Girlz, who sit at the foot of the three-team table on a point, the objective is pretty straightforward –win and they are into the group stages of next year’s Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup.

But the tactician is well aware that it is much easier said than done and, as such, is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances of taking three points at home, before visiting second-placed Guatemala (four points) away, on Sunday.

“We had three good sessions, and things went well, one player joined us let, but apart from that, all the players have settled in well. They know what is at stake, and you can tell by the mood in the camp that they are ready to give it their best shot,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“They have responded well to our request in terms of adjustment to the system of play, which is good, so what we did, was use the final session (on Tuesday) to tighten up on a few things and areas in which believe we need to strengthen. So, I am optimistic that once they execute how we want them to, we will come out with a positive result,” he added.

Should the Reggae Girlz defeat Panama, it would mean all three teams in the group, could take the top spot, and the outcome would rely on Sunday’s clash between Guatemala and the Jamaicans.

While finishing tops is the priority, the second-placed team would also have a second shot at Gold Cup qualification, as they would enter the preliminary phase of the tournament to oppose to group winners from League’s B and C.

That means, the Girlz could draw with Panama and then beat Guatemala to book the runner-up spot. But, that is no comfort to Gilbert, who is hoping to get the job done the right way.

“The game was a couple of weeks ago. This is a different situation and different circumstances. There is some unrest in their country, I am not sure if that has affected them mentally on this occasion, but we just have to be on our A game,” Gilbert said as he reflected on their away loss to Panama.

“We have to be better than what we were in the last game, and I am sure Panama is also looking to do better, so it's going to be extremely tough for us. Obviously, we've looked at a few things that we're looking to implement as we look to impose more of our will on the game,” he noted.

Gilbert, who is still without his World Cup players due to a prolonged standoff with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), is making do with a squad that boasts more youth than experience –2019 World Cup veterans Chinyelu Asher and Marlo Sweatman being the experience.

Still, the likes of Ricshya Walker, Melissa Johnson and Zoe Vidaurre, who all scored in the last window, are very much capable of doing more damage.

Panama will turn to their core group of playmakers in Riley Tanner, Marta Cox and Lineth Cedeno to get the job done, and Gilbert is very much wary of that and is aiming to nullify the trio.

“We are still working to finalize the best 11, so far, we are close to it, but there are still some other pieces to put in place. But the overall expectation heading into the game is to make sure that we get something out of it, which is our objective, and then we will see how it goes,” Gilbert ended.

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