STETHS, Frome, Manchester and Edwin Allen book spots in Ben Francis final four

By Sports Desk January 14, 2022

St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) secured their spot in the semifinal of the ISSA Ben Francis Cup following after cruising to a 2-0 win over Vere Technical.

After enterprising play early on Negus Daley gave STETHS the lead when he slipped by his defender at the area and fired the ball past Vere goalkeeper Michael Panton. 

With Vere finding it tough to create legitimate goal-scoring opportunities, Michael Jerman made the result safe for STETHS in the 56th minute.  After rapidly closing down defender Nevaughn Myrie, the industrious player sprinter away from the rest of the backline before lofting the ball over the advancing Panton and into the net.

Elsewhere, Frome got the better of Munro on the back of a goal from Javel Clarke.  The hard-sprinting Clarke finished with geometric precision after being played through on goal from a perfectly weighted pass from Fabian Forbes.

In other matches, a Shaquille Campbell double led Manchester High to a 3-0 win over Christiana and Edwin Allen also moved into the semifinals after a 2-1 win over Cornwall College.

 

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  • Hughes targets Olympic glory; expects Racers Grand Prix to offer taste of potential Paris test Hughes targets Olympic glory; expects Racers Grand Prix to offer taste of potential Paris test

    Winning a first global individual medal at last year’s World Championships whetted Zharnel Hughes’s appetite for more success, and so it comes as no surprise that the Anguillan-born Great Britain sprint sensation is strongly optimistic about clinching a medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

    In fact, if Hughes’s confidence to top his performances from last year is anything to go by, then he could very well accomplish the feat, provided he maintains a clean bill of health throughout the season.

    During last year’s electrifying campaign, which ended with his World Championships bronze in the men’s 100m final, Hughes broke Olympic champion Linford Christie’s 100m British national record when he clocked a personal best 9.83 seconds at the New York Grand Prix, in June.

    A month later, at the UK Athletics Championship, Hughes ran a brisk 19.77s, which is faster than John Regis’s national 200m record, but the time was wind-aided and, as such, was recognised as a record. However, Hughes, with his superb form, inevitably established a new record when he clocked a wind-legal 19.73s at the London Diamond League.

    With that in mind, coupled with his relentless work ethic and resolute pursuit of excellence, Hughes is poised to make another significant impact on the world stage this year. Whether or not it will be an Olympic gold medal triumph is left to be seen.

    “It's the Olympic year, so obviously you want to better what you did last year. I'm happy with how last year turned out for me, and this year is very much more exciting. I'm preparing myself nicely. I'm feeling fit and ready to go. Obviously as an athlete, you want to lower your personal best every year, but unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't work out like that. But I'm definitely aiming to lower my personal best both in the 100m and 200m,” Hughes declared.

    “I'm in good shape and I’m excited. I've definitely counted myself as one of them (athletes) to be reckoned with (for an Olympic gold medal). I'm never going to count myself out now because you've seen what happened last year, and I'm excited to top my performance from last year,” he added.

    Though he 48.25s in a 400m run in February, followed by a 20.40s-clocking in March, the 28-year-old pointed out that he is yet to really hit top gear in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games, but is aiming to do so at the sixth edition of the Racers Grand Prix, on June 1, at Jamaica's National Stadium.

    At the Racers Grand Prix, Hughes will line up alongside Racers Track Club teammate Oblique Seville and American World champion Noah Lyles in the 100m, which he considers a good prelude for what could come at the Paris Games.

    “I'm looking forward to it, I was listening for who was going to be there; Oblique and I have been training pretty good and I know both of us representing coach Glen Mills, will be bringing it on the day. So, I look forward to who's in the field, especially with Lyles being there,” Hughes said.

    “This race is to get you prepared for what's to come later in the summer. So, to have great competition like that at the Racers Grand Prix is just a great indicator to see where we're at, and what we can tweak going into our national trials, because my trials will be the latter part of June. So, for me, I'm looking forward to this race and the following week I'll have the European Championships as well. So, it'll be a great indicator for me,” he shared.

    Working tirelessly under the watchful eyes of decorated coach Mills, Hughes, a four-time European Champion, has upped the ante in the gym to improve his strength, as he is leaving no stone unturned in his quest for Olympic glory.

    “My training has been going tremendously well. I'm excited to open up properly (at Racers Grand Prix) because my first race wasn't so good because I had a little niggle, but I've overcome that now and I'm very excited to see what's there. I've worked on my strength a lot, physically, I'm a lot stronger and I just want to keep on top of my mental health as well,” Hughes revealed.

    “Those things are very crucial going into an Olympic year, so you have to be very focused. You have to ensure that your body is properly fit as well in order to go there to give the best that you're looking for. So, I'm pretty sharp on keeping my mental focus up and ensuring that I'm properly recovered,” he ended.

  • New England Revolution v Inter Miami: Porter targets 'mini season' as Messi comes to town New England Revolution v Inter Miami: Porter targets 'mini season' as Messi comes to town

    Coach Caleb Porter will treat the New England Revolution's next eight games as a "mini season", as the MLS strugglers prepare to welcome Inter Miami to Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

    The Revs sit last in the Eastern Conference standings with just four points from their first eight games of 2024, having lost their last two against New York City (0-2) and Toronto FC (0-1).

    Miami, meanwhile, are setting the pace in the East with 18 points from 10 matches, Lionel Messi scoring twice to help Gerardo Martino's team to a 3-1 win over Nashville SC last time out.

    Having started to come under pressure just five months into his reign, Porter says the Revs should approach Saturday's match with a clean slate. 

    "The first eight games weren't good enough in terms of our record, points, goals for, goals against," Porter said. "Bottom line, it wasn't good enough.

    "Right now, it's almost a new mini season, these next eight games. What's our record going to be at the end of these eight games?"

    Defender Nick Lima, meanwhile, called on the Revs to stay calm as he pointed out how quickly things can change in MLS.

    "Things happen fast in this league, man," he said. "We're one or two games away, then you're fighting for a playoff spot already, and who knows what happens from there?"

    The Revs could be in luck for Saturday's match, with reports suggesting the artificial turf used in Foxborough could cause Miami to think twice about risking some of their stars.

    Jordi Alba is injured and Luis Suarez may be held back, given his history of knee issues, but Miami full-back Julian Gressel expects Messi to feature.

    "I will ask when we're preparing for the game, but I'm sure we'll find out who will be available," Gressel said during an appearance on the Player/Manager podcast.

    "But he [Suarez] is the only one who has a question mark. Of course, Alba's hurt."

    Asked if Martino may decide against risking Messi, he added: "Not from what I've heard."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New England Revolution – Tomas Chancalay

    New England are the lowest scoring team in MLS with just five goals this year, despite attempting 14 shots per match, above the league average of 12.8. The Revs' 4.5 per cent conversion rate is the worst in MLS, with every other team scoring with at least 7 per cent of their shots this year.

    Chancalay has been one of the Revs' worst offenders, failing to score a single goal from a team-high tally of 22 shots this year, totalling 2.31 expected goals (xG). He has also missed a team-high four big chances this campaign, as defined by Opta.

    Inter Miami – Lionel Messi 

    Messi has contributed to a goal in nine straight matches in all competitions, scoring nine goals and recording five assists in total, the second time he has enjoyed such a run since joining Miami (also doing so between June 21 and August 26 last year).

    The Argentina great has contributed to at least one goal in 19 of his first 23 appearances for Miami in all competitions (20 goals, 10 assists). As ever, if Messi plays, everything will go through him.

    MATCH PREDICTION – NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION WIN

    With four points from eight matches, New England have made their worst start to a season in club history. 

    Their 1-0 defeat to Toronto last time out was their sixth of the campaign, one more than they suffered during the entirety of the 2021 season, when they won the Supporters' Shield (22 wins, seven draws, five defeats). 

    However, they may just feel home advantage gives them a chance of upsetting Messi and company on Saturday. After the visiting team won both meetings between the Revs and Miami in the 2021 season, the home side won all four meetings across the following two campaigns. 

    New England's three victories over the Herons have come by a combined scoreline of 10-1, while Miami's three wins over the Revs have all come by one-goal margins (6-3 on aggregate). 

    Miami have only won two of their last eight away league matches (two draws, four defeats), and given the likelihood of at least one of their big names being rested, the Revs may fancy their chances.

    Should Messi be rested, Miami have only won one of their four matches without him in MLS this season (one draw, two losses), taking one point per game compared to 2.3 with the Argentine. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New England Revolution – 54.2%

    Inter Miami – 20.4%

    Draw – 25.4%

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    With just three matchweeks to go in the Women's Super League, it really is all to play for.

    Manchester City lead the pack, three points ahead of rivals Chelsea. The Blues have a game in hand so can even things up, but are also behind the Citizens on both goal difference and goals scored. 

    Bristol City are all but down and will drop to the Championship if they lose at home to Man City and West Ham can get a win at Aston Villa, with both of those matches taking place on Sunday.

    Arsenal, meanwhile, travel to Everton for the early kick-off. The Gunners have won each of their last 16 WSL games against Everton, the joint-longest winning run by a team against a single opponent in the competition's history (Manchester City also managed 16 against Everton).

    Jonas Eidevall's side will be buoyant after securing Champions League qualification for next season, but they have not given up on chasing down the leaders, as they start the weekend six points off the pace.

    Arsenal's form on the road has been the chink in their armour this season. Three of Arsenal’s WSL defeats this term have come away from home (versus Tottenham, West Ham and Chelsea), though the Gunners haven’t lost outside of London in the competition since April 2023, in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, going eight unbeaten since then (seven wins, one draw).

    The Toffees, however, are also in good spirits after beating Brighton 2-1 last time out. Everton will be looking to win successive WSL games for just the second time this season. Four of their five wins this campaign have now come away from home, however. 

    One to watch in this encounter will be Beth Mead, who is finding the form that she was displaying before suffering the anterior cruciate ligament injury which kept her out for almost 12 months. 

    Mead has scored four goals in her last two WSL appearances, netting braces against both Bristol City and Leicester City. This is only the second time the England star has done so in back-to-back outings in the competition, also doing so for Sunderland in July 2015 (versus Chelsea and Bristol City)

    Elsewhere, Tottenham host Brighton in a mid-table clash. Tottenham are unbeaten in four previous home games against Brighton in WSL play (three wins, one draw), drawing this fixture 2-2 last season at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    They will be looking to build momentum ahead of next month's FA Cup final against Manchester United, but the Seagulls could provide them with a stern test.

    Brighton are unbeaten in their last three away WSL games (two wins, one draw), their longest-ever streak on the road in the competition; the Seagulls have scored 10 goals in four away games under Mikey Harris. 

    Aston Villa welcome West Ham to Villa Park, having struggled to hit the heights they reached last season. Winless in their last three WSL games (one draw, two defeats), Villa are on their longest run without victory since losing their opening five league matches of the season.

    The Hammers are teetering on the brink of the relegation zone, but a win against Villa would secure their WSL status for another season. 

    No side in the WSL this season has scored fewer goals than West Ham (17), whilst they are one of only two sides in the competition – alongside Arsenal - to be underperforming their expected goals (xG) figures, scoring their 17 goals from chances with an xG total of 20.7 (-3.7).

    Another reason why they find themselves in such a precarious position is they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last eight away WSL games (one win, one draw, six defeats), the second-longest ongoing streak in the competition, behind only Bristol City (21).

    Despite securing a place in the FA Cup final, Mark Skinner's Manchester United team have found this campaign a challenge after being so prominent in last season's title race. 

    The Red Devils began the season with doubts over the future of their star shot-stopper Mary Earps, with United rejecting a world-record offer from Arsenal for her services.

    Earps is United's leading-appearance maker in the Women's Super League and could play her 100th game in the competition for the Red Devils this weekend; since her debut for the club in September 2019, the England international has recorded more clean sheets in the top flight than any other goalkeeper (45).

    Leicester, United's opponents on Sunday, are looking to change their fortunes but have lost their last two games and could lose three in a row for the first time since December 2022 (a run of five).

    Manchester City will look to go six points clear of Chelsea in the final game of the weekend. Chelsea are not in action until midweek due to their involvement in the Champions League semi-finals, with the Blues taking a 1-0 first-leg lead over Barcelona into Saturday's second leg at Stamford Bridge.

    The Citizens know they need to keep their foot on the throttle as they pursue their first WSL title since 2016, a drought Gareth's Taylor's team are keen to end. 

    Their striker Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw leads the WSL scoring charts this season with 21 goals to her name. However, she limped off last time out and it is thought she may now miss the rest of the campaign through injury. Since the start of last season, she has recorded 51 WSL goal contributions – the most of any player (41 goals, 10 assists).

    City will also be keen to further boost their goal tally as the title race could come down to goals scored, should Chelsea win their games in hand and both sides match each other's results for the rest of the season. 

    City have scored in each of their last 18 away WSL games (38 goals), the longest such streak they've ever managed in the competition's history.

    Taylor's side have been ruthless this campaign, scoring 54 goals, with the likes of Lauren Hemp, Mary Fowler, Chloe Kelly and Jess Park all contributing. Only Shaw (24) has recorded more combined goals and assists than Hemp (15) in 2023-24. 

    Bristol City are the team tasked with stopping Taylor's juggernaut, and the Robins have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 29 WSL games, the longest such run any side has ever endured in the competition's history.

    With the title race as close as ever and bottom clubs still fighting for survival, it promises to be another exciting weekend in the WSL

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