Sports

STATHS, STGC to settle score in make-or-break Manning Cup play-off

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Having battled long and hard throughout the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup season, St George's College (STGC) or St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) could see their journey come to an end today.

The two will meet in the Group G quarter-final play-off in a bid to secure the final semi-final spot at Constant Spring Field in a 2:30 pm encounter.

After playing out a goalless scoreline in their previous quarter-final fixture a few weeks back, both teams will have to be at their absolute best today in this play-to-finish contest, as they seek to join repeat semi-finalists, champions Jamaica College, as well as Holy Trinity and Kingston College in the final four.

Both teams had earlier ended with three points and the exact goal difference — scored and conceded the same number of goals-behind group winners Holy Trinity.

Many-time champions St George's College are usually well known for their fluid attacking play and, though they have been kept fairly silent throughout the first round albeit scoring 22 goals, at no point in time should they be underestimated.

The North Street-based team will have the advantage of being the fresher unit, after being out of action since their 1-2 extra time loss to neighbours Kingston College in the Walker Cup Knockout competition.

However, assistant coach Marcel Gayle is aware that fresh legs do not guarantee the results will be in their favour and as such is rallying his troops to come big on the day.

“I think it will come down to who wants it more on the day and with that said, I think my side is ready and confident to overcome the task. We are fully motivated and raring to go out there and play our brand of football, which is to move the ball around and pounce when the opportunity presents itself.

“Our season has not been bad so far as we have not conceded many goals, but we haven't been scoring many either. But we are confident, we know what is at stake and we are going out there to battle hard,” Gayle told the Jamaica Observer.

Meanwhile, STATHS, coming off their recent Super Cup loss to St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), will also be confident of putting their best foot forward.

By all indications this contest could possibly end up in the dreaded penalty shoot-out to determine who will face Kingston College in the semis, as the Bomper Hall-based team might do well to deny STGC, but don't really pack a strong punch in attack.

But a repeat of their first-half Super Cup performance over the weekend could spur them across the line should they grab an early lead against St George's College, given their defensive strength.

Phillip Williams, head coach of STATHS, said his guys are raring to go, having gained added confidence from their recent Super Cup outing.

“The guys are looking to bounce back from the recent Super Cup defeat and they are very much looking forward to this game, because it could be our last game of the season if we fall short. The spirit of the team is up and we are ready physically and mentally to go out there and give it our best,” Williams told the Observer.

“We took a lot of positives from the STETHS game because the guys performed well; we went in front and the game ended 1-1 before we lost on penalty. So a number of positives came out of that performance and the guys are ready and raring to go against St George's College,” he added.

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