Friend's first in 10 years - Sporting Central Academy's precious Premiere League away win at Tivoli
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Ten-man Sporting Central Academy FC edged Tivoli Gardens FC 1-0 in a bruising contest in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) round nine at Edward Seaga Sports Complex in West Kingston yesterday.
Otis Friend scored the all-important goal for the Clarendon club when he hit a wonderful free-kick from outside the 18-yard area beyond Tivoli's veteran custodian, Edsel 'Robbie' Scott, in the 48th minute.
It was a physical game that saw referee Oshane Nation issuing a red card and six yellow cards.
Sporting Central's defender, Rupert Murray, was ejected at the 45th minute for abusive language. Murray, a former Arnett Gardens and Tivoli Gardens player, received a yellow card for a foul challenge. He then picked up a red card immediately for hurling abusive language at the fourth official.
Tivoli squandered some good chances to score due to poor finishing. Sporting Central's goalkeeper, Romaine Bowers, also pulled off some fine saves.
Friend was a happy man after scoring his first Premier League goal since a debut in 2004.
"I feel very proud. We came for the three points and fought hard and deserved to win. I always practise free-kicks, so I took it and scored my first Premier League goal," Friend told The Gleaner.
Coach of Sporting Central, Nigel Stewart, was also happy for the win away from home.
"It was an important win for us today (yesterday). We came for the win and got it. After the red card the team adjusted to a 4-4-1 formation and fought hard to secure the points," Stewart said.
Meanwhile, coach of Tivoli Gardens, Alvin Shaw, was confident his team would return to winning ways, despite mounting pressure from supporters that he should be relieved of the job.
"This is our second consecutive loss in four days and the players are disappointed. We were doing well before the midweek defeat to Waterhouse. But, we are confident that the team will rebound," said Shaw.
Sporting Central pushed to 10 points, while Tivoli remained on 10 points in the 12-team standings.
Tivoli 0 Sporting Central 1
Reno 1 Cavalier 0
Arnett 4 Barbican 0
Waterhouse 0 Boys' Town 0
Humble Lion 1 Rivoli 0
8:30 p.m. Harbour View vs Montego Bay United at Harbour View Stadium.