Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Portmore's East stars in the west

Published:Thursday | November 5, 2015 | 11:00 AMAudley Boyd

JOVAN East starred in the west yesterday evening, netting a double at Tivoli Gardens to hand Portmore United a 2-1 victory in a hard-fought Red Stripe Premier League battle at Edward Seaga Sports Complex.

East netted in the 38th and 83rd minutes, either side of a 56th-minute goal from Tivoli's mercurial striker, Jermaine Johnson, who was forced out of the contest with a knee injury at a critical time - the 77th minute - with the game on a knife's edge.

East, benefiting from Maalique Foster's industry, made a simple tap-in finish at goalmouth to swing the balance decidedly in Portmore's favour and send his team climbing up the ladder to joint leadership at 18 points in nine matches, alongside Humble Lion, who edged Boys' Town 2-1 at Effortville Community Centre, and Montego Bay United, who are involved in one of two matches this afternoon.

Tivoli, which might otherwise have made the jump, remained on 14 points - tightly bunched in mid-table - from a result that represented a turnaround for either team's prior league finish.

Portmore's 3-0 loss at Juici Field in Clarendon served a big motivation for their hero on the day, the 20-year-old East.

"It's a good feeling; it's all about the hard work in the training session," the former Calabar Manning Cupper stated. "I liked the preparation from the week start ... it was more intense.

"We lost the game on Sunday, so we needed the victory to stay at the top of the table. To come to this ground, we had to be motivated, and we wanted to get a good result to motivate ourselves again to go to Arnett Gardens because that is going to be another tough game," said East, pointing towards their next matchup.

Their head coach, Jeffrey Hewitt, is taking it one game at a time as well, but took time out to savour the moment.

Good performance

"It's a great win. We showed a lot of character, seeing that we lost the last game, and to come back and win today, I thought we did really, really well," a smiling Hewitt admitted.

"We prepared psychologically for this. In the pre-season, we played against Tivoli, so we knew what we were up against. It didn't give us an advantage, but a level of preparedness," he pointed out. "It's a gradual step; we're progressively moving forward; we're not making any hasty predictions. We know that this team will get better as the season goes on. We're just hoping that everybody stays fit, and to God be the glory."

For Tivoli's Damion Gordon, their former captain-turned-coach, losing was tough.

"It's very disappointing, very disappointing," he said. "We've been doing well as a team, we've been doing well as a unit, and these things happen in football. At times you're up, at times you're down. But I just think we could've managed the game a little bit better. When we went one-all, I think we should have managed the game a little bit better because we had them on the backfoot."

His team had beaten Rivoli 1-0 in their previous match and asked about the impact of losing Johnson at a critical moment yesterday, he said: "In terms of leadership and in terms of attacking threat, yes, it took that from us. But we had the momentum going forward, so it's just an unfortunate situation.

"We wanted to move up the table. We had re-strategised how we wanted the games and how we wanted to play the games we needed three points from, and this was one of them that we felt we deserved," a rueful Gordon observed.

Yesterday's Results

Tivoli Gardens 0 Portmore Utd 1

Reno FC 0 Cavalier SC 0

Humble Lion 2 Boys' Town 1

Harbour View 1 UWI FC 1

Today's games

6 p.m. Arnett Gardens vs Rivoli United at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex

3 p.m. Montego Bay United vs Waterhouse at Wespow Park

3 p.m. Montego Bay United vs Waterhouse at Wespow Park