It's official, Savannah demoted
Montego Bay United 2 Irving (32nd), Ottey (60th) Savannah SC 1 Haughton (34th)
CATHERINE HALL, St James — Savannah SC's adventures in top-flight club football in Jamaica will not extend past their initial season after they were officially relegated after suffering their 22nd loss of the season, beaten 2-1 by Montego Bay United in their third-round Red Stripe Premier League game at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Sunday.
Goals from Leon Irving in the first half and Allan Ottey in the second, sandwiched an equaliser from Nicodie Haughton as Montego Bay United won for the 13th time to end the third round on a high.
After starting the season with three straight wins and setting predictions on their head, Savannah SC, who had earned promotion every year for the previous four seasons, winning at every stop, will return to the Western Confederation Super League next season.
Savannah SC are on 19 points and with five more games to come in the fourth round, they cannot catch 10th-place Humble Lions who are on 37 points already.
It was a disappointing end for Savannah's coach Marvin Quarrie. "The Premier League was a learning curve and we are still learning what it takes to be at this level," he said.
If afforded the chance to return anytime soon, Quarrie said they would not make a number of the mistakes they made this time. "We signed a number of players who were not committed, they did to have the proper attitude or dedication," he said in reflection.
Montego Bay United, meantime, regained their form by winning their last two third-round games by an aggregate 6-1 after a 4-0 mauling of Arnett Gardens the previous week and just failed to make it into the top six.
They ended the third round on 47 points, just one shy of sixth-placed Tivoli Gardens and their place in next season's competition should be safe.
Montego Bay United missed a number of chances early and late in Sunday's game and could have won by a wider margin.
Bahamian Lesley St Fleur should have scored in the 31st minute but, after being sent through, wasted the opportunity by holding up the ball allowing the Savannah defence to reorganise and deny him a chance to even shoot.
Irving shot his team into the lead a minute later when he beat goalkeeper Chad Blair at his near right post from a melee a few yards from the goal line.
Savannah levelled the scores two minutes later when Haughton beat a slow Jacomeno Barrett after collecting a low cross from the right side.
Savannah were forced to substitute goalkeeper Blair early in the second half after he took a well-driven drive in the chest from Ottey taken from less than five feet away. The game was held up on two occasions as medical staff tended to the goalkeeper but he was eventually taken off complaining of persistent pain in his chest. He was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital but was released and sent home, the Jamaica Observer has learnt.
Teams: Montego Bay United — Jacomeno Barrett, Lesley St Fleur, Orlando McBayne (Graeme Green 77th), Winston Wilkinson, Leon Irving (Renaldo Rodney 71st), Jermaine Woozencroft, John Barrett, Mauracio Gordon (Oraine Gaynor 84th), Fabion McCarthy, Keneil Kirlew, Allan Ottey.
Subs not used: G Downie, K James, D Ambusley, O Braham
Booked: John Barrett 37th
Savannah SC — Chad Blair (Christopher Louden 54th), Linval Wilson, Cavel Blake, Fabion Samuels, Triston Sommerville, Omar Stewart, Shavar Campbell, Dwayne Roseway (Deaundre Alvaranga 77th), Omar Russell, Shamar Bernard, Nicodie Haughton (Anthony Drummond 87th).
Subs not used: R Young, K Smith, E Bryan, S Mitchell
Referee: Lewin Purser
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Edwards, Terrence McKenzie
Fourth Official: Tyrone Robinson
Match Commissary: Fitzroy Reid
— PAUL REID