The inter-zone round of the ISSA/FLOW DaCosta Cup competition got underway with a must see game between rivals Manchester High and Clarendon College, who are the defending champions, at the Middlesex College Field on Wednesday.
The game lived up to all the hype and expectations as the thousands of fans that crammed into the stadium were treated to a high intensity game where all the players left everything on the field. In the end it was the defending champions and their supporters that were cheering at the end of the game after Tremaine Williamson produced the all important goal in the 60th minute of play to hand Clarendon College a narrow 1-0 win in a huge statement game.
Manchester High had things their own way in Group F in the preliminary stages, beating all and sundry to finish the round with maximum points and faced their first acid test against Clarendon College.
The home team made their intentions clear from the outset as with virtually seconds on the clock Creggton Charlton was played in down the right channel and his shot which was headed for the top corner had to be parried by Manchester goalkeeper Nicholas King.
Moments later an audacious effort from just over the half line by Ronaldo Walker went inches over the crossbar and had the crowd on their feet.
Romaine Walsh responded for Manchester High with a booming effort that went over the top as the visitors showed they were in for the fight.
The first real chance of the game would fall to Manchester when a deflected effort fell into the path of Jevaughn Bailey but he skied his effort from 16 yards.
Clarendon College threatened again when another cross field pass was met with a bullet header from Charlton and King had to parry again, this time for a corner kick.
With just over fifteen minutes to the half time interval Manchester High was gifted the opportunity to go in front when Williamson inexplicably passed to Duhaney Williams and with the goal at his mercy and frozen on his line the Manchester High forward went for power instead of placement and dragged his effort wide of the post from just about the penalty spot. Both he and his team would live to rue that miss.
Both teams continued to press for the go ahead goal but the half ended 0-0.
Clarendon College sprung out of the traps fast again in the second half when Alex Cummings wriggled free of a challenge before getting off a shot at the near post but King was equal to the task. Seigle Knight was in the thick of things moments later as his shot was fumbled by King but none of his teammates followed up.
Then with two thirds of the game played, Williamson rose majestically to head home a corner kick beyond the despairing dive of an injured King to cue massive celebrations on the terraces.
Manchester High had a stone cold penalty waved away that incensed coach Donovan Duckie but did have the final chance of the game that should have earned them at least a point.
Having laid siege to their opponent’s goal for the entire second half stoppage time, the ball fell kindly to Walsh who with the entire goal to aim at, blasted the ball over the crossbar with the last meaningful kick of the game.
The final whistle brought massive celebrations from the Clarendon fans, who had not witnessed a win over their arch rivals in many years.