Reno hunt top six
Afiba Chambers netted a sixth goal of the 2016-17 Red Stripe Premier League campaign in Reno FC's 2-0 win over defending champions Montego Bay United at the STETHS Sports Complex in Santa Cruz on Sunday but trail Arnett Gardens for sixth place.
It was a reversal of their first western derby of the season last November when MBU won 2-0 at Wespow Park and keeps Reno in seventh place in the standings on 28 points as Arnett (31 points) maintained the gap after drubbing Jamalco FC 4-1.
But while the win was a great result, it was the way it was achieved that most pleased the club's coach, Godfrey Drummond.
"We are delighted to have won the match," Drummond said. "But it wasn't a great spectacle, although we played tactically beautiful in the first half.
"We have incorporated the young players into our system, and so far it is working quite wellm with our senior players taking responsibility on and off the field. We are working a strategy that is paying off for us at the moment," he said.
Reno was ticking off their third victory in five matches on a decent run of form since January and Drummond says that he believes a top-six finish is within their grasp.
"The aim at the start of the season was to end in the top six. Fair to say we are on target, although three points behind Arnett, who occupy sixth place at the moment. But we are happy at our recent form and now are only hoping to sustain it and continue picking up points," stated Drummond.
MBU never looked settled on the STETHS turf, Dino Williams held in check by the Reno defence, and with Owayne Gordon along with schoolboy Jourdaine Fletcher rested because of national duties, the champions lacked the punch up front.
It never mattered to Reno when Chambers fired home in the 18th minute for the lead, and it got worse for MBU when midfielder Shawn Genius, a STETHS daCosta Cup player, proved too much for defender Nicholas Stewart, with a series of step-over dribbles that got defender Nicholas Stewart in awkward position.
And when Genius swivelled inside, his legs got tangled with Stewart's, leaving referee Kevin Morrison no choice but to point to the spot. Morris then stepped up to convert from the spot to give Reno a 2-0 lead at the half-time break.
In an already strange game, things got more complicated for MBU when both Deshane Beckford and second-half substitute Jermaine Woozencroft marching orders in the 47th and 64th minutes, respectively.
Williams had a miserable outing, accounting for one of only two chances that fell for MBU, but head coach Dillon Thelwell said his players played with character even when down to eight outfield players.
"We never played like we wanted it today, but when down to nine men, I think we started to push, which showed we have character," said Dillon Thelwell, the MBU coach.
"It wasn't a great game, clearly, but we will rebound after this. We will shift focus a little with the Caribbean Club Championship and we need all hands on deck for that," he said.