Photo: Midfielder Renato Campbell started the scoring for Kingston College as defeated Tivoli Gardens High 4-1 in the first leg of their two leg playoff in the second round of the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup at the Stadium East Field on Saturday. The teams are set to meet again on Wednesday.
On a day when only five of the six scheduled games in the second round of the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup were played, Kingston College took a huge advantage in their first leg encounter against Tivoli Gardens High, slamming their opponents 4-1 at the Stadium East Field. Meanwhile, defending champions Jamaica College, struggled to a come from behind 2-2 draw with former champions Charlie Smith in the feature game at the same venue.
The heavy rains which poured down shortly after the start of the featured game had a direct impact on play, but when the rains subsided it was Charlie Smith who took advantage with their direct style of play.
Charlie Smith went ahead in the 25th minute of the game when Tyreke Reid expertly fired home into the bottom left hand corner of the goal after receiving a long ball over the top and running at the back pedaling JC defence. JC custodian Derland Hyatt was left powerless to save the shot.
The Charlie Smith goalkeeper Tuishane Edwards kept his team in the lead with a few fine saves before his teammate Wendell Reynolds doubled the advantage in the 43rd minute when another direct attack found the JC defence wanting and the forward fired home to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half time.
Tevin Rochester had a chance to half the lead in first half stoppage time but could only find the side netting after rounding Edwards.
The champions returned with a purpose in the second half and reduced the deficit when Shaniel Thomas headed home after a gaffe from the previously impressive Edwards two minutes after the restart.
With the momentum on their side, JC went at the Charlie Smith team and it was their veteran Norman Campbell who finished off a great team move to level the scores in the 65th minute.
Substitute Gavin Thorpe had a great opportunity to win it at the death for JC, but failed to hit the target with a header when completely unmarked at the back post.
It was the fifth draw of the season for the Miguel Coley coached team, who took the advantage of two away goals into the return leg on Wednesday.
Miguel Coley was unhappy with the performance of his midfield but expressed confidence of advancing to the next round.
“We had a horrible first half, we weren’t passing the ball well and Charlie Smith was playing very direct. We had too many unforced errors but I am happy that we came back. We have two away goals which are very important and I am confident we can get the job done (in the return leg).”
Jerome Waite was proud of his boys despite them letting a two goal lead slip against the champions.
“We have to give these youngsters credit. No one expected a Charlie Smith team to lead JC by two goals to nil. We are not title contenders but we will be competitive. It is always a learning process and we are hoping that they can learn from it leading up to the next leg,” he said.
Waite also promised more for the return leg as he expects to welcome back two key players who missed the first leg due to suspension.
In the day’s opening game, favourites Kingston College continued to live up to the billing as they completely mishandled Tivoli Gardens in a one-sided contest.
It took the famed Purples only four minutes to get on the score sheet, when the impressive Renato Campbell volleyed home from inside the box to give KC the lead. Omar Thompson then gave himself a belated birthday present, winning and taking a penalty to put KC 2-0 up in the 12th minute.
With the game coming easy to them, KC took their foot off the pedal and were punished when they conceded a needless free kick just outside the area. Tivoli captain David Rodgers scored from a deflected free kick to make it 2-1 in the 26th minute. The ball appeared to be heading outside before redirecting off a defender and lodging into the right side of the goal. It was Tivoli’s only shot on target for the first half.
There were no further goals in the half despite a number of chances created by the KC team and it wasn’t until the introduction of Trayvone Reid in the second half that the Ludlow Bernard coached team started to look the part again.
The wily winger went on a couple of runs to signal his intent before taking on the entire left side of the Tivoli defence and firing home from close range to make it 3-1 in the 63rd minute.
Rashawn Mackison who had missed more than his fair share of chances finally got in right in the 71st minute to make it 4-1. The industrious Antoniel Mullings drove into the box before passing to Mackison who side footed into the left corner of the net from near the penalty spot.
KC had three more clear chances to extend the lead but skipper Javain Brown missed the target with a free header at the back post from a Mackison cross and both Jamari Morrison and Reid had shots rebound of the crossbar, within two minutes of each other.
Ludlow Bernard said his team achieved their first objective early but lost their composure, before seeing the game out.
“We wanted to close out the game early with two goals. That we achieved, but Tivoli responded and it impacted negatively for a while as we lost our composure. We however regained our ascendency in the game and created sufficient opportunities to score so as to put the game out of reach.”
There will be no letting up in the second leg as Bernard prepares his team for tougher assignments to come.
“Our approach to the (second leg) will be just as intense. We have to continue to prepare ourselves for tougher engagements,” he stated.
At Constant Spring, Camperdown and St. Andrew Technical played out a 1-1 draw while Calabar stunned Excelsior 2-0. At the Spanish Town Prison Oval there was only one game played and that too was a stalemate as Bridgeport and Wolmer’s battled to a nil-all draw.
Meanwhile St. Catherine High refused to play Hydel before St. Georges College completed their fixture against Denham Town. A victory for Denham Town could have resulted in St. Catherine winning the group.