Red card, ISSA decision blamed for spoiling Maldon party
DILLON THELWELL, coach of Maldon High School, is perturbed about the venue change for yesterday’s must-win game in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) daCosta Cup football competition against St James High that ended in a 1-1 draw.
The match, played at Irwin High School’s playing field in St James, dampened Maldon’s hopes of advancing to the second round of the competition. The draw leaves Maldon, who occupy the second qualification spot in Zone A, just two points ahead of Cornwall College, who are set to play St James High in the final game of the Zone.
“It was our home game and I don’t even know why ISSA moved it to Irwin. That put us in a bad spot and just set up my school to lose,” Thelwell said.
“The tournament is not fair to small schools. ISSA needs something independent that governs them because when principals are friends, it’s hard. When you put in all of this work only to hear that this happen, is hard,” he added.
When asked why the game was moved, ISSA president Keith Wellington said it was to ensure the match would be played and not have to be rescheduled again, given how tight the calendar is with the second round starting this weekend.
After a cagey first half that saw both teams failing to break the deadlock, Maldon found the opener in the 61st minute through Renaldo Gallimore and believed they had the three points they needed to ensure qualification in the bag.
Maldon found themselves in a spot of bother seven minutes later though, when Nicholas Drummond picked up a red card, leaving them to hold on for dear life.
Their hearts sank when Kenou Gram netted the equaliser in the 83rd minute and eventually spoiled the party for the second-round hopefuls.
Thelwell, who is resigned to his fate, said despite a ‘great performance’ by his boys going a player down, caused his team to unravel.
“I think it was a great performance from my team. We knew this game was not going to be easy, so we made some tactical adjustments putting our best player, a defensive midfielder to play forward. He got a goal but after we went down to 10 players, we came under a lot of pressure in the last 10 minutes and that’s how we lost,” Thelwell said.
“I don’t think St James High will go as hard as they did today against Cornwall College. I just think it’s over for us,” he added.
Assistant coach of St James, Michael Reid, said they were determined to spoil the party.
“We were determined that we were going to put up a fight. We wanted to spoil somebody’s party because somebody spoiled ours,” said Reid, adding that his side was looking forward to ending on a high tomorrow.