Winning goal leaves Thompson with 'bitter taste'
Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
Former national representative, Oneil 'Bigga' Thompson, found himself in and unenviable position on Monday night. Thompson scored the winning goal to give his team, Arnett Gardens, a hard-fought 3-2 win over neighbours Boys' Town, his former club, and was a flood of mixed emotions.
"It is always a good feeling to win, but it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Boys' Town is a team that I have never lost love for. I am at Arnett Gardens, I am just doing my job and that is always to win, but I feel sorry for Boys' Town because Boys' Town is always a part of me," a guilt-ridden Thompson said at the end of the game, as he struggled to remain composed.
In an almost apologetic tone, Thompson, who broke the deadlock after a Jaron Richards double had given Arnett Gardens a 2-0 lead - which was cancelled out by Michael Campbell and Garfield Gillespie - said respect for Boys' Town could not allow him to celebrate.
"I did not celebrate out of respect for Boys' Town. I never lose respect for Boys' Town. It (not celebrating) was my way of showing respect for the club where I spent most of my life," explained Thompson, who replaced the limping Dicoy Williams late in the first half.
The powerfully built utility player trudged over to the Boys' Town bench to shake the hands of the assistant coach and other staff members, while coach Andrew Price made his way to be interviewed. This, he said, was to lift them up.
"My going over to shake their hands was just to encourage them on the improvement based on the previous games that I saw. Tonight was one of their better ones (games). I told them that they are heading in the right direction, so they should continue," Thompson stated, betraying the fact that he is still a fan of his hometown club.
"I feel sad when they lose. I am always a Boys' Town person and when a part of you lose you have to feel sad," he added.
Arnett Gardens, Thompson said, did not necessarily play well, but got the three points they wanted.
NOT THE BEST, BUT A WIN REGARDLESS
"Today was not one of our best performances, but sometimes you play well and don't win. But today's was one of those that we had to dig out and we got three points.
"The positive with Arnett Gardens is that we always want to win and being in second is a good feeling," he said of the result that improved their position in the league, a clear second on 11 points, three behind leaders Cavalier, with a match in hand.
While he is happy with the position and believes they have what it takes to claim the top prize, Thompson expressed a reservation in declaring the title theirs for the taking.
"We have to take it a step at a time because we have had great performances before and jumped the gun saying we are going to win it. There are still a lot of games to play so many things could happen.
"I think we need to focus more than we did last year. We have added some players to the team like Dicoy Williams and Alanzo Adlam. That is experience and that should give us the edge," he said, of what his team needs to do to get to the top.