Photo: Kingston College striker Fabian Grant fires home the opener for his team as they defeated Jamaica College 2-1 in the semi-final of the ISSA/FLOW Super Cup at Sabina Park last Saturday. KC wil face St. Elizabeth Technical in the final at the same venue starting at 7pm.
Kingston College (KC) advanced to their first ever final of the ISSA/FLOW Super Cup in dramatic fashion at Sabina Park on Saturday as they saw off the challenge of rivals Jamaica College 2-1 in a pulsating game that had a Hollywood finsih. The second game of a double header at the venue had the fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish and wa swell worth the price of admission. JC was the only team in the semifinals to have won the competition before and were aiming to make it to the final for the third time in a bid to get their second hold on the trophy and the One Million Dollar cash prize.
KC and JC were meeting for the third time this season with both teams having won one game apiece before the Super Cup showdown. KC had beaten JC 2-0 to end a 76 game unbeaten streak in the Manning Cup before JC beat them 2-1 in the Walker Cup final to take away the trophy won by the "Famed Purples" last year. So this third meeting had all the ingredients to make it a special encounter.
Unlike the Walker Cup final, KC came prepared and did not allow their opponents, especially JC danger man Tyreek Magee to play. Magee was hounded for almost the entire game by the relentless Antoniel Mullings as Ludlow Bernard got his tactics spot on.
KC began the game with Fabian Grant playing higher in attack than usual and closer to talisman Rashawn Mackison and this would pay dividends for the boys from North Street.
The smallest man on the park for Kingston College, Dwayne Atkinson, was the first to get a shot on target when he fired low to the right of Khari Williams who was down smartly to gather. Moments later Norman Campbell found himself with time and space at the top of the KC box but his wild swing went high over the crossbar.
Travoyne Reid had a good look at goal but his shot was partially deflected by a defender and became an easy take for Williams as KC pressured.
With Magee unable to influence the game the way JC would have liked it was left up to the likes of Tevin Rochester and Campbell to make things happen up front for JC but the resolute KC defenders kept the "True Blue" at bay..
Grant who was a shadow of himself in the Walker Cup final was clearly up for the game and his combination play with Mackison allowed KC to dominate in attack. It was no surprise when he broke the deadlock, firing off a shot with the left foot through the legs of the goal keeper and into the back of the net in the 36th minute to give KC a deserved lead. The assist went to Mackison who had laid off the ball for Grant who beat two defenders to score.
Atkinson should have doubled his team's lead after a mishit shot from Mackison fell to him but the header from the diminutive striker went just wide of the right upright as KC took a slim lead into the halftime break.
The second goal of the game was always going to be pivotal and it came in the form of an own goal when a corner kick from Horace Ramsay, to the near post, was bundled home by a JC defender.
Reid had a gilt-edged chance to get his name on the score sheet but after rounding the keeper inexplicably missed the target from inside the area.
As the game wore on KC started defending deeper and invited pressure unto themselves. JC twice hit the bar as they tried to claw their way back into the contest.
KC substitute Shamar Bloomfield who had scored with his first touch in the quarter finals against Dinthill should have ended the game as a contest, when he outmuscled a JC defender to face McCoy one on one inside the box but his feeble effort was charged down and eventually gathered by the JC custodian.
It wasn't until stoppage time that JC got one back when captain Maliek Howell rose highest to head home after Chadeen Rodriquez had failed to punch clear a corner kick.
With the momentum now in their favour, JC went on the hunt for the equalizer and KC gave away successive set plays near the box. The final free kick, which was also the final shot of the game, would add extra drama to an already intriguing match.
Magee, who had had one sniff earlier, when he sided footed a weak shot into the side netting stood over the free kick just outside the area in the 6th minute of stoppage time but clearly did not see the hand of the referee indicating that it was an indirect free kick. He stepped up and struck the ball sweetly into the back of the net but the goal was disallowed because the ball had not been touched by any other player.
JC protested profusely while KC celebrated their first berth into the finals which is set for Saturday at the same venue.
A pleased Ludlow Bernard said, "Our game plan was executed quite efficiently. The melee on the bench caused some distraction hence we had some defensive issues thereafter. The game should not have been that close but some of our players were irresponsible inside the opponent's box, but we deserved to win."
Kingston College will meet St. Elizabeth Technical in what will be the first final in this competition for both teams.