Portmore United..................1 Vanzie (24th) Arnett Gardens...................0
DEFENDING champions Portmore United claimed a 1-0 win over Arnett Gardens in a controversial Red Stripe Premier League football match at Ferdie Neita Sports Complex on Thursday night.
The blue-and-white-clad team were in the lead through a 24th minute goal from Andrew Vanzie with ten minutes remaining on the clock when one of five floodlights at the complex went out.
The game was stalled for 12 minutes as Arnett Gardens players complained that there was poor visibility and they could not continue. The visitors were eventually called to the sideline by their coach Paul 'Tegat' Davis.
Referee Kevin Thomas sought the assistance of match commissary Garfield McDonald about making a decision on whether to proceed with the game or not. The decision to wait was taken.
Eventually, the lights returned and Portmore went on to win 1-0. But while referee Thomas told the Jamaica Observer that he could "clearly see the ball" despite the players' complaints, Davis added it was irresponsible officiating.
"These referees, they are not professionals. They should know it's not about them. A referee can say he can see the ball. It's not about them. It's about the players. It's wrong," he said.
"We waited 15 minutes for a light to come on? That's wrong. In internationals 15 minutes is too long.
While match commissary Garfield McDonald stated that the length of time the teams waited was reasonable, Davis disagreed. "They can say anything because referees defend each other," said an upset Davis, a former nationl striker.
The coach, however, conceded that Portmore played a good match on the day.
"Portmore really deserved it because they came out fighting and they scored a goal, so you have to congratulate them for that," said Davis.
Portmore coach Andre Waugh said his team played like true champions.
"I thought we played a really good game and the guys came out and they showed character and this is what championships are all about," he told the Observer.
He had no real issues with the delay in the game.
"I don't really see why they're upset. It's not our fault," Waugh said, adding that recent heavy rains had interfered with the electrical system on the compound.
Earlier, Portmore struck in the 24th minute through a beauty of a left-sided strike from 23-yards by Vanzie.
With two minutes to go in the first half, Portmore seemed intent to score again as Alanzo Adlam made a dash for the area, but he was thwarted when his play was intercepted and the ball cleared by Arnett Gardens' Jason Moore.
Arnett remain in third position with 16 points, while Portmore moved into sixth on 13.
Portmore United — Carlloyd Walters, Adrian Reid, Ryan Wellington, Andrew Vanzie, Kereem Manning, Damian Williams, Ewan Grandison ( Ricardo Morris 80th), Paul Wilson (Adoah Nickles 61st), Andrew Christie, Alanzo Adlam, Mauricio Gordon (Stephen Williams 68th).
Subs not used: Kemar Foster, Bryan Bayliss, Rickardo Harriott, Damian Binns,
Booked: Grandison (10th), Vanzie (26th), Morris (86th)
Arnett Gardens — Damion Hyatt, Gerald Neil, Odaine Simpson, Jason Moore, Leon Strickland (Elton Thompson 73rd), Lamar Nelson, Vishinul Harris, Kirk Ramsey (Jonathan Williams 53rd), Ricardo Smith, Marcelino Blackburn (Fabian Reid 53rd), Rohan Reid.
Subs not used: Oraine Dixon, Jabeur Johnson, Andrew Peddlar, Vanado Manning
Booked: Harris (34th), Neil (90+ 2)
Referee: Kevin Thomas
Assistants: Garnet Page, Omar Mills
Fourth Official: Wilverglen Lamey
Match Commissary: Garfield McDonald