Barnett on the bubble as Tivoli close in on play-off spot

Sport

Barnett on the bubble as Tivoli close in on play-off spot

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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Stephen Barnett scored his third goal of the season on Sunday to help Tivoli Gardens to their third win in a row and ninth win of the season overall, as they downed The University of the West Indies (UWI) FC 1-0 in the Red Stripe Premier League at Edward Seaga Sports Complex.

It was the first win for Tivoli Gardens over The UWI this season, having lost 0-4 in the first round and drawn 2-2 in the second.

Barnett, who was on The UWI roster last season, is among a number of former UWI players now wearing the orange of Tivoli Gardens. His 71st-minute strike, which proved to be enough to claim all three points for his team, came about 10 minutes after he missed a sitter.

The former Manning Cup star for Hydel High remained unfazed after the glaring miss as his quick turn and shot from outside the box caught out The UWI custodian Nickolas King.

After 20 games without a goal this season, Barnett's run of form has coincided with that of his team which was among those in the relegation zone during the first round of the season.

Barnett explained why he was able to get the game-winner after the glaring miss earlier in the contest.

“In training, coach always tells us if a chance comes and goes, it's gone, you can't bring it back. So I just wiped that out of my mind and looked forward to the next chance, because it's a game called football; chances come.”

Barnett says focus is paramount as Tivoli Gardens take aim at their main third-round objective, a spot in the top six and play-off that goes with it.

“We just have to remain focused because that's the aim right now; we are aiming getting the top six.”

The recovery process for the next game on Sunday was his main priority following on from the win.

“We have to start the recovery process because without the legs we can't do as we would like, but we are just going back to the drawing board and keep working hard.”

The good form in front of goal has come from the efforts on the training pitch which has finally begun to pay off.

“I just try to do the right things in training and score as many as I can, so come game time now I just try to keep the same mindset like I am in training still and just remain calm,” he explained.

Head Coach Phillip Williams was extremely delighted for the player after sticking his neck out for the striker.

“I am definitely pleased and I am also happy for him. We have taken a lot of stick where he is concerned, so I am happy that he actually proved us right in terms of giving him the game and sticking by him for the last three games,” Williams said.

The win on Sunday moved Tivoli Gardens up a spot to seventh in the league, while their 32 points are just two less than sixth-placed Arnett Gardens.

— Dwayne Richards


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