Maverley-Hughenden, Jamalco FC make winning start in Charley's JB Rum Premier League playoffs
Maverley-Hughenden Football Club's hunt for a place in the 2016-17 top flight began with victory yesterday as Phillip Peddie came on as a second- half substitute to score the game's only goal against Granville FC in the Charley's JB Rum Premier League play-offs.
Peddie, who was the Corporate Area team's top scorer with 13 goals in the regular season, proved his worth after just eight minutes on the field, when he tapped home from inside the area in the 89th minute.
Granville's goalkeeper Zarhia Hutchinson mishandled the ball and granted Peddie his chance to give his team three precious points heading back home to Kingston, where they will next tackle Brazil FC from St Ann.
Jamalco also made a winning start as they defeated home team Brazil of St Ann 2-1 at Drax Hall to also claim three points and move atop the standings in the four-team play-offs, albeit on goal difference.
The teams will play each other on a home-and-away basis, with the top two on points advancing to next season's Red Stripe Premier League.
Lijyasu Simms, head coach for Maverley-Hughenden, told The Gleaner that the win will prove an important step towards Premier League qualification.
"It definitely feels good to come to Montego Bay and leave with the three points," he said.
"It was not a very pretty game for either teams as the field is not in the best of shape, but we persevered and Peddie came good again for us," added Simms.
Maverley-Hughenden's Wayne Williams was issued a straight red card in the 91st minute for stomping on Granville's Julian Fisher, while the two collided in a tackle.
Maverley-Hughenden looked the better team, especially in attack, and should have scored at least three goals from corners in the first half. Wayne Williams had all the opportunities to score, but headed over the crossbar off all three.
In the second half, it was clear that both teams were told to settle down, and this they did. Granville, in particular, looked much more organised after making three changes and it was one of those substitutes, Mario Samuels, who ignited their play.
Dane Franklyn, also a Granville substitute, had two shots zipping close to goal, but it seemed luck had deserted the Tracey Reid-coached team. At least, that is what Granville assistant coach Allan Aarons thought of his team.
"I think we deserved at least a point here today, but it just never happened for us. We had a few chances and I thought we should have taken them, but it's the way of football that we score some and miss some."
Aarons added: "It is a bad start for us, but not a lost cause. I think we will rebound from this loss and really make a run for the Premier League by the time this play-off series is over."
The series continues on Wednesday. Granville will travel to Clarendon where they will play Jamalco FC, while Maverley-Hughenden will host Brazil at Maverley Complex.