Coach elated to return Premier League crown to Arnett Gardens after 13-year absence

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

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BY SANJAY MYERS


Observer staff reporter


myerss@jamaicaobserver.com




Arnett Gardens FC......2


Clennon (59th), Strickland (65th)


Montego Bay United...0




Arnett Gardens FC coach Jerome Waite said he was "more than elated" after his team lifted their first top-flight crown in 13 years with a 2-0 defeat of last year's champions Montego Bay United in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) final late on Monday.


Arnett's forward Andre Clennon headed in the opener in the 59th minute. The out-of-sorts looking Montego Bay conceded a second when the opposing veteran attacker Leon Strickland lashed home a close-range effort in the 65th minute to seal Arnett's fourth Premier League title.


MoBay, formerly known as Seba United, were reduced to nine players moments before the end. Cordel Simpson was red-carded in the fourth minute of time added, and a minute later Ladale Ritchie was also ejected.


For Waite, who took charge of Arnett Gardens last season, it was a third hold on the premier league title after recording back-to-back triumphs in 2000-01 and 2001-02, during a previous stint.


The latest success, achieved with a less heralded squad that was eliminated at the semi-final stage of the previous campaign, brought immense satisfaction to the experienced coach.


"I'm more than elated for the boys. They have been through so many things and you could see the team grow into a monster," Waite told the Jamaica Observer, as throngs of exuberant fans congratulated him after the final whistle.


Arnett Gardens scored a league-high 60 goals during the preliminary stage, so netting twice against the St James-based side hardly comes as a surprise.


Some, however, did not expect the 'Junglists' defence to play as well as it did against the pacey Montego Bay attack.


"One of the high points was the concentration level in the defensive third and we were able to create more chances. MoBay created chances as well, but we were on target on the day. We were the best attacking team [during the preliminary stage] and we showed it in the game," Waite said.


MoBay's head coach Dr Dean Weatherly, who masterminded their 8-2 trouncing of Waterhouse FC in the two-legged semi-finals and a 5-2 demolition of the same team in last season's final, said critical mistakes were made against Arnett.


"It was a game that just didn't go our way. It was an equally contested game on both sides, from where I was. Mental lapses at certain moments cost us the game. We became a bit flustered after [conceding] the first goal, but we came back [well] in the last 15 to 20 minutes when Arnett tried to defend," he said.


Weatherly added that "mental fatigue", due to a busy schedule, brought on by their campaign in the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship, played a significant part in the outcome.


The spectators at the venue, which numbered about 18,000, saw a nervous start to the game, especially from the Arnett Gardens team.


Arnett's cagey approach, blended with a deep defensive line, and their opponents' ploy of playing wasted long balls, made for a dull opening period.


In a first half marred by poor passing and wayward crosses, MoBay attacker Dino Williams, the hero of the final last season, almost notched the opener. Midway the half, he found himself with space on the edge of the 18-yard-box, but curled a right-footer wide.


A minute later Strickland skilfully manoeuvred down the right channel, but his dangerous cross was headed for a corner by defender Cordel Simpson.


Arnett showed far more enterprise early in the second half. The strong-running Clennon skipped by Ladale Ritchie, and fizzed the ball across goal, but Michaelos Martin failed to get on the end of it.


It was a sign of things to follow.


A minute before the hour-mark, Clennon sneaked around at the far post to head a free-kick from Renae Lloyd onto the crossbar and over the goal line. It was lax marking from Montego Bay which allowed Clennon that much space.


Urged on by the Arnett Gardens supporters, who represented a massive sea of red in the stands, the Kingston & St Andrew Football Association outfit scored their second.


A slick build-up between Renae Lloyd, Vishinul Harris and Strickland cut apart the Montego Bay defence.


Harris, who appeared clear through on goal, saw his scuffed shot blocked, but Strickland was on hand to hammer a low drive past MoBay custodian Jacomeno Barrett.


Montego Bay were stung into action as time waned.


Ritchie won a header at the near post but saw his effort go wide.


Moments later, the slippery Williams turned exquisitely inside the box to evade his marker, but goalkeeper Hyatt came off his line to smartly smother the danger.


Another pair of half-chances fell for Williams and the largely muted Allan Ottey but their shots were off target as the title slipped away from the holders.


Strickland got the chance to punch an extra nail into the coffin, but he chipped a shot tamely to Barrett in a one-on-one situation.


Teams: Montego Bay -- Jacomeno Barrett, Ladale Richie, Cordel Simpson, Dwayne Holmes (Ronaldo Rodney 84th), Winston Wilkinson (Jermaine Woozencroft 68th), Allan Ottey, Orlando McBayne, Owayne Gordon, Dwayne Ambusley, Lesly St Fleur (Donavan Carey 88th), Dino Williams


Subs not used: Garen Downie, Graeme Green, Kemiro James, Cornelius Henry


Booked: Ottey (25th), McBayne (35th), Simpson (90+4 -- ejected), Ritchie (90+3, 90+5 -- ejected)


Arnett Gardens -- Damian Hyatt, Oneil Thompson, Jamar Martin, Jabeur Johnson, Renae Lloyd, Marvin Morgan, Kenniel Hyde, Andre Clennon (Kemal Malcolm 82nd), Vishinul Harris (Jason Moore 74th), Michaelos Martin (Marcelino Blackburn 85th), Leon Strickland


Subs not used: Peter Harrison, Odane Simpson, Jaron Richards, Dasha Satchwell


Booked: Harris (34th), Morgan (84th), Hyatt (88th), Thompson (90+4)


Referee: Kevin Morrison


Assistant Referees: Garnett Page, Lloyd Reader


Fourth Official: Valdin Legister


Match Commissary: Charles Barrett






Jamaica Football Federation President Horace Burrell (centre), Minister with Responsibility for Sport Natalie Neita Headley (white top), and Tori-Ann Reid (black top) Red Stripe's assistant brand manager, hand over the RSPL winning trophy to Arnett Gardens Captain Oneil Thompson after they beat Montego Bay United 2-0 in the final at the National Stadium on Monday. Looking on are players and staff of Arnett Gardens as well as representatives from main sponsors Red Stripe. (PHOTO: LIONEL ROOKWOOD)




Arnett Gardens head coach Jerome Waite (right) is greeted by an elated team physician Dr Lloyd Brooks at the end of Monday night's contest.


(PHOTOS: LIONEL ROOKWOOD)




Member of Parliament for South St Andrew Dr Omar Davies (second left) is in a celebratory mood with players and fans as they lift the Red Stripe Premier League winning trophy.


Arnett Gardens forward Andre Clennon (centre) is chased by teammates Marvin Morgan (left) and Kenniel Hyde after he scored his team's opening goal against Montego Bay United in the RSPL final at the National Stadium on Monday night.


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