Sport

KC weather storm to prevail over JC in shootout

Monday, November 18, 2019

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There was joy and a bit of disappointment for Kingston College's Head Coach Ludlow Bernard after his team literally weathered the storm to come out 3-2 winners on penalties over Jamaica College in a rain-affected ISSA Champions Cup semi-final encounter at National Stadium on Saturday.

High drama surrounded the much-anticipated clash which ended 1-1 in regulation time, as both teams struggled with the underfoot conditions caused by the heavy downpour.

Add to that the fact that it was also hard for the officials, the large crowd inside the Grandstand and the viewing public to distinguish between the dark blue of Jamaica College and the purple of Kingston College at times, which resulted in the former having to change their top 15 minutes into the second half.

That aside, both teams left it all on the pitch for what was the first of two meetings between them, as they will again lock horns in Wednesday's Manning Cup semi-final at the same venue.

Kingston College, for their part, have booked a Champions Cup final date with Clarendon College, who blanked Cornwall College 3-0 in the curtain-raiser of the double-header.

While pleased that his team is in the final to reclaim a title they won in 2017, Bernard expressed disappointment with how the surface held up.

“This one was really difficult, we really didn't get a chance to settle and play our game, our half of the pitch had a lot of puddles, so we had a really difficult time getting the ball out of our half and into the opponents' half and I dont think our players adapted to the situation well,” Bernard told the Jamaica Observer in a post-game interview.

“So I am really glad for the win because we had to overcome a really difficult second half and I am very disappointed with this pitch because I thought a pitch like this would have held up much better than this.

“It affected our game and I am sure it affected Jamaica College game as well, but we found a way which is the most important thing and it's good that the guys could capitalise,” he added.

Both teams started well showing good attacking intent, but had nothing to show for it in the first half hour, as they were able to nullify each other defensively.

Kingston College gradually gained the ascendancy in the latter stages of the half and eventually broke the deadlock when Demario McCarthy fired home from close range as goalkeeper Tarique Barrett was hesitant in coming for the ball after an intended clearance spliced off a defender's boot.

The North Street-based team managed to maintain that lead way past the hour mark even as the rain pelted the field and Jamaica College just about hitting top stride.

While Kingston College struggled with the deteriorating conditions in the latter stages of the game, Jamaica College somehow relished them, as they trapped their opponents in their half with a marauding attacking spell that inevitably saw them back on level terms in the 83rd minute.

Shadane Lopez was on hand to head home from close range after a cross bounced up nicely off the surface and into his path.

Jamaica College could have put the game to rest two minutes from time when Richard Thompson's intended shot screamed across the face of goal, but Lopez arriving at the far post just failed to get that crucial touch in.

So it was on to the dreaded penalties with Kingston College kicking first through Luis Watson, who had his left-footed effort saved by Barrett.

Tyrese Small stepped up and converted for Jamaica College, after which Christopher Pearson skied his effort for Kingston College.

From there Jamaica College seemed well on their way, but Nikache Murray hit the crossbar and Thompson had his effort saved by Hasani Barnes, who replaced David Martin in goal for Kingston College specifically for the shootout.

The purples clawed their way back as Tyrese Williams, Ajay Stewart and Michael Allen all converted, while Phillon Lawrence converted for Jamaica College.

With the score at 3-2 at that point, Lopez was trusted to pull Jamaica College level and send it into sudden death. However, he skied his effort sending the Kingston College team and fans into a frenzy.

— Sherdon Cowan


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