Petersfield, Charlemont for Ben Francis final

Observer staff reporter

Friday, November 16, 2018

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CLARENDON PARK, Clarendon — Petersfield High and Charlemont High are set to do battle for the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) Ben Francis Knockout title after registering contrasting semi-final victories at Juici Field in Clarendon yesterday.

Westmoreland-based Petersfield, with a brace from Khamali Burley (25th and 66th minutes) and one from Shewayne Barton (59th), blanked Port Antonio 3-0, while a ninth-minute strike from Howard Barker proved enough in Charlemont's 1-0 win over Lennon High in the feature game of the double-header.

On paper, it was expected to be a Lennon High versus Petersfield High final next Friday, but St Catherine-based Charlemont had other ideas and did enough to deny the 2016 champions.

This is the first time both Petersfield and Charlemont High are making it to the final of the competition.

After easing past Maggotty High in the quarter-finals, Charlemont were expected to have their hands full against Lennon High who were 5-0 winners over Old Harbour, and the contest lived up to its billing.

The scoreline was by no means a true reflection of the game as Lennon High were clearly the better team with slick passing and confidence on the ball being at the forefront of each deliberate build-up in the attacking third. However, the loss was somewhat of a punishment for their profligacy in front of goal.

With a massive crowd pouring in for this contest, including former world record holder and Charlemont alumni Asafa Powell, the St Catherine-based team quickly made their mark.

A poor clearance from Jevaughn Grant in goal for Lennon opened the door for Barker to slip by a defender and slot home.

That would be the only goal of the game despite Lennon gathering momentum in the latter stages of the first half which they carried over into the resumption.

The Mocho-based school went rampant in their pursuit for the elusive equaliser and had numerous opportunities to pull level, and by extension push ahead, but poor finishing in the final third proved their undoing.

Winning coach Kavi Meeks expressed pleasure with the win despite what he believes was a below-par performance from his team.

His counterpart Byjeon Thomas appreciated his team's performance, pointing out that he is “proud of the fight they showed”.

Earlier, the curtain-raiser between Port Antonio and Petersfield got under way approximately 36 minutes behind schedule due to the late arrival of the officiating team.

But the teams did not seem too deterred as they were evenly poised in the early exchanges.

After finding their footing, Barton signalled Petersfield's intentions in the 24th minute with a well-driven right-footed effort from distance that was well saved by Giovannie Fuller in goal for Port Antonio.

However, Burley found the go-ahead goal a minute later when he dispossessed Okeitha James deep in Port Antonio's defensive third and slotted past Fuller at the near post.

On the half-hour Petersfield created two good openings when a right-sided cross from Shawn Kirlew found an unmarked Jay Jamieson, but the latter muffed his shot.

And Barton launched the first of his menacing runs a few minutes later dismissing three defenders on his way to goal, but the final effort lacked composure as the scoreline remained unchanged at the break.

With the momentum still in their favour on the resumption, Petersfield asserted their authority and pushed further ahead on the stroke of the hour mark when Barton converted from the 12-yard spot after earlier being brought down inside the area.

And Burley, like he did in the first half, capitalised on another defensive error to slot home a loose ball and cap a handsome win for Petersfield.

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