Arnett are RSPL champions
Arnett Gardens won the national football title for the first time in 13 seasons, and their fourth title overall, after they defeated defending champions Montego Bay United 2-0 in the Red Stripe Premier League final at the National Stadium tonight.
Second-half goals from Andre Clennon (57th) and Leon Strickland (63rd) saw the 'Junglists' recover from a below par first-half display to outplay and outscore their opponents in the second period.
Montego Bay were slightly the better team in the first-half, as they had more possession and created the better openings. Arnett were slow out of the blocks and although they had the ball in the net after 15 minutes it was ruled out because of a foul on goalkeeper Jacomena Barrett.
However, Montego Bay United kept applying pressure and in the 29th minute Dino Williams curled a shot just wide of the upright.
Strickland, Arnett’s most dangerous player, came to life in the latter stage of the half. In the 31st his good work forced the Montego Bay defence to make a hurried clearance for a corner. Then in the 44th he wriggled his way through a crowded defence before finding Marvin Morgan but an excellent last ditch tackle prevented the striker from getting off his shot as the half ended goalless.
Arnett came out a more purposeful side after the break. In the 47th minute Clennon sent a teasing pass across the face of the Montego Bay goal but Morgan, at full stretch, could not get the vital touch to redirect the ball towards goal.
On Montego Bay's first attack Williams just missed connecting with Gordon’s cross with an overhead kick on 55 minutes. A minute later, Renae Lloyd’s shot hit a defender’s hand but all appeals for a penalty were turned down.
Arnett's initiative paid dividends two minutes later. Clennon, left unmarked at the far post, beat Jacomena Barrett with a spectacular header from Lloyd's free-kick. The former Waterhouse frontman went full stretch to redirect his header off the bar and into the goal.
The 'Junglists' found their rhythm and in the 63rd minute, after some slick touches, a loose ball fell to Strickland who rifled a low shot past Barrett from the edge of the box.
Williams should have had a goal back for Montego Bay when goalkeeper Damion Hyatt spilled a cross in the 78th, but Hyatt made up for his mistake with a great block to deny the striker.
In the last ten minutes Montego Bay poured forward and had excellent chances. However, their usually reliable strike force of Allan Ottey, Williams and Gordon could not penetrate a determined Arnett defence marshalled by the competent Oneil 'Bigga' Thompson.