CLARENDON, Jamaica — Déjà vu? The ghost of the 2009-10 Digicel Premier League season, could it really be back to haunt Portmore United on their four-year anniversary?
While their adversaries are undoubtedly hoping that's the case, the Portmore faithful are praying that their team is simply experiencing a poor early-season form. And, like all great sides, will engineer a comeback, preferably in the very near future, that will eventually see them challenging for, if not lifting, the Red Stripe Premier League trophy in May.
In that nightmarish campaign four years ago, Portmore finished in the bottom half of the 12-team league, just five points above the relegation zone, with a woeful record of 13 defeats, 14 draws and 11 wins — scoring a mere 24 goals, while conceding 28 from their 38 games.
So far this term, they are rooted at the foot of the table after taking just one point from five games, scoring one goal while giving up seven. But, judging by Sunday's performance against Sporting Central Academy at Juici Patties Park, their first victory might just be right around the corner.
At the end of the day, the most important statistic of the game will indicate an impressive 3-1 win for Sporting, but in reality Portmore's performance did not deserve such a bruising defeat, if any at all.
Right up to the last moments, Portmore were very much still in the contest and, on another day, might have even nicked all three points.
They were given a dream start by former Sporting player Levaughn Williams when his 12th-minute toe-poked effort just managed to sneak into the net. But that would be their only stroke of luck on the day.
In fact, only misfortune would follow.
First, they fell behind — conceding two penalties from identical handball situations, which were confidently put away by Sporting's Francois Swaby for his second and third goals of the season — in a six-minute blitz.
Then, chasing the equaliser, Ricardo Morris could only hold his head as his thunderous long-ranged effort crashed into the upright, before having another goal-bound effort blocked by a cluster of Sporting defenders. And, as if they weren't having a bad enough day, they had to watch dismay as Andre Morrison, Sporting's left-full back, drove the final nail in their coffin by floating a picture-perfect free-kick past goalkeeper Carlloyd Walters.
But, when you are Portmore United — five-time national league champions, four-time Champions Cup winners, 2005 Caribbean champions, and the club that has exported the most Jamaican footballers in the last decade — there's no consolation in losing a game 3-1, especially when you are sitting in the relegation zone. The sombre body language of the entire coaching staff, when referee Tyrone Robinson blew the final whistle, confirmed that much.
They just sat there, in the technical area, almost motionless for about three minutes internalising. Perhaps, wondering: "What next? Certainly not the ghost of 2010?"