Photo: St. Andrew Technical forward Barrington Fisher takes on St. George's College defender Paul Young Jr during their ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup quarter final replay at the Constant Spring Field on Wednesday. STATHS substitute Tajay Watson looks on. The game ended 1-1 before STATHS won 4-3 on penalties to advance to the semifinals where they will play Kingston College.
St. Andrew Technical High School advanced to the semifinals of the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup competition in dramatic fashion on Wednesday when they outscored St. George's College 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the end of 90 minutes. Both teams had contested the rain delayed replay after their original quarter final encounter had ended 0-0 a few weeks ago.
Just as he has been almost also season, STATHS goalkeeper Jeadine White was the hero for the team from Bumper Hall after he came up with two brilliant saves from STGC players, before blasting home the winning penalty to send his team through to their first semifinal since 2005.
Despite being the more active of the two teams, after STGC had more than two weeks to rest while STATHS contested the Walker Cup semis and the Super Cup quarter finals, it was the Philip Williams coached team that came out running, dominating possession and creating the chances.
Armani Reid had a glorious chance to put STATHS in front but shot straight at the legs of Hakeem Francis from 6 yards out.
That close shave seemed to spark the 'Light Blues' to life who answered with a chance of their own but Duvaughn Dunkley was unable to steer his near post header on target.
Francs was soon called into action again as Reid tried his luck from an acute angle but the STGC keeper was smartly down to save and the danger cleared away by his defenders.
Raheem Williams then brushed aside his marker before firing his effort into the side netting as both teams lived dangerously.
It was STATHS who continued to dominate most of the possession and created a number of half chances, but woeful shooting plagued their attackers.
As it often goes in football, STATHS were caught cold on the counter, right on the stroke of halftime when Arsenio Hamilton delivered the perfect lofted cross from the left side to the back post for Romario Harding to head home.
The second half was almost all STGC as they seemed inspired by the late strike in the first half. They took control of the midfield and dominated possession but had nothing else to show for it. In fact it was STATHS who came close when a shot from substitute Mark Chambers clipped a defender before smashing against the crossbar and went over for a corner kick.
WIth the game seemingly won by STGC there would be twist in the tail of this game as substitute Nicholas Stewart, who had been on the field for only five minutes benefitted from a pass from the towering David Smith who had been moved from central defence to midfield. Stewart turned and fired home from 16 yards into the left corner of the net to level the match at 1-1 in the 86th minute.
The game would go straight to penalties and there is where White became the star of the show yet again.
Arseno Hamilton was the first up for STGC and sent White the wrong way to give the North Street based team the lead. Noel Walker then smashed the first STATHS penalty against the crossbar to give his opponents the early advantage.
But White then produced two saves in succession,from Paul Young Jr and Nathaniel Campbell either side of a well struck penalty from David Smith. Mark Chambers then gave STATHS the lead at 2-1.
Harding and Akeem Robotham then scored for St. George's, while Stewart scored for STATHS. With the scores level at 3-3, White then took the responsibility with the final kick, blasting the ball into the roof of the net and leaving Francis helpless.
STATHS coach Phillip Williams commended the character shown by his team
"I think we had the better of play in the first half. The goal that was scored against us was a good goal but caused by a lapse in the defensive unit. All season we have been clawing our way back into games and today was no different."
He also mentioned the tactical adjustments he had to make to get his team back into the contest.
"We had to make some changes (adjustments) because Neville (Bell) is a really good coach, his is a tactician. He made some changes in the second half in terms of tactical setup that was giving us trouble so we had to push some numbers in midfield in order to nullify that."
Williams indicated that preparation for the semifinal would begin almost immediately.
"Kingston College is one of the best ball playing teams right now. We just need to go on the training ground and try to nullify their play and focus somewhat on what we need to do in order for us to win the game."
For Neville Bell it was an overall good season despite not winning any trophies.
"I don't choose a penalty kicker, it's who wants it and before the game we decided that whoever wants to kick it can go and kick it. it's not easy.
"I don't think we did badly (this season). This is our 17th game and we lost only 3...we lost two important ones.We didn't score as many this year as we normally do. The difference with this team is that we probably never had the marquee player that we normally do."
STATHS will now take on Kingston College in the semifinals of the Manning Cup, the same stage they lost to the "Purples" in the Walker Cup almost two weeks ago.