Newcomers Maverley-Hughenden shock champions MBU in RSPL season opener
It's a whole different level of ball game. But you couldn't tell that to the throng of Maverley-Hughenden FC supporters, who basked in their team's successful outing against the defending Red Stripe Premier League champions, Montego Bay United, following an ill-tempered 2-1 season-opening win yesterday at the home of the champions, Wespow Park, in Tucker, St James.
It follows their outstanding push through the Super League, then the qualifying rounds of the Confed play-off.
Months ago, assistant coach Hugh 'Bingy' Blair said they were hyped for the trip to Montego Bay and will even more joyous to leave with the maximum points against one of the league's elite clubs.
"This could not have gone any better; two goals against the champions in our first match back in top flight football, away from home; it is a wonderful feeling," the dreadlocked Blair told The Gleaner.
All decked out in their red and white, almost matching the number of MBU supporters in the stands, the Maverley-Hughenden travelling fans allowed nothing to pass without a shout or cheer and the usual reprimand of a referee's 'bad call'.
For their part, MBU looked slow and ill-prepared, but according to new technical director, Serbian Slavisa Bozicic (speaking through an interpreter), there were too many mistakes and that they will have to fix come their next outing.
MoBay United began the match with their talisman forward Dino Williams on the bench, overweight and still yet not at his best, although when he entered the play he had one sizzling effort on goal that could have easily have gone in.
"We had too many mistakes out there today. It did not look good for the champions, but we will get it right for the next match and hopefully pick up our first point," Bozicic said.
It was indeed a sloppy performance from MBU, with stand-in goalkeeper David Swaby's mistakes costing his team early when Nicholas Scott of Maverley-Hughenden was allowed to score a simple goal in the 47th minute.
Shabby Montego Bay United defending again was the culprit, as Wayne Williams netted his team's second goal in the 78th minute for a 2-0 lead.
Otis Friend, one of MBU's new kids on the block, fired a right-footed shot into the far corner to cut the deficit in half in minute 84.
It was a case of too little too late, as Maverley-Hughenden held on for a famous win - a first in the Premier League for more than two decades - and continued an MBU jinx that has seen them going winless in an opening fixture for four seasons running.