Jamaica College defeated Wolmers Boys 2-1 to lift the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup title in a keen and engaging contest inside the National Stadium on Saturday night. The defending champions made it 4 straight titles as they defeated the Super Cup champions, who were losing their first game in the Manning Cup this season.
All three games came in the first half as strikes from Tyreke Magee and Donovan Dawkins put the champions 2-0 up before Alphanso Gooden got the consolation for Wolmers on the stroke of half time.
Wolmers approached the game in a surprisingly open manner and were made to pay for their unusual cavalier approach when Magee fired home from inside the box. Wolmers custodian Shamar Jamieson got a left hand to the ball but it was not strong enough to prevent the goal from going in.
Last year’s finals hero Dawkins, then had the JC fans in the grandstand jumping and cheering when he fired home an exquisite shot from outside the area, into the top left corner of the net.
Not surprisingly, JC took their foot off the pedal after being in total control and this let in the Wolmers team. Yonnick Elliot and Rivaldo English tried to engineer things from midfield, combining well with Gooden as the sought a way back into the contest.
But the JC defence stood firm, until a defensive error saw the alert Gooden capitalizing to poke home in the second minute of added on time.
Refocused after the half time team talk, JC set about regaining control of the contest but were given a good run for their money by Wolmers.
Mickel Graham and Andrew Daley grew in influence in the match but the steady JC captain Oquin Robinson, kept the boys from Heroes Circle at bay.
The expected late assault came from Wolmers but JC withstood the pressure although Gooden did get a chance to draw things level, but somehow missed the opportunity.
The celebrations at the end of the match showed just how much it meant to the usually reserved Miguel Coley who jumped and punched the air as he celebrated his fourth straight Manning Cup title as head coach at JC.
"We watched tapes of Wolmer’s and watched tapes about ourselves. When it comes to these big games you want a disciplined team,” said Coley.
“This is one of the best JC teams, nobody would realise that. When you look at our wingbacks and our defensive unit they have been very strong,” he added.
Vassell Reynolds admited his team was too open at the start of the game.
“I didn’t think we started on our front foot today; we gave them a little too much room to operate and they capitalised and scored two goals and those goals set us back.”
“We came back into the game when we scored and pressed the JC team, but they hung on gallantly. But overall ,it was a good performance. We gave a spirited performance in the second half, but just couldn’t get that all-important goal,” he declared.
Jamaica College has won six of the last ten Manning Cup titles, the other four going to St. Georges College who failed to make the second round this season.