Portmore slip closer to relegation
PORTMORE United fell deeper into relegation peril after a 1-2 defeat to parish neighbours Rivoli United in the Red Stripe Premier League clash at the Bramwell Clark Sports Complex in Ewarton, St Catherine, yesterday.
Rivoli, who scored courtesy of Kemar Bennett's effort in the 18th minute and a Devon Hodges penalty kick six minutes before the end, sealed their spot in next season's competition after earning promotion to top flight football last summer.
Portmore, the national club champions two seasons ago, got their goal through Paul Wilson in the 21st minute.
Calvert Fitzgerald, whose team has won four of their last six games and has been unbeaten in nine matches since the start of the third round, moved into provisional fifth place on 41 points.
"We needed this win to secure our tenure in the Premier League and now we want to finish as high as possible.
"This was not one of our better games, we gave up opportunities we wouldn't normally give up and we got chances we didn't put away," Fitzgerald said.
Portmore remain 11th in the 12-team standings, on 33 points, with the knowledge that the two teams with the lowest number of points will be demoted. Only two rounds of games remain in the preliminary stage.
An openly deflated Calvin Lewis, the Portmore United head coach, said poor defending and their season-long weakness of failing to put away easy chances were the reasons for the loss.
"Those early chances that we missed, we paid the price for them. Then we gave up a silly penalty because a long clearance beat the entire backline. But we have to just keep fighting in those two games and hope for the best," Lewis told the Jamaica Observer.
Rivoli opened the scoring in cool afternoon conditions when Bennett's deflected shot beat Portmore goalkeeper Gariece Mcpherson.
Three minutes later, Hodges lost possession in the centre of the park and Portmore's attacker Jovan East dribbled the ball away from his marker before slipping a pass to Wilson, who banged into the far corner with a one-time shot.
Though Portmore created the better of the chances, Rivoli looked the more hard working of the two teams and went ahead in the 84th minute.
Rivoli's Cory Burke was adjudged to have been fouled by McPherson in the 18-yard box and Hodges stepped forward to knock home the penalty kick to seal the win.