‘It was sheer determination’, says Waite, of Arnett's RSPL semi-final win over Humble Lion
Coach of Arnett Gardens FC, Jerome 'Jerry' Waite, lauded his team for showing strong determination in the 3-2 win against Humble Lion FC in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) second leg semi-finals at Effortville Community Centre in May Pen on Monday night.
Following a 1-1 first-leg tie eight days earlier at Arnett's Anthony Spaulding Complex, the 'Junglists' went into the contest fully aware that they had to beat Humble Lion at that venue for the first time this season. That was achieved behind a giant performance.
Arnett won the two-way tie 4-3 on aggregate and will now face defending champions Montego Bay United in the final on Monday, June 1, at the National Stadium, starting at 8:30 p.m.
Montego Bay United
Montego Bay crushed Waterhouse 8-2 on aggregate to remain on course for back-to-back RSPL titles.
"First and foremost, congratulations to Humble Lion as they played a great game," Waite told The Gleaner.
"It was sheer determination showed by the Arnett team. We were mentally and physically prepared for the game," he added.
Arnett led courtesy of a well-struck free kick by Vishinul Harris that hit the crossbar and landed past Damion Crooks in goal in the 22nd minute.
However, the home side levelled when they were awarded a dubious penalty call by FIFA referee Karl Tyrell for a foul that happened outside the penalty zone. Humble Lion's captain, Wolry Wolfe, scored the kick in the 43rd minute. Jabeur Johnson then put Arnett back in the lead with a shot in first-half injury-time.
Four minutes (49th) into the second half, Ricardo Cousins beat Arnett's goalkeeper Damion Hyatt to regain the lead. With time running out, Arnett took the lead for good when Marvin Morgan Jr's tame shot beat Humble Lion's substitute goalkeeper, Gariece McPherson, in the 82nd minute.
"The team did not let up. We were very determined, so whenever Humble Lion scored we picked up the tempo. It was a good game. We got numerous chances, but only scored three. We lapsed in the second half and Cousins scored a good goal for his team," Waite also said.
Waite also praised his captain, Oneil 'Bigga' Thompson, who battled through an ankle injury he picked up in the second half.
"Many persons believe that he (Oneil Thompson) is the player of the competition. He has always led from the front, and despite the injury, remained out there and fought to the end," he added.
Looking ahead to the final, Waite is expecting another tough contest.
"We are looking forward to the final against the defending champions. They had beaten us 5-0 in the first game in Montego Bay because we reached the venue 30 minutes before game time. Then the other two games in the preliminary round ended in drawn results.
"Now, the team (Arnett) is better prepared and ready for the battle in the final on June 1," Waite, who guided Arnett to back-to-back national titles, sounded.