Sun | Sep 24, 2017

TG's Johnson rolling back the years

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2016 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott
Tivoli Gardens’ Jermaine Johnson (right) is tackled by Arnett Gardens Oneil Thompson in their Red Stripe Premier League encounter at the Edward Seaga playing field on Sunday.

Tivoli Gardens FC's Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson rolled back the years on Sunday with a vintage performance against arch-rivals Arnett Gardens in their Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) clash at the Edward Seaga Complex.

The former Jamaican international, now 36, was obviously charged up for the contest and was a thorn in the flesh of the Arnett defence until he exited with 20 minutes remaining.

But despite his enthusiastic perform-ance, Johnson said he was not out to prove anything, he only wanted to give his team three points against one of their biggest rivals in local football.

"Every time you play a big team - especially Arnett Gardens, one of your biggest rivals in the league - you have to go out and just play well," he said. "Sometimes, there's nothing to prove, but you want a good win for your team and your community, which is going through a rough spot right now, so you just want to go out and do well," he added.

Johnson, who spent more than seven years in England, during which he played for Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League and competed in the colours of Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham and Bradford in the lower leagues, said his good recent form and improved fitness is mainly down to his commitment to training.

"Training is going well. I'm at training every day and doing what the coach wants me to do. I'm feeling well because I am taking care of myself, so I will just try to keep confident and keep motivated," he said. "We are doing well right now. We just have to keep our heads and keep positive and take it one game at a time and do what we can to get the wins," he stated.

The enigmatic attacker, who had a few bust-ups with former Tivoli defender Ranike Anderson and also clashed with Jason Moore, took his frustration out on his opponents 10 minutes from the end.

Johnson made a burst down the right, where he was then confronted by former Tivoli player Shawn McKoy, who he turned inside out before drilling a low shot past Damian Hyatt in goal.

Johnson's goal was his sixth of the season, which placed him third on the goalscoring chart, one behind Shamar Nicholson and Dino Williams, and tied with UWI's Roshane Sharpe.

Meanwhile, Tivoli's coach, Omar Edwards, says the current strides the team is making is because of the players' commitment to training and their willingness to listen and follow his instructions.

"In the game, you saw a Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson playing with a lot of energy and purpose on the pitch ... . So it has been four straight [wins], and it has been a boost.

"It will not be easy going forward, but what is important is that the players are coming to training daily and they are giving their all, and that is important to getting victories," he said.