Photo: Renato Campbell scored the first goal for Kingston College as they ran out 3-1 winners over Excelsior High in Group E action in the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup at the Stadium East Field on Saturday. KC have now won five straight games and leads the group on maximum 15 points.
Kingston College passed their sternest test yet of the 2017 edition of the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup competition, putting in a solid performance to overcome a determined Excelsior High school 3-1 at the Stadium East field on Saturday.
Goals from Renato Campbell in the 43rd minute and Ronaldo Robinson in the 54th minute had put KC in a comfortable position with just about a third of the game left to play but Ryan Spence threatened to spoil the “purple party” with a goal in the 82nd minute, before Jamari Morrison slammed the door shut on an Excelsior revival in the 85th.
KC came into the game with a weight of expectation on their shoulders, with the term “title favourites” being banded about by many pundits. Their opponents gave them the respect they deserved, content at playing behind the ball and waiting to hit on the counter. The Excelsior game plan worked well for most of the first half as KC were unable to produce much in front of goal and most of the half chances falling to the gold and green clad boys from Mountain View Avenue.
With just over half hour played, KC talisman Rashawn Mackison played a give and go with midfielder Fabian Grant but saw his goal bound effort from the return pass saved by the feet of the Excelsior custodian Jordon Hoilett.
It appeared that the teams would go in to the break even, but that was before the hard working Mackison laid the ball into the path of his teammate Campbell whose sweetly struck shot from outside the area rocketed into the back of the net.
Excelsior got the final shot on target for the half, but the free kick from Kimani Decombre was fisted away by KC goal keeper Chadeen Rodriquez before his captain Javain Brown cleared the danger.
Eight minutes after the restart, the purple and white clad supporters that had packed into the Stadium East venue were in delirium. The tricky winger Ronaldo Robinson performed some dazzling step overs, similar to his name sake from Portugal and Real Madrid, to glide by a defender down the left flank before unleashing a thunderous left footed shot that flew beyond the despairing dive of Hoilett and into the back of the net.
Excelsior struggled to create anything meaningful on the offensive end while Scarlett, Omar Thompson and Mackison all threatened to extend the KC lead. The game was sauntering to an expected conclusion when substitute Spence fired home from the left side of the box after KC failed to clear their lines following a corner kick.
With the Excelsior contingent hopeful of getting something out of the contest, the gifted Morrison ended the short lived dream of the Shavar Thomas coached team, firing through the hands of Hoilett and into the roof of the net from just outside the area, to restore the two-goal advantage for KC.
Fifteen points from five games means KC maintains their perfect start while opening up a five point gap on second place Excelsior who must now be thinking of making second place in the group their own with half the first round games left to play.
In other games played in the group on Saturday, Greater Portmore were stunned 1-0 by the previously winless Ardenne while Norman Manley clipped Spanish Town 2-1 to keep alive their season alive.