STGC off to winning start
Last season's beaten finalists St George's College (STGC) kicked off their Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Manning Cup with a workman-like 2-0 win over Eltham High in their Group F encounter at Winchester Park yesterday.
Captain Nathaniel Campbell opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the fourth minute before Chanthomoi Taylor wrapped up the points with a close-range effort in minute 68.
STGC jumped to the top of Group F with three points as the game between Calabar High and Norman Manley was not played due to heavy rains that made the field unfit for play at Calabar High School.
Playing in front of a large crowd and on a lush, well-drained surface at Winchester Park, St George's got the perfect start with a fourth-minute penalty, but despite total domination in possession, they had to toil hard to put the game beyond Eltham High.
The prolific Taylor carried his last year form into this season and put the icing on the cake, slotting home from close range following a good move down the right flank by Jaheim Brown.
It was a workman-like display from one of the title favourites despite having only four first-team regulars from last year starting in this team. Assistant Coach Marcel Gayle was pleased with the win.
“It was a good start; I mean kudos to the team, they played well. Eltham did what they had to do to keep us off the scoresheet some more, but it's a good start,” said Gayle, who is the head coach of premier league outfit Waterhouse FC.
Gayle said that they know what to work on after dominating possession but failing to score more goals against an Eltham team that offered little in attack and rarely troubled them.
“I am not disappointed. We got the cobweb out and we are on the right track,” he added.
But Gayle laughed at the notion that his team is the favourite for the Manning Cup title. “We only have four starters from last year and eight from the set-up. We lost about 17 players, but we are OK, and we going to take care of business.”
Eltham High's assistant coach, Denver Howard wasn't too fazed by the loss and still believes his team will make it through the second round.
“Based on the opponent who know that George's is a very good team, a technical team and one of the tournament favourites, so going out first against them was always going to be difficult.
“We tried to sit behind the ball, stay disciplined, but they were able to get an early goal which set us back, and we had to chase the game. But all in all it wasn't an overall performance in the scope of things,” he added.
In the other Group F, Ardenne High edged Campion 1-0, while the game between Calabar High and Norman Manley was rained out.
Meanwhile, in Group C, St Catherine High thumped Penwood High 9-0 for the biggest winning margin yesterday, while last season's beaten semi-finalist St Andrew Technical High School whipped Oberlin High 5-0. Papine High blanked Northern Technical High 2-0.
Former champions Charlie Smith made a winning start in Group B, flogging Donald Quarrie High 5-0, while Jonathan Grant High dismissed Ascot High 4-1. Denham Town defeated Kingston High School 3-1.
In Group A, Bridgeport High and Cumberland High battled to a 1-1 draw, while St Jago clipped Haile Selassie High 2-1.