Photo: Fabian Grant protects the ball from Donte Green in the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup quarter final match at the Spanish Town Prison Oval on Tuesday. Grant scored the third goal as Kingston College ran out 3-0 winners over Bridgeport High to become the first team to advance to the semi-finals this season.
Kingston College became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup competition this season when they defeated Bridgeport High 3-0 at the Spanish Town Prison Oval Field on Tuesday. Charlie Smith who was also a semi-final contender was only able to defeat St. Andrew Technical 1-0 in the other group game being played simultaneously at the Constant Spring Field.
All four teams in Group J began the day with an equal chance of qualifying for the semi-finals with two points apiece and with both games being played at the same time at separate venues, there was no advantage to be had by any of the teams.
Over at Prison Oval, Kingston College began the game like a house on fire, swarming their opponents and pinning them in their own half, but it was Bridgeport who got the first real chance of the game. Miscommunication at the back let in Shane Moodie but the striker failed to make a proper connection with the ball, with only the goal keeper Nico Jolly to beat from less than 12 yards.
The KC response was swift. On their next possession, Rashawn Mackison fired a left foot screamer that cannoned off the crossbar and back into play. The onslaught was constant on the Bridgeport goal and before the crossbar had stopped shaking, KC was ahead. A brilliant move down the right flank between Shamar Bloomfield and Mackison saw the latter pick out Renato Campbell on the back post and the National Under-17 representative controlled nicely before squeezing the ball in at the near post with 17 minutes played.
KC doubled their lead just three minutes later when Mackison made no mistake this time, firing home from close range, after another right sided attack from his team. Shamar Bloomfield had outpaced his marker before firing the ball across the area and the KC number 10 sided footed home.
Not satisfied with just a 2-0 lead, the Ludlow Bernard coached boys kept hunting goals and were rewarded for their constant pressure in the 33rd minute when Fabian Grant scored with a long range effort. The goalkeeper, in trying to effect a save only managed to parry the ball into the back of his own net.
Bridgeport had an opportunity to pull one back on the stroke of half time but the volleyed effort from Javaughn Dunn flew high over the crossbar.
With the news coming through at half time that the score was 0-0 between Charlie Smith and STATHS, the KC team took their foot off the pedal in the second half and lacked the urgency displayed in the first 45 minutes.
The ‘Purples’ managed to control the pace of the game in the second half but lacked the cutting edge of the first. Bridgeport seemed a spent force, especially up front and did very little to put the KC defence under pressure.
Bridgeport did come close in the 60th minute when Moodie fired a shot on target which was blocked off the line by an alert Davian Shakes.
That was the last meaningful threat of the game from Bridgeport High on the KC goal as the North Street based team registered a clean sheet for the first time in the quarter final round.
The game at Constant Spring ended 1-0 in favour of Charlie Smith shortly before the game ended at the Prison Oval and the final whistle at Spanish Town was greeted with triumphant fists as Kingston College advanced to the semi-finals for the first time since 2007.
"The burden (to win) wasn't realy on my shoulders, I was just sympathetic towards the youngsters, with them really taking on this burden. I am pretty much used to this kind of episode and I am really glad that they were able, as a team, to really lift themselves and come up with a very formidable victory here today, A very deservng victory, a victory which represented character, courage,and belief more than anything and a victory which will also put the naysayers to rest," said a defiant Ludlow Bernard, coach of the KC team.
KC captain Javain Brown was happy with his team's execution of the game plan. "I thought we came into the game with a game plan. We trained Sunday, trained Monday and I think it paid off. Coached told us that we would create at least 10 chances,all we had to do was to put them away, we did that and we came out victorious. (For the semifinals) we just have to practise on our finishing more because I dont think any team in this Manning Cup can beat us, we can only beat ourselves."
The Bridgeport High coach had high praises for his tem despite the loss. "It was a case of who wanted it more. If we had converted the early chance it would have been a different game but it is one of these things. We have had a very good season. We played to the end even when we were 3-0 down . I can't complain with this bunch of kids that have been working hard all season," he stated.
The second semifinalist will be decided on Wednesday with defending champions Jamaica College in pole position to make it through, having already claimed a maximum six points from two games played.