Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Sterling revels in 'perfect moment' against rivals

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMNodley Wright
Barrington Pryce of Tivoli Gardens is closed down by Arnett Gardens’ Newton Sterling (left) during last season’s Red Stripe Premier League west Kingston derby at the Edwards Seaga Sports Complex on April 12. Both teams met again on Sunday with Sterling scoring to give Arnett a 1-0 win.

There is hardly a player who stands taller on a football field, especially the outfield, than Newton Sterling, and on Sunday, it was no different.

Thirty-two-year-old Sterling, who stands well over six feet, was the difference between fierce rivals Arnett Gardens and Tivoli Gardens on Sunday in a spirited clash at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

Fittingly, it was a pile-driver of a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box that kissed the back of the Tivoli Gardens net, with seconds to go. It was like a dagger to the hearts of the Tivoli Gardens players, who fell to the ground in unison as if shot by snipers. The Arnett Gardens players ran in jubilation to embrace their hero, Sterling, who ensured that they started the season with two wins in a row - a rarity. Tivoli Gardens, on the other hand, slumped to two successive losses to start the season.

"Everybody knows that these free kicks are like penalties for me, and that came at the perfect moment. I mean, the last 30 seconds. Who could have asked for a more dramatic occurrence?

"That opportunity on top of the 18-yard [box] like that, it could not have been any better," a very happy Sterling said at the end of the game as he was mobbed by young fans as they spoke about the devastating power of the free kick.

Sterling, a veteran of 15 years in the league, and who was on the field for just 20 minutes, is hoping this bright start is only the beginning of a hot streak.

"This is my first game for the season, and I have already scored one goal. I am hoping to continue that trend. Over the years, the way things have gone for me is that I score goals in bunches. Once I have started scoring, it is very difficult to contain me. I will try to build on that," said Sterling, adding half-jokingly that he is still waiting for coach Theodore Whitmore to invite him to join the national squad.

 

STRONG START

 

Arnett Gardens' uncharacteristic strong start, Sterling said, was due to sacrifices made by the team's senior players.

"Over the years, we normally have a pretty okay start. We do not normally win a lot of games in the first round, but with two wins so far, that is a good start, and we intend to build on that. It is up to us - the players and the coaching staff.

"This year, it has been different. The players decided to take a different approach. Normally, the senior players would not be here as yet. Most of them went abroad, but they decided to come back early. This is a sacrifice that they have made, and it is paying off. The thing is that it will get better, the fitter others become," Sterling declared.