RSPL: Arnett only home team to win on opening day
Arnett Gardens coach Jerome Waite in discussion with star player Steve Clarke on the sidelines during Sunday's opening match versus Humble Lion. Arnett won the game 2-0. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)
Arnett Gardens defeated Humble Lion 2-1 in rainy conditions at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Sunday to kick off their Red Stripe Premier League campaign on a positive note.
A second-minute goal by Vishinul Harris and another from Javoni Simms in the 70th-minute handed the 'Junglist' all three points, making them the only home team on win on opening day.
Newcomers Mount Pleasant Football Academy travelled to Spanish Town Prison Oval and stopped defending champions Portmore United 2-1. Tivoli also took to the road and stopped home team Montego Bay United 2-0, the same score that Cavalier handed hosts Reno at Frome Sports Complex. The match between UWI and Harbour View was not played because of a waterlogged field at Mona Bowl.
The results have left Cavalier and Tivoli leading the standing on goal difference over Mount Pleasant and Arnett Gardens.
In the late match at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, Arnett, kicking north, took the lead early in the first-half, when Harris, just outside the six-yard box, rose high, to head a right-sided free kick to the left of goalkeeper Damion Crooks.
The custodian held on, but the wet ball, caused from rain, slipped from his grasp and rolled into the goal.
Arnett, despite having many of their attacks disrupted by puddles that formed in front of Humble Lion's 18-yard box, dominated the action for most of the first half, with Fabian Reid missing a number of scoring chances to increase their lead.
Reid's best chance was one he created for himself, when he dribbled by two defenders directly in front of goal and fired to the right of goalkeeper Crooks, with the ball hitting the upright and rebounding into play, before being cleared.
Humble Lion made them pay for the many missed opportunities, when a late flurry of attacks, towards the end of the half, had referee Carl Tyrell calling a penalty after ruling that Rickardo Oldham had handled the ball inside the area. Foster converted from the spot.
The goal gave Humble Lion even more life and they ramped forward for the remaining minutes. They should have taken the lead almost on the stroke of the half time, but Shevaughn Robb, inside the six-yard, missed a simple tap in from a right-flank cross from Hughan Gray.
Arnett Humble Lion RSPL 2018/19
Arnett continued to have the better of play during the second half, while missing more chances to take the lead.
Simms eventually found the back of the net to give Arnett the winner, when he fired high over a number of defenders into the back of the net, after a rebound that hit the right goal post, bounced kindly to him in front of goal on the fringes of the 18-yard box.
As they did in the first, Humble Lion roared back minutes before the match ended, with Foster missing an opportunity to equalise after a cross from the right found him inside the 18-yard box at the far post. With goalkeeper Damion Hyatt already out of position from the cross, Foster failed to fire with pace and the ball was cleared from going over the line by the recovering Arnett defence.