NEWS

RSPL champions Arnett Gardens beat new boys Sandals

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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Champions Arnett Gardens FC jumped to the top of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) standing with a 3-1 win against first-time entrants Sandals South Coast FC at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in the Monday night late game.

Playing with a certain degree of torque, especially in the second half, Arnett Gardens scored three goals. Lennox Russell scored both his goals from the penalty spot in 55th and 70th minutes, while second-half substitute Geovaunie Samuda struck in the 83rd.

National invitee Leonard Rankine replied in minute 67 for Sandals South Coast's historic first goal in top-flight football.

“The victory was not unexpected and it is a positive step in the right direction,” said winning Head Coach Jerome Waite.

He added: “For the first half you have to give the Sandals team deserved credit. After the Arnett team had created a glorious early chance to score through Vishinul Harris, I thought the Sandals goalkeeper came up big and kept them in the game.

“For us Fabian Reid was the inspirational player in our attack, but the players around him did not put out the level of energy and assistance that was required. However, the youngster Geovaunie Samuda really came on and brought life to the game and did well.”

Waite's Sandals counterpart Aaron Lawrence was heartened despite the final result.

“I am quite pleased with the performance of the players. Our approach was good playing the champions. Our goalkeeping was outstanding, especially in the first half. It is our first game of the season and the first time in the Premier League.

“From where I stood I thought that we gave a good account of ourselves. We created goalscoring chances that we did not make the best use of and in turn gave up two soft goals. For us it is a learning process and in our next games we have to be tighter in defence,” Lawrence said.

Opening the season at a near-capacity venue in the feature game of the evening's double-header, Arnett Gardens were quickly out of the blocks. Inside the opening minute, the Sandals South Coast goalkeeper O'Brian Vennor was called upon to save well, and he must have been relieved to see Harris drive the follow-up effort over the bar.

Arnett Gardens continued their marauding runs at Sandals, but at every juncture they had to deal with the panther-like goalkeeping of Vennor.

At the opposite end, for the most part, Damian Hyatt was a lonely figure in the Arnett Gardens goal. With the Sandals defence proving impregnable and Arnett wilting in intensity after their early industry, the teams went to the break with clean sheets.

They returned for the second half and Arnett Gardens began to lay siege for the goal rush, and 10 minutes into the second session it came from the most unlikely source.

Vennor, in an attempt to relieve Harris of the ball, succeeded only in bringing down the player inside the penalty area. Referee Odette Hamilton awarded a penalty which Russell promptly put away.

Though falling behind, Sandals continued to soldier on. Twelve minutes later they were back on even terms as Rankine squeezed out the equaliser after Hyatt parried a centre pass into the midfielder's path.

Irked by having a goal scored against them, the Arnett Gardens players were back in front three minutes later. It was again Russell to convert after Reid was bundled over inside the area.

Lamar Nelson replaced Harris and he should have added to the advantage, but with an empty goal at his mercy he hit a skyer. Some three minutes later Samuda made the game safe for Arnett Gardens with a headed goal. It was a goal on debut for the 24-year-old Samuda following his transfer from Cavalier.

Teams:

Arnett Gardens — Damian Hyatt, Oneil Thompson, Jamar Martin, Oneil Anderson, Ronaldo Wright (Rickardo Oldham 87th), Tamar Edwards, Vishinul Harris (Lamar Nelson 78th), Marvin Morgan, Fabian Reid, Lennox Russell (Geovaunie Samuda 77th), Lamar Neil

Subs not used: Shamarley Clayton, Kimani Arbouine, Damari Deacon, Newton Sterling

Booked: Edwards (72nd)

Sandals South Coast — O'Brian Vennor, Carvel Blake, Junior Neal, Michael Hurst, Lamar Aiken, Dwayne Blake (Orane Warren 58th), Cory Rodriguez, Leonard Rankine (Ron Daly 87th), Jamoy Sibblies, Triston Summerville, Kemar Dawkins (Dervin Campbell 59th)

Subs not used: Maliki Reid, Dane Spencer, Junior Steward, Dale Brown

Booked: None

Referee: Odette Hamilton

Assistant Referees: Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing, Jassett Kerr

Fourth Official: Cardella Samuels

Match Commissioner: Andrew Payne