CATHERINE HALL, St James — Montego Bay United scored their first win of the 2013-14 Red Stripe Premier League season on Sunday, turning back Sporting Central Academy 2-0 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex at Catherine Hall and extending their home unbeaten record against the Clarendon team in Premier League action.
Bahamian international Lesly St Fleur picked up where he left off in last season's injury abbreviated campaign when he scored the first goal in the 34th minute, while Ronaldo Rodney justified his inclusion in the starting eleven when he scored the second in the 47th minute.
St Fleur led Montego Bay United with seven goals last year, while Rodney had scored four times, tying his season-high that he first archived with Village United in the 2011-12 season.
It was contrasting results for the teams as Montego Bay United bounced back from their opening game 0-1 loss at Tivoli Gardens a week earlier, while Sporting had surprised defending champions Harbour View 2-0.
Both teams are in a three-way tie on three points in mid-table.
Sporting coach Merron Gordon took the loss in stride, telling the Jamaica Observer he knew it was always going to be tough to beat Montego Bay United away.
"We showed some guts and showed pride," he said.
Montego Bay, who lost their first three games last season, were forced on the back foot early in the game on Sunday as Sporting had the better start and had several opportunities to score before the home team slowed the pace down with a patient passing game forcing Sporting to come at them.
Gregory Lewis should have given the visitors the lead as early as the ninth minute when a swift attack down the right flank drew the Montego Bay United defence and goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett to that side, leaving the other half of the goal exposed. Despite having time and a clear path at the majority of the wide open goal Lewis dragged his shot just wide of the target.
Montego Bay United gradually took the ascendency and eventually grabbed the lead when St Fleur glanced a header from a corner taken by Lacon Brissett past goalkeeper Gerald Eastwood in the 34th minute, quieting a loud set of travelling supporters.
With their confidence building, the home team stepped up their attacks and midfielder Keneil Kirlew fired a rocket of a shot from about 35 yards that sailed just inches wide of Eastwood's goal in the 40th minute.
The second half was less than two minutes old when Rodney added a second goal, finishing off a brilliant move down the right led by Jermaine Woozencroft as the Montego Bay United's slick passing in close quarters, left the Sporting defence wide open.
Montego Bay United — Jacomeno Barrett, Lacon Brissett, Ladale Richie, Winston Wilkinson, Orlando McBayne, Jermaine Woozencroft, Ronaldo Rodney (Fabian McCarthy-76th), Keneil Kirlew, Graeme Green (Allan Ottey-60th), Lesly St Fleur, Dino Williams (Jefroy Leslie-84th).
Subs not used: Garen Downie, Cordel Simpson, Donovan Carey, Kemiro James
Booked: Ottey (63rd), Wilkinson (67th)
Sporting Central Academy — Camaal Reid, Dale Watson, Francois Swaby (Huggart Nugent-63rd), Gerald Eastwood, Gregory Lewis, Jamoly Powell, Kadian Wynter (Cornelius Henry-66th), Linval Lewis, Michael Moreland, Ricardo Thompson (Romoy Parkins-35th), Roshane Goodly.
Subs not used: Christopher Mason, Derron McLeod, Kevon Reid, Sanchez Lloyd
Booked: Powell (54th), Lewis (90+1)
Referee: Kevin Thomas
Assistants: Nicholas Anderson, Damian Williams
Fourth Official: Veralton Nembhard
Match Commissary: Lorraine Scringer