SAVANNAH FC continued their dream start to the 2012-13 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season after Sunday's battling come-from-behind 2-1 win over fellow promoted team Cavalier SC at the Stadium East.
Linval Wilson and substitute Jessie Mayler got Savannah's goals in the 61st and 89th minutes, respectively, while defender Michael Stone (28th) netted for Cavalier, who lost Rasheedi Clarke to a second booking four minutes into the second half.
The Westmoreland-based Savannah, enjoying their debut campaign in the top flight, lead the standings with maximum nine points from three matches, while Cavalier have three after a win and two losses.
Assistant coach of Savannah, Audley Thomas, was elated with the start and showered praise on his team for rebounding with telling effect in the second stanza.
"I'm happy and I could never ask for a better start to the season than this. We came out this evening and were down one-love from the first half, but we stuck to the task and worked very hard.
"We started a bit slowly... and I think that was down to the long travel to Kingston. In the second half we played with more energy and the one-man advantage (that we had) also made a big difference," he said.
Cavalier's head coach David Laylor rued the missed chances, particularly in the opening half, but credited his opponents for making use of their numerical advantage.
"I thought we had them on the run early on. Games are won and lost by mistakes and I think we made more detrimental mistakes than Savannah. They made some mistakes and we should have won the game from the first half, but they did well to capitalise on our mistakes and they came out on top.
"I think a little indiscipline crept in. The red card had a big impact on the team because playing with one short we were at a disadvantage," Laylor told the Jamaica Observer on Sunday.
In an uneventful first half, Cavalier held the slight edge in possession against a sluggish-looking Savannah team and were on several occasions let down by a lack of incisive play in and around the 18-yard box.
Savannah were made to pay for the below-par start when Stone cut in from the left and buried his near-post effort past goalkeeper Gavine Barrett.
The second half started with a higher tempo from both teams, but Cavalier was soon down to 10 players as Clarke was penalised with a second yellow card for retaliating after being harried by Savannah's Fabian Samuel.
It took only 12 minutes for the visitors to take advantage when Samuel glanced a header to Wilson, who calmly nodded in the equaliser.
An open game ensued as both teams chased the winner, but it was the wily Mayler who made the decisive move a minute before the end of normal time when he was first to a loose ball and dribbled into the box before sliding home.
Cavalier SC — David Mitchell, Ajuran Brown, Geovaunie Samuda (Anthony Dawes 64th), Girvon Brown, Raymond Thompson (Andre Forbes 83rd), Rasheedi Clarke, Dwayne Williams, Troylan Williams (Michaelos Martin 76th), Claudius Blackburn, Kirk Fletcher, Michael Stone.
Subs not used: E Scarlette, R Williams, J Henry, C Marsh, J Nicholas.
Booked: Clarke (yellow- 33rd, ejected- 49th)
Savannah FC — Gavine Barrett, Linval Wilson, Shamar Bernard, Fabian Samuel, Cavel Blake, Omar Stewart, Davion Thorpe, (Jessie Mayler 72nd), Nicodie Haughton (Carlile Henry 52nd), Shane Anderson, Owen Cunningham (Marlon Sommerville 82nd), Triston Sommerville.
Subs not used: N Brissette, R Young, A Fagan, D Green, O Johnson.
Booked: T Sommerville (20th), Samuel (49th)
Referee: Kevin Morrison
Assistants: Ricardo Morgan, Malachi Brown
Fourth Official: Gawayne Scott
Match Commissary: Anthony Cooke