2018 Manning Cup Final- The Saints Go Down 3-2 to Kingston College
It was disappointing end to a thrilling encounter as the Saints went down 3-2 to the Purples. It felt as if the crown was snatched from our grasp at the last moment. There was also disappointment for STGC U 16 team as they went down 2-0 to KC.
Much credit must be given to the coaching staff and team members for developing a side which most neutrals would agree wasn’t given much of a chance of reaching very far.
Firstly, it was a logistic nightmare in getting to the venue in a Friday evening peak traffic!! It took 3 hours for the 4 buses with STGC students to reach the venue; a drive which would normally take 30 minutes. The Stadium had a good crowd of maybe 10,000 patrons or so. Many of the patrons, including students probably didn’t reach home until after 11:00pm. I am sure this attendance would have doubled if the Final was played on the traditional Saturday.
Both teams pressed hard at the start. KC broke through with Rodgers getting a peach of a chance which he sent wide. The Saints would take the lead thanks to a series of interplay between Dunkley, Jahiem Brown and finished off by Damani Harris who calmly placed the ball in the back of the net. STGC went in the break with 1-0 up.
In the second half, STGC started quite flat since we knew that KC would surge forward to try to equalize. Goalkeeper Smikle would spill a tame shot that fell to KC’s Trevon Reid who scored.
However, the Saints were still in it and against the run of play, super-sub Chantamoi Taylor would score a peach of a header to send the Saints 2-1 up. Minutes later, Damani Harris would get a chance from 7 meters out but would strike the ball over the bar. It would prove to be costly and a turning point in the game.
With the minutes ticking away and KC making another expected surge, the STGC midfield again went flat and missing. KC took possession of the midfield and came at us. The defense was now under tremendous pressure and KC scored with 3 minutes to go to full time from good attacked which saw Smikle making a good initial save from a powerful shot which eventually ending up in the back of the net.
Our fate was sealed in the 91 minute, when a strike which was going well wide and out, struck Nathaniel Campbell to make a big deflection straight into our goal.
It was a brutal lesson for the Saints. We feel it for both youngsters Smikle and Damani who were both brilliant in the season in taking us to the Final. We have to very much encourage them now and allow time to heal their feelings.
So the Purples pulled it off. Congrats to them but we were ALMOST there.
Great effort STGC. Hold your heads high. Tonight was not our night.
We will rise once again.
TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD…