TOLL GATE, Clarendon — Highgate United survived a late Sporting Central rally yesterday at Brancourt to record a crucial 3-2 victory in their quest to avoid relegation from the Red Stripe Premier League.
The St Mary side raced into an unlikely 3-0 half-time lead after goals from Richard Allison (10th) and Carlos Barrett (17th and 37th) stunned the home crowd into silence.
Sporting were, however, much improved after the break and were rewarded for their enterprise when first-half substitute Jamoly Powell and schoolboy Corey Hylton struck in the 52nd and 77th minutes, respectively.
But with Highgate resorting to a counter-attacking game to protect their huge half-time advantage, it was always going to be an uphill task for the hosts to get anything out of a fixture that they were expected to win.
In fact, the south west Clarendon side could have lost by a wider margin had Barrett capitalised on goalkeeper Gerald Eastwood's error to complete his hat-trick in minute 76.
Coach Michael Smith was, however, happy with the three points, which he believes will serve as a big motivation in their fight against relegation.
"I have to give the guys a lot of credit for this victory because going up 3-0 against a quality team like Sporting Central you always expect them to fight back. But I think the guys did well to soak up the pressure," he said.
The defeat, meanwhile, means Sporting are yet to record a home win under new coach Lenworth Hyde, who has earned just four points from a possible 15 since taking charge just over a month ago.
The result also damaged their chances of clinching a place in the top six for the deciding fourth round as they remain on 29 points, just five above the relegation zone.
TEAMS: Sporting — Gerald Eastwood, Rupert Murray, Andre Morrison, Kevon Reid, Ricardo Thompson (Jamoly Powell 24th), Camaal Reid, Anthony Bennett, Francois Swaby, Corey Hylton, Peter Brown (Kadian Wynter 86th), Keith Kelly (Dwayne Campbell 67th).
Subs not used: Sanchez Lloyd, Dale Watson, Derron McLeod, Damano Solomon. Booked: Kelly (59th)
Highgate United — Kadeen Davis, Richard Allison (Jahmika Hutchinson 86th), Charles Williams, Dwayne Edwards, Andre Dyce, Christopher Harris (Sheldon Davis 65th), Akien Coley, Shamir Stewart, Kwesi Campbell, Carlos Barrett, Severo Murphy.
Subs not used: Taffarel Crosdale, Romaine Hamilton, Devontae Francis, Kevin Williams. Booked: Allison (45th), Davis (53rd), Edwards (62nd), Dyce (87th)
Referee: Dwight Royal Assistant Referees: Kedlee Powell, Melvin Reid Fourth Official: Doyen Tummings Match Commissary: Ewan Scott