Arnett seal RSPL $1m for scoring most points in preliminary round
Arnett Gardens captured the $1 million incentive for the team that ends the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) preliminary round on most points when they edged fierce rivals Tivoli Gardens 2-1 at the Edward Seaga Complex yesterday.
The visitors' goals were scored by Marvin Morgan Jr from the penalty spot in the 25th minute and Leon Strickland (56th), while Kemar Flemmings scored a penalty for the home side in the 37th minute.
It was a heated contest that saw Arnett's substitute Marcelino 'Bassa' Blackburn shown a red card by referee Valdin Legister in the 79th minute for serious foul play. Blackburn was on the field for 14 minutes after he replaced Morgan. Although reduced to 10 players, Arnett showed fighting quality and held on for a narrow win that made the club $1 million richer.
Arnett had already qualified for the semi-finals, but came into the game to seal the incentive deal. They moved further in the lead on 63 points, nine clear of second-placed Waterhouse on 54 points, with two rounds of games remaining.
sixth position on 44
On the other hand, Tivoli dropped to sixth position on 44 points and received a big setback in their hunt for a fourth place finish in order to qualify for the last four.
Coach of Arnett Gardens, Jerome 'Jerry' Waite, said that it was always in the team's plan to first win the $1 million incentive offered by sponsors Red Stripe and then the RSPL trophy.
"Today (it) was a hard fought game. Arnett has done pretty well after going down to 10 players in the second half. Hats off to the team. It was also a good fight by the Tivoli team," Waite told The Gleaner.
"It was always in our plan to end on most points in order to win the $1 million. However, it was not easy. Now, we will look forward to the semi-finals and take it from there. We will rest some players for the semi-finals to keep them fresh. We still have a lot of work to do and will take it game by game," the veteran coach added.
great feeling to score
Strickland, who netted the winning goal from a through pass, added that it was a great feeling to score his 10th goal of the season against a tough rival.
"The feeling is great in scoring the winning goal today. We came for three points, regardless of what happened in the other games. It is a joy to win the $1 million first," Strickland pointed out.
The veteran striker is now looking forward to the semi-finals.
"We are prepared for any team, it does not matter who we play. The plan is to win the title," he added.
Tivoli's manager Brian Rose, who spoke in the absence of coach Alvin Shaw, said that with Humble Lion winning, the defeat to Arnett has dented his team's chance of sneaking into the last four.
"Obviously, with Humble Lion winning, it is going to be real hard to catch them back, but all is not lost. We will continue to fight in the remaining two games," Rose said.
When quizzed about the absence of Shaw, Rose said: "He (Shaw) is sick and could not be on the bench."
n Tivoli 1 Arnett 2
n Reno 3 Waterhouse 0
n MoBay United 1 Cavalier 2
n Boys' Town 3 Sporting Central 1
n Rivoli United 1 Harbour View 3
n Humble Lion 4 Barbican 0