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Best lifts St James South

Randy Bennett

Best lifts St James South

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St James South saved the best for last.
Marcus Best’s 72nd minute header allowed St James South to repel a spirited St Philip North side, defeating them 1-0 when action in the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic continued Wednesday night.
In the nightcap at the Haynesville playing field, Best led his team to their first victory of the competition, while handing their opponents their first loss after both sides drew their opening games.
The St Philip supporters barely had time to sit down before referee Gillian Martindale awarded their team a penalty after spotting a foul in the box.
But Edward “Ratty”’ Brereton’s spot kick was superbly saved by St James South’s goalkeeper and captain Kwame Haynes diving to his right.
After that opening scare, the home side went on the attack, and a wonderful run by Damion Thorington on the right flank saw him get inside the 18-yard box only to fire his shot high and wide.
Rashad Smith’s effort from just outside the penalty area also went well wide and it took sharp and alert goalkeeping from St Philip North’s custodian Codie Skeete to deny Thorington, who ran on to a through ball.
A Marlo Williams shot, despite being on target, was easily saved by Skeete, before St James South wasted their best opportunity of the half.
A brilliant ball from Uriel Springer split St Philip’s defence, and sent Thorington through on goal. But with just an advancing Skeete to beat, he inexplicably scuffed his shot wide.
The script was flipped in the second half, though, with St Philip North looking like the team more likely to score.
Some good skill on the left side from Dario Blackman was wasted when after dribbling two St James South defenders, he fired a wayward shot.
Minutes later, a pinpoint cross from Willis Pilgrim found an unmarked Brereton about eight yards from goal, but the veteran headed over the crossbar with the goalkeeper at his mercy.
Another good move from Blackman once again ended with a poor finish, the ball ballooning over the crossbar, before Pilgrim skied a left-footed effort.
And St Philip North were made to pay for their faulty finishing when Best moved forward on a counter-attack, and headed his shot to the right of Skeete.
With seconds remaining, St Philip were unlucky not to score, when Paul Straughn’s powerful shot was superbly saved by Haynes, with the rebound falling at the feet of Brereton.
His cross found the head of Blackman, but his goal-bound effort was headed off the line by Renaldo Bailey as St James South held on for the win.
In the night’s first match, St James Central came from behind to defeat ten-man St Philip West 2-1 through a 33rd minute penalty by Christopher Holmes and a 54th minute goal from Hayden Holligan.
Okesi Ledeate scored St Philip West’s lone goal in the 22nd minute.
Over at Trents, St John blanked St George South 3-0, thanks to goals from Akeem Rouse in the 16th minute and a brace from Zico Marshall (60th and 68th).
St James North were also big winners, demolishing St Philip South 4-0. Junior Richards started the rout in the 59th minute, with Jamar Stuart (72nd), Shawn Wilson (73rd) and Rommel Prescod (87th minute) completing the job.