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Excelsior blank Trench Town
Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
DESPITE missing two penalties, Excelsior blanked Trench Town 3-0 to move clear in Group C, in the ISSA/Pepsi/Digicel Manning Cup schoolboy football match at Courtney Walsh Oval, Excelsior, yesterday.
The winners, who played without the injured Nico Brett - their top player - are now on 20 points, four clear of former champions Calabar, who were idle.
"We played a fairly good game but we missed a lot of chances. This is one of the off days," said Excelsior's coach, Lebert Halliman. "The Manning Cup starts in the next round so we are just ensuring that we qualify for the next round."
Juvanne Benjamin, at 0-0 in the first half and Zhelano Barnes, when his team led 1-0 at the 67th minute, took penalty kicks that were saved by Trench Town custodian, Marlon Murphy.
Three minutes before half-time, though, Excelsior belatedly got on the scoresheet, albeit in a controversial manner when two balls appeared on the field. The referee, however, did not stop play as he deemed the second ball not to be interfering with the game. Some of the Trench Town players appeared to have stopped while others were busy pointing out the second ball to the official. This allowed Jhiovanne Howard to run into the box before slipping the ball around the onrushing Murphy.
"(There were) two balls on the field and the referee allowed it to play and it caused a goal," said Trench Town's coach, Herbert 'Dago' Gordon.
Excelsior scored again at the 70th minute due to a terrible defensive mix-up, which allowed Juvanne Benjamin to round the 'keeper and roll the ball into the goal.
Two minutes later, another defensive error allowed Excelsior's Javon Hussey to calmly stroke the ball into the unprotected goal for a 3-0 cushion.
Trench Town's afternoon was made worse when Andrew Thompson was shown a straight red card in the 87th minute for a malicious tackle.
"We played for around 70 minutes and after that we lost focus of what the real focus of the football game was," said Gordon.
Group B: Innswood 0 St Jago 2, Norman Manley 5 Ardenne 1, Josť Marti 2 Haile Selassie 0.
Group C: Spanish Town 3 Tarrant, Excelsior 3 Trench Town 0.
Group F: Charlie Smith 3 St Mary's College 0, KTHS 3 Ascot 1.
Group C: Cumberland vs Campion at Cumberland at 3:30 p.m.