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Advantage Catherine Hall
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Catherine Hall FC took a big step towards crowning themselves 2008-09 St James JNBS/Hart Senior Football League champions on Friday afternoon when they clipped Melbourne Strikers 2-1 in the competition's first leg final at the UDC playing field, in Montego Bay.
"I thought we played quite well today and we just need to maintain our focus in the return game and we should be all right," said Garfield Anderson, the coach of the Catherine Hall team. "We feel reasonably comfortable with the way things are."
In a game they dominated but wasted several good chances, Catherine Hall scored through a double strike from the wily Andre Barrett to lead 2-0 going into the dying moments of the game. However, a late strike by Trevan Allen gave Melbourne a consolation goal and a stronger position going into Wednesday's return game at Jarrett Park.
"We did not play well today because we allowed the Catherine Hall team too much space," said Delroy Harding, the manager/ coach of Melbourne Strikers. "We will be heading back to the drawing board to make the adjustments we think we need to make for the return game."
The game started with Catherine Hall dominating the action. They should have taken the lead in the second minute when Jamaal Morrison's brilliant free-kick flew inches wide of the goal with goalkeeper Sherman Sterling struggling to get into position.
After soaking up more Catherine Hall attacks and surviving more chances on their goal, Melbourne got their first chance in the 35th minute when Winston Montaque found himself with space before the goal but fumbled and lost possession to an alert defender. The half ended 0-0.
Down into second half play, Catherine Hall took the lead in the 53rd minute. Damion Sappleton capitalised on a defensive error, sped down the left side and crossed into the path of Barrett whose header gave the goalkeeper no chance.