Sat | Jan 28, 2023

Curse from the spot

STATHS coach not giving up on ending 35-year wait for Manning Cup title

Published:Sunday | December 4, 2022 | 12:12 AMDaniel Wheeler - Staff Reporter
Williams
Williams

THREE MANNING Cup finals against Jamaica College, three penalty shootouts, three defeats. St Andrew Technical High (STATHS) were snakebitten from the spot again. But after Jamaica College took home their 31st ISSA/Manning Cup title Friday night...

THREE MANNING Cup finals against Jamaica College, three penalty shootouts, three defeats.

St Andrew Technical High (STATHS) were snakebitten from the spot again.

But after Jamaica College took home their 31st ISSA/Manning Cup title Friday night with an 8-7 shootout win, the way they lost the final this time might be the cruellest of all because they had a chance to win it.

STATHS head coach Philip Williams can’t explain it.

Both teams cancelled each other out as it finished 1-1 in regulation time. Jaheem Frazer gave the Dark Blues the lead in the 26th minute before Shakeone Satchwell equalised in the 57th minute as both sides had chances to finish the game in 90 minutes.

It had started well enough for STATHS as their goalkeeper Jaheem Williams, hero of their under-16 title run, made the first save and his teammates did the rest to get them into a position with the final kick of the fifth round to end the over three-decade wait.

But Namar Nelson saw his penalty sail high, sending the match to sudden death, deep into the ninth round. When JC’s Tevin Shaw made it 8-7, STATHS Rashaun Frankson could not match it, sending his shot over the bar, giving STATHS an all-too-familiar feeling.

“It is very difficult to explain. These are youngsters and it’s a very young squad. And probably the nerves, the occasion got the better of the last two kickers,” Williams said.

The majority of the STATHS core this season was built on the foundation of their under-16 title success last April. With that, many are playing their first seasons at the Manning Cup level.

EMOTIONAL SEASON

It has also been an emotional season for the team in a year in which they lost their comrade Omar Laing tragically that April, three months after making the 2021 Manning Cup semifinals.

Even after they were down 1-0, Williams did not change much in his halftime team talk to get the players ready to get back into the game, Satchwell providing the moment of brilliance they asked for.

“We just asked them to continue to play their game the way they know how and be disciplined. The chances will come, we just have to take the chances,” Williams said.

But in the lottery of the penalty kicks, lady luck continues not to shine on STATHS, who are without a Manning Cup crown since 1987. And while this latest defeat will be difficult to stomach, Williams said it hasn’t dampened his hope for a team that will be more determined than ever to go again in 2023.

“I’m very disappointed with the result. We were so close, one kick away from being crowned champions. That’s how the game is. But we cannot give up. It’s a young team and we have another year. There are a lot of positives from our season. We just need to look back at the positives and not the negatives and it will be an easy job to get them motivated again next year.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com