A 62nd-minute header from Rafiek Thomas propelled Tivoli Gardens a 1-0 win over Montego Bay United in their opening Red Stripe Premier League match at the Edward Seaga Stadium yesterday.
Thomas pounced on a Dwayne Smith cross and got the better of the towering Jacomeno Barrett in goal to give the war-torn West Kingston community something to smile about finally.
In other games, defending champion Harbour View got off to a poor start and was rocked 0-2 by Sporting Central Academy courtesy of goals by Gregory Lewis (28th minutes) and Francois Swaby (75th) at Juici Patties Park in Clarendon.
In the clash of the promoted teams, August Town and Rivoli United battled to a 1-1 draw at the UWI Bowl.
At Effortville Community Centre, Roberto Fletcher's fifth minute strike was enough as Humble Lion edged Arnett Gardens 1-0, while Waterhouse blanked Boys' Town 2-0 at Drewsland with goals from Marvin Morgan and Romario Campbell.
Back at the Edward Seaga Stadium in front of a relatively small crowd for an opening day match, both Smith formerly of Meadhaven United who was later drafted by New England Revolution in the United States Major League Soccer in 2012 and the lanky Rohan Reid made their debut for Tivoli Gardens.
Kaemmar Daley was again pulling the strings, while prodigal son Jameel Thompson also started in midfield.
The Donovan Duckie-coached Montego Bay United started with the dangerous Lesly St Fleur and Dino Williams on the bench with captain Jermaine Woozencroft switched to midfield and Allan Ottey upfront, were quicker to the ball than the home team in the early minutes.
But once Tivoli settled, they got their first real chance in the 41st minute when Thomas was cheekily played through by Daley, and with oceans of time and space, kicked straight into the waiting arms of the goalkeeper Barrett.
In a tight and competitive game with both teams giving little away, chances were few and far between.
Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey said he was just happy for the winning start in a season he expects to go all the way.
"It is now two seasons we are in the wilderness and we set an aim this year and is to win it (title). So we started out with a win which is always a good sign," noted Bailey.
"We played through patches and it's the first game so some people are still nervous, but we have a good nucleus of players and we really are going to challenge for the title this year," he added.
Meanwhile, it's a long trip back home for the losing St James outfit and coach Duckie.
"We started the game at a fast pace and pressured them in the first 15 minutes and controlled the game for most of the first half," noted Duckie.
"On few occasions we got behind but we weren't clinical today. We came away and played good but didn't get a point, but still there were a lot of positives to take from the game," he pointed out.
Tivoli Gardens — Edsel Scott, Christopher Jackson, Ranike Anderson, Richard Williams, Rohan Reid, Damion Gordon, Dwayne Smith (Richard Allison 73rd), Jameel Thompson, Kaemmar Daley, Rafiek Thomas, Shavar Campbell (Andre McFarlane 62nd).
Subs not used: Davin Watkins, Kemar Flemmings, Nicholas Scott, Andre Morgan, Rushane Rowe
Booked: Dwayne Smith (27th), Damion Gordon (32nd), Edsel Scott (32nd)
Montego Bay United — Jacomena Barrett, Lacon Brissett, Ladale Richie, Winston Wilkinson, Orlando McBayne, Jermaine Woozencroft, Ronaldo Rodney (Mauricio Gordon 75th), Allan Ottey, Keneil Kirlew, Graeme Green (Lesly St Fleur 63rd), Jefroy Leslie (Dino Williams 65th).
Subs not used: Romaine Jones, Dwayne Ambusley, Cordel Simpson, Donovan Carey
Booked: Graeme Green (42nd)
Referee: Cardella Samuels
Assistant Referees: Kedlee Powell, Lloyd Reader
Fourth Official: Dwight Royal
Match Commissary: Horace Lewis