ST George’s College brushed aside Wolmer’s Boys, 2-0, and stayed on course to defend their ISSA/Digicel/Gatorade Manning Cup title at the National Stadium yesterday.


National Under-20 player Cordel Benbow, who was dropped from the last CFU World Cup Qualifiers, netted in the 11th and 81st minutes for the Light Blues.

Benbow rammed home his first in the 13th, then sealed the win by latching on to a through ball and calmly slotting home with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

It is the fourth time in the last five years that St George’s are reaching the final, having won the previous three editions. The Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell-coached boys from North Street will meet Hydel High in the grand showdown on November 24 at the National Stadium.

Interestingly, both StGC and Hydel opened the Manning Cup competition with a 1-1 draw on September 10, then played to another 1-1 draw in Group F of the preliminary round and will close the competition 44.

With Hydel clipping Excelsior 2-1 in the other semi-final, the feature encounter involving two of the oldest schools in the island got going in front of a disappointingly small crowd.

Wolmer’s was founded in 1729, which makes them 283-years-old, while the 162-year-old StGC was established in 1850. Both provided the gathering to an enthralling game of football.

St George’s, boasting seven National Under-20 players in goalkeeper Nico Campbell, Zhelano Barnes, Romario Jones, Andre Lewis, Cardel Benbow, Mark Brown and Oshane Boothe, looked more positive and were deserved winners.

Wolmer’s, with three national players — Jason Wright, Jorginho James and defender Kemo Wallace, plus National Under-17 striker Jaheel Hyde — in their line-up, just never looked the part.

The signs were clear from the outset as with just two minutes on the clock, Brown shot wide from just outside the box. Then 13 minutes into the contest, Barnes’ long ball bounced awkwardly between the Wolmer’s centre-halves and fell nicely for Benbow, who made no mistake from just inside the box.

A few minutes later, the skilful Benbow, with his tail up, dismissed Wolmer’s left-back Andre Wilson, turning him inside out on a few occasions before crossing into the box, much to the delight of the StGC fans.

In a rare first-half attack, Wolmer’s Demar Rose made a strong run forward and fired just wide. But immediately thereafter, the champions should have doubled their lead when Boothe’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Amal Knight.

The marauding Light Blues then saw Lewis’ shot hit the upright in the 44th minute. The half ended 1-0 in favour of StGC, but the game should have been wrapped up by then.

The second period was much like the first, with George’s bossing possession and always looking the more likely to score. With 25 minutes remaining, Coach Bell brought the decibel level at the stadium to a crescendo with the introduction of last season’s topscorer Kendon Anderson, who is nursing an injury.

Chants of ‘Pim Pim’ echoed across the stands.

With Wolmer’s lacking creative ideas, Benbow latched on to a through ball with nine minutes of regular time left and calmly chipped wide of the advancing goalkeeper to seal an impressive win and another trek in the Manning Cup final.

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