Palmer 45th, Brown 48th
JAMAICA College ended their 33-year drought with a determined come-from-behind 2-1 win over defending champions Bridgeport to lift the Manning Cup schoolboy football title at the National Stadium yesterday.
|Jamaica College captain and goalkeeper Oliver Walker (centre) and teammates celebrate with the coveted ISSA/Pepsi/Digicel Manning Cup trophy after beating Bridgeport 2-1 in the final at the National Stadium yesterday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
JC were notching their 20th lien on the coveted Corporate Area football crown. Waterford won the third place play-off with a 5-2 thrashing of Kingston College in the curtain-raiser.
Midfielder Ramone Palmer (45th) and left-back De Andre Brown (48th) scored in either half to cancel out Andre Clennon’s 31st-minute strike, as JC ended unbeaten with a record of 11 wins and four draws from 15 games, after scoring an impressive 60 goals.
Both teams started tentatively before Bridgeport went ahead through last season’s Most Valuable Player, Clennon.
Left unmarked at the back post, the burly striker slammed his right-footer past ‘keeper Oliver Walker after Darren Mattock dribbled around De Andre Brown down the left flank to whip in a measured cross. It was only the sixth goal allowed by JC in the competition.
|JC midfielder Ramone Palmer (foreground) attempts to control a ball ahead of Bridgeport’s Adrian King (partially hidden) during yesterday’s Manning Cup final at the National Stadium. JC won 2-1. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Bridgeport then missed two glorious chances as JC chased the game. Andre Steele – with time and space – kicked over the crossbar from 10 yards in the 41st minute before Clennon’s shot from a tight angle was cleared off the line by Kemar Douglas in the 44th.
With memories of their 0-3 Walker Cup loss to Calabar fresh in their minds, the Dark Blues engineered an equaliser in the very next minute on the stroke of half-time.
The hard-working De Andre Brown received a pass from goalkeeper Walker at the half-line before sending his high, looping pass into the path of Palmer, who outsprinted two defenders before lobbing advancing Bridgeport custodian Geovannie Smith in one motion to level the score at 1-1 with his 12th goal in the competition.
Three minutes into the second period, the Alfred Henry-coached boys from Old Hope Road clinched the winner. Introduced into the game in the 46th minute, substitute Adrian Christian dribbled past two defenders down the right flank before delivering an accurate cross to De Andre Brown at the back post, who rifled his left-footer past the diving Smith to seal JC’s first hold on the trophy since 1974, when they defeated KC 1-0 in the final.
Henry told the Sunday Observer he was always confident of winning the title, even when they conceded the first goal.
“We didn’t have any problem. I wasn’t one bit worried… because we know we would win the game,” the affable Henry said.
“We were playing the better football; we just wanted to make the adjustment at half-time, which we did, and we got the result,” he added.
JC pocketed the winners’ cheque of J$175,000 and the symbol of Corporate Area schoolboy supremacy, while Bridgeport collected J$75,000.
Bridgeport’s coach Anthony Patrick blamed the loss on tactical indiscipline.