Last season's beaten finalist St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS ) and St George's College (STGC) battled to a 1-1 draw in their top-of-the-table Group A clash at Winchester Park yesterday.
Akeem Brown gave the visiting STATHS a 58th-minute lead but substitute Raheem Williams earned a share of the points for St George's College, heading home in the 69th minute.
It was a crucial point for the “Light Blues” as although they lost their perfect record, they maintained their lead atop of the group with 13 points from five games. STATHS stayed in second spot on 11 points after the completion of the first round of games.
With both teams dropping points, third-placed Cumberland High, on eight points, are back in the hunt for a top two spot. Tarrant High are fourth on four points with Papine High fifth with three points. Cedar Grove High are rock bottom without a point.
In front of a packed Winchester Park, STATHS had STGC on the run early as Shamir Gibbs, Tajay Watson, Anthony Nelson, Akeem Brown and Warner Brown were quicker to the ball and looked up for the match.
But under the urging from Head Coach Neville Bell, St George's came into their own as top scorer Chantomoi Taylor, with nine goals, started to penetrate the STATHS defence along with Nathaniel Campbell and Tyrese Bennett.
But just when the home team started dominating they fell behind as Akeem Brown's well-placed grounder flashed past goalkeeper Ommar Blake. However, substitute Raheem Williams leapt high to head past national goalkeeper Jeadine White and levelled the score.
STGC's Assistant Coach Marcel Gayle said this was not the result they were looking for, but he was happy for the point that kept them atop of the group.
“It was one of our not so nice games, but they are students because sometimes you set up some things and it just didn't work. But I think STATHS played us today, they did their homework and tried to stop us and stayed behind the ball. They played tactically disciplined,” said Gayle.
“We know we have the quality and we can beat any team on the day, but it was a tough game for us. It's a good sign, still early season, and we saw what's needed to be done so we just have to do it,” he added.
Meanwhile, with STATHS drawing their last two games, Philip Williams, head coach, said his team showed glimpse of quality and there were a lot of positives from the game.
“I am not disappointed because one of the saying in the team is when you having a bad day make sure you don't lose and we had a bad game against Cumberland and they did what they had to do and I had to get them up back mentally and I think they equipped themselves well today.
“The mandate that we have from the committee is to make sure we can compete at a high level and we are doing all that we have to do in terms of matching the big four – George's, KC, JC and can put Wolmer's in there and definitely Holy Trinity is also there and last year we proved the system to be functional and we hoping the same this year,” he added.
Elsewhere, Camperdown High maintained their five-point lead in Group C with a 2-0 win over Norman Manley High and moved to 16 points from six games. Charlie Smith stayed second following their 1-0 win over Eltham High, who are fourth with seven points, just one behind Norman Manley. Jonathan Grant edged Meadowbrook High 1-0 and moved to six points, while Meadowbrook stayed bottom with three points.
In Group G, Wolmer's Boys' whipped Jose Marti 4-0 and stayed top with 16 points, while Holy Trinity stayed in touch in second spot with 15 points following their 3-0 win over Waterford. Edith Dalton James consolidated third spot on 10 points with a 2-1 win over Pembroke Hall.
St George's College 1, STATHS 1
Charlie Smith 1, Eltham High 0
Meadowbrook High 0, Jonathan Grant 1
Camperdown 2, Norman Manley 0
Wolmer's Boys' 4, Jose Marti 0
Holy Trinity 3, Waterford 0
Pembroke Hall 1, Edith Dalton James 2