Phorto: St.Georges College celebrate winning their 9th Walker Cup title
St. Georges College secured their record 9th hold on the ISSA/LIME Walker Cup title when they outscored Jamaica College 3-2 at the Constant Spring Field on Thursday. The win for STGC ended the hopes of JC to win all four titles on offer in corporate area schoolboy football this season.
Faced with the prospect of going two seasons without a trophy despite having one of the best football programmes in the country, STGC entered the match a well rested team against a battle hardened JC, bubbling with confidence and two titles already under their belt.
STGC had to withstand a furious opening by the boys from Old Hope Road and eventually created the first real opportunity of the game when Kyeano Jones out jumped everyone at the back post to head a corner kick just wide of the upright, with 6 minutes on the clock. Jones would have felt he should have hit the target.
Five minutes later St. Georges went ahead when Shevon Stewart scored. The diminutive striker turned near the edge of the area and expertly got by his marker before rounding the onrushing Courtney Dowdie in goal for JC. With two defenders scrambling to get back on the line Stewart showed great composure to slot home past the despairing lunges of the boys in Royal Blue.
First blood to STGC and there would be no letting up from the Neville Bell coached boys. Passing the ball with their trademark fluidity, the boys from North Street had great joy attacking down the left flank with Amoy Brown pulling wide on numerous occasions to create space for himself before cutting in with great effect. The combination play between Brown and Gregory Messam Jr. had the JC defence back tracking with regularity.
JC responded through captain Junior Flemmings who had a goal ruled out for offside. Replays showed that his striker partner Akeam Shackleford was indeed offside.
STGC went 2-0 up in the 27th minute when Messam Jr. stroked home a penalty after Sheldon McKoy was penalized for handball when he blocked an Alex Marshall shot with this forearm.
Two minutes later Raffique Bryan almost cut the deficit but sharp goalkeeping by Cordel Irving, who dived to his right to tip the ball around the post, kept the JC forward out.
The pressure from JC was unrelenting and Irving came up big again when he produced a stunning reflex save to deny Shackleford, who turned on a dime before firing on target.
The heavens opened up shortly after making the underfoot conditions slippery for the players. Brown took advantage of it and fired home from close range three minutes before half time. He was somehow able to maintain proper balance as everyone else around him was slipping in the goal area and fired into the corner of the goal, as Dowdie took the ball out of the net for the third time in the half.
Dowdie had to be at his best in time added on as Stewart struck a fierce shot from the middle of his instep that was heading for the roof of the net. The JC custodian did well to push the shot over the crossbar.
JC came out in full attack mode at the start of the second half and got back in the game just two minutes after the resumption. Flemmings scored from a rebound after Irving did well to stop his initial effort from the penalty spot.
Playing in driving rain, JC laid siege to the STGC goal as they headed down hill. Irving was called upon again and he produced another blinder to keep out the dangerous Bryan on the hour mark.
STGC was able to relieve the pressure through their strike pair of Stewart and Brown who played alongside each other, instead of off of each other, for the first time this season.
With crosses reigning in as much as the Constant Spring rain, Irving showed great timing to punch the ball away time and time again, whether from set plays or open play.
There was a huge uproar with 8 minutes to go when another JC effort was ruled out. Ronaldo Brown who had replaced Schakleford at half time, had his effort correctly ruled out as the forward used his hand to punch the ball into the goal.
Flemmings managed to make the final minutes of the contest interesting when he headed home a cross at the back post with a minute left in regulation time to make it 3-2. It wasn’t to be enough however, as Neville Bell collected his fifth Walker Cup title as coach of St. Georges College.
Bell was elated with the performance of his team after the long layoff.
“I told the boys that we needed to play to our strength which is our confidence. I told them to go out there and play with confidence and they did that.
“JC is a good team, a strong team and to get three goals against them is not easy. But before the rain came I thought we were playing some really good, I thought we were really good. This team has quality.”
Miguel Coley had nothing but praise for his team despite not getting the win they desired.
“We made critical mistakes in the first half and conceded three goals. We made some adjustments at half time and got back into the game. We got two back, but three was just too much for us on the day. But the boys fought like the champions they are and I am proud of them.”
St. Georges College can now boast being sole record holders for the most Walker Cup titles, while Jamaica College still have a chance to add one more title to their trophy cabinet this season, when they face the winners of the DaCosta Cup next week Saturday.