Photo: Kingston College striker Rashwan Mackison scored the first goal for Kingston College as they ran out 2-0 winners of Jamaica College to inflict the first defeat on the champions in the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup since 2011. The victory saw KC advance along with JC to the semi-finals of the competition.
Pre-season favourites Kingston College ended the long unbeaten streak of champions Jamaica College, in the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup on Saturday when they scored a comfortable 2-0 win at the Stadium East Field. KC finished the quarter final round top of their group on seven points, compared to the six points gathered by JC, as both schools advanced to the semi-finals of the competition.
The JC unbeaten streak of 76 games which went back to the start of the 2012 season was under threat from as early as the third minute when Rashwan Mackison scored. The KC striker ran on to a beautiful pass from Renato Campbell, cut across a defender and opened up his body beautifully, then with one touch, steered the ball into the far corner as the JC goal keeper Derland Hyatt looked on helplessly.
The JC fans may have thought that is was déjà vu as they had conceded an early goal the last time the two teams met in the Walker Cup final last year.
But JC set about restoring parity through the efforts of Tyreke Magee, Norman Campbell and Tevin Rochester especially.
The left footed Magee posed a real threat from set pieces, coming close when his free kick went just the wrong side of the left post of Chadeem Rodriques and crashed into the side netting, as some JC fans began to celebrate.
Except for the brilliance of Rodriques, who put in a man-of-the-match performance in goal, JC could have taken the lead heading into the half time break. The KC goalkeeper pulled off two one handed saves and a double save to deny certain goals and helped the Ludlow Bernard coached team maintain their slender lead at the break.
JC returned from the interval trying to get Magee and Rochester on the ball once more, but it was the KC midfield that would take the game by the scruff of the neck, with Renato Campbell exerting his influence for the famed Purples.
Another perfectly weighted pass down the left channel for Mackison, split the defence and drew Hyatt from his line but Mackison who was first to the ball was unable to steer it home this time.
Fabian Grant who was having an ordinary game by his standards, also supplied the languid looking striker with a goal scoring chance, but the tame effort from Mackison was easily caught by Hyatt.
Rodriques had a much calmer second half as his defenders did a better job protecting him from the efforts of the Dark Blues. Nathan Thomas was a virtual shadow for Magee who was allowed breathing room only when he was orchestrating set pieces.
KC always looked the team more likely to score in the second half and after frustrating his coach with his lackluster play in the midfield, Grant finally did something right, six minutes before the finish. Given time and space outside the JC box, he fired off a shot that bounced just before it reached Hyatt and went through the keeper’s body and into the back of the net. It was the second time Grant was scoring against JC in as many games.
“It is just another game,” said a modest Ludlow Bernard after the win.
“Our intention was to come for a victory here today and let the chips fall where they may. Our guys were resolute and we tried to be strong defensively. It wasn’t a pretty game…but it was a battling game. We have been battling our games ever since coming into the next (second) phase of the competition and we intend to keep it that way. We are however very cautious in our approach and quietly confident about what we can achieve.
Bernard is aware that there is still a lot left to be done with more than a month of football left to be played.
“This is a good motivator for them but we still have another hurdle to clear. The semifinals is some way off so it gives us quite a bit of time to prepare…we have to remain focused and keep our eyes on the prize and more importantly keep everybody healthy,” Bernard suggested.
Miguel Coley was gracious in defeat, identifying the concession of the early goal as a key moment in the contest.
“We lost the game to KC, they were better than us especially in the first half. They were hungrier than we were today. The early goal set us back, however I think we had some significant possession late in the first half but we were not able to capitalize on some of the chances. Congrats to KC, they did what they had to do.”
It was the first loss for Coley in the Manning Cup in this his fifth season in charge at the school.