Portmore claim $1-m bounty, as MBU pushed closer to drop

Montego Bay United 1 Turner (71st) Portmore United 5 Lewis (13th), Walker (23rd, 56th), Sharpe (81st), Pryce (83rd)

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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TUCKER, St James — Defending champions Portmore United finally clinched the top spot in the Red Stripe Premier League and the $1 million incentive, after hammering former champions Montego Bay United (MBU) 5-1 at Wespow Park in the penultimate game of the regular season on Sunday.

In stark contrast it was a bitter loss for MBU, who had to win the game and now face an almost impossible task of staying up after eight seasons and the odds are that they could join fellow western-based club FC Reno as the teams that will be relegated after tomorrow's final set of games.

MBU were under the gun from early, down 0-2 and playing with 10 men after central defender Eric Aquah was sent off in what the coaching staff thought was a harsh decision by referee Daneon Parchment.

Teenager Lamar Walker scored a brace to lead PMU who are now on an insurmountable 63 points, after Andre Lewis opened the scoring and before Roshane Sharpe and Cleon Pryce came off the bench to kill off the game with goals two minutes apart.

Another substitute Nevaun Tuner —had given MBU a spark of hope with a late goal but playing with 10 men from the 22nd minute against a powerful team, arguably the best in the league, was asking too much.

An emotional Luciano Traina Gama, who came in late in a bid to try and save MBU from the drop, told the Jamaica Observer after the game that the red card decision changed the game.

MBU were trailing 0-1 when the Ghanaian appeared to pull back a PMU striker, and after initially appearing to award a penalty, referee Parchment consulted with assistant referee Ojay Duhaney and then awarded a free kick on the edge of the 18-yard box and sent off Aquah.

Walker then calmly floated the free kick into goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett's top right- hand corner in the 23rd minute to add to Lewis' tap in from a corner in the 13th minute.

“I am just sorry,” Gama said. “Maybe with a little more time and if things were not as complicated when I got here, we could have pulled this off.”

The Brazilian, who has not ruled out staying with the team next season added, “I am sorry for the boys; I think they fought a lot today but the game was changed by a decision by the referee. It was not a foul, but not only did he give a foul but he also gave a red card. The rule was changed. it's not mandatory that he should give a red card in that incident, but what can we do?”

PMU Coach Shavar Thomas said while he was pleased with the result he thought his team slacked off in the second half, giving MBU a chance to come back.

“We started out well, bossing the game and in control—which was our plan coming in,” he said. “We wanted to keep possession and be consistent but in the latter part we lost our discipline. we did not show the game sufficient respect and that's why MBU got a goal, but nevertheless I am happy with the result and hope we can carry this confidence into the next round.”

Winning the regular season was a part of their plans also. “Now that we have accomplished that, now we have to focus on fine-tuning and get the players ready for the next round.”

It was the second time MBU were giving up five goals in a game this season and with a game to go, have conceded 53 goals — by far the most ever in one season in team history.

Teams: Montego Bay United — Jacomeno Barrett, Renaldo Wellington, Eric Aquah, John Barrett, Sheldon McCoy, Orlando McBayne (Donovan Carey 46th), Keneil Kirlew, Dwayne Ambusley, Dino Williams (Giovanni Reid 86th), Deshane Beckford, Johann Weatherly (Nevaun Turner 32nd)

Subs not used: Richard Addo, Jermaine Woozencroft, Omar Brown, Nazime Matalie-Grant

Booked: John Barrett (76th), Carey (78th), Aquah (ejected 22nd)

Portmore United — Shaven Paul, Ryan Wellington, Lamar Walker (Cleon Pryce 70th), Damion Williams, Ricardo Morris (Hardley Barnes 81st), Venton Evans (Roshane Sharpe 57th), Osani Ricketts, Roberto Johnson, Andre Lewis, Rosario Harriott, Rondee Smith

Subs not used: Jermaine Lyons, Javon East, Kemar Foster, Romaine Breakenridge

Booked: Johnson (43rd), Ricketts (62nd)

Referee: Daneon Parchment

Assistant Referees: Nicholas Anderson, Ojay Duhaney

Fourth Official: Andre Farquharson

Match Commissary: Marlene Brown

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