Excelsior, Spanish Town rebound
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Excelsior High defeated Calabar High 2-0 and Spanish Town High got the better of Donald Quarrie High 2-1 in second round action of the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel Manning Cup football competition at Constant Spring Complex yesterday.
Excelsior, which narrowly missed out on a spot in the Walker Cup knockout final after going 5-4 on penalties to Jamaica College last Saturday, came out on top after Ojai Bedward and substitute Tevin Jackson netted in the 64th and 81st minutes.
Spanish Town were led to victory courtesy of a first half strike from Nathaniel Leslie in the 21st minute and an own goal in the 29th, with Marvin Gregory in the 49th providing Donald Quarrie's consolation.
"It was hard motivating the team after missing a penalty towards the end of regulation time and going on to lose the penalty shoot-out against JC in the Walker Cup," said Excelsior's head coach Lebert Halliman.
"However, credit to them and the coaching staff who assisted, as they showed up here today and showed character to come away with the win," he added.
The game, which was the feature, saw both teams sharing equal possession and chances in the first half, with Excelsior looking the more organised and purposeful.
It came as no surprise when the boys from Mountain View took the lead through Bedward, who released a rasping shot from 30 yards that beat goalkeeper Richard Chambers low to his right.
The goal silenced Calabar's drum-beating supporters and seemed to knock the steam out of Calabar, who 17 minutes later went further behind when Jackson, running on, capitalised on a free kick spilt by Chambers and slotted home from close range.
Calabar's head coach, Marvin Tate, seemingly upset at the result, left the venue following the final whistle without talking to the media, leaving manager Holmer Morgan to give his assessment.
"We should have played better," he said. "This especially after the long rest we got and the fact that Excelsior were coming off an emotional loss last week.
"But all is not lost, as we still have two games to go in the group and wherever there is life there is hope."
In the curtain-raiser, Spanish Town, who were edged 1-0 by JC in the quarter-final of the Walker Cup, dominated the first half and Donald Quarrie the second.
However, Donald Quarrie could not capitalise on numerous chances created, leaving Spanish Town to go home the the happier.
Donald Quarrie's coach, Wayne Bruce, said despite the loss, his team is still in with a chance and they will be giving all in their remaining two games.
"Having lost out first match we now find ourselves in a virtual must-win situation heading into our final two matches," he said. "But it is something that we are preparing for as we believe we have a good team and are capable of making it to the semi-finals."
1 p.m. Denham Town vs Kingston College at Constant Spring
3 p.m. Jamaica College vs Hydel at Constant Spring
1 p.m. Bridgeport vs Norman Manley at Spanish Town Prison Oval
3p.m. Wolmer's vs Innswood at Spanish Town Prison Oval