Spanish Town outmuscle Calabar 2-1
Sanjay Myers Tuesday, November 06, 2012

EXCELSIOR and Spanish Town High will battle for a semi-final spot on Friday after both teams recorded respective wins at Constant Spring yesterday to remain joint leaders of Group H in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Gatorade/Digicel Manning Cup.

In the opening encounter, 2004 winners Excelsior continued their dominant run in the second round by coming from a goal down to hammer Donald Quarrie High, 6-1.

The Mountain View Avenue school was led by attacker Brian Richards, who scored a remarkable five-timer. Richards struck in the 15th, 31st, 43rd, 88th and 90th minutes to overwhelm the Wayne Bruce-coached Donald Quarrie and ultimately, end their faint hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

Kareem Banton (45th) was also on the scoresheet for Excelsior after Steve Clarke’s sixth-minute strike had given Donald Quarrie a surprise 1-0 lead.

Spanish Town, guided by Kevon Nembhard’s brace, joined Excelsior on six points after muscling their way to a 2-1 win over a wasteful Calabar who have are now out of contention.

Nembhard opened the scoring for Spanish Town in the 25th minute but after a series of missed opportunities, Calabar, playing without top marksmen Javon East and Kyle Scott finally drew level through striker Gequan Pringle’s poked effort in the 38th.

The powerfully-built Nembhard gave Spanish Town the lead for good just one minute before the half-time break when he barged into the Calabar 18-yard box and booted home.

Spanish Town’s head coach Anthony Thompson said he was not satisfied with his team’s showing in the first half, but felt that after the interval the players “fought hard” to maintain the advantage.

“We started well and got that goal, but after then our play was a bit patchy. I was praying for the (half-time) whistle because we had nothing good going for us. I put in a tough talk at the half and I really think they came out and fought hard in the second half. I’m happy with where we are and I’m just looking to build from here,” Thompson told the Jamaica Observer after the match.

His counterpart at Calabar, Marvin Tate, explained that Scott and East were left out for disciplinary reasons and added that the team played well in parts, but were made to pay for their mistakes.

“Generally, it was a scrappy game, but I think we played well at various points. Those missed chances hurt us. We have been plagued by indiscipline and that is the reason those two players did not take part. Even then, I think we could have done better, but we made some silly mistakes,” Tate said.

With the respective victories, Excelsior and Spanish Town share the top spot from two matches, but the former is narrowly ahead on goal difference.

The teams will clash in the decider at the Spanish Town Prison Oval on Friday in the 3:00 pm feature. A draw for Excelsior will see them progress to the semi-final, while Spanish Town need to win on their home turf to take that spot instead.

Calabar and Donald Quarrie, both without a point, have no chance of advancing.

In today’s round of matches at Constant Spring, Group I leaders Kingston College (three points) will challenge 2010 champions Jamaica College (one point) in the marquee encounter at 3:00 pm.

In the 1 o’clock curtain-raiser, Hydel High (one point) will start favourites against cellar-team Denham Town.

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