Ainsley Walter, Gleaner Writer
ROMEO has found Juliet at Tivoli Gardens, scoring his second brace in four days to hand the champions a 3-1 flogging of Humble Lion at 'Railway' yesterday evening.
In just his second match in Tivoli's orange-and-black kit after trading in Highgate's red and white during this month's transfer window, Parkes sparked Tivoli Gardens to life with two well-taken goals, after a similar feat against Sporting Central on Wednesday.
He opened the scoring in the 21st minute and cancelled Carlington Smith's 42nd-minute penalty with a neat back-post finish in the 67th.
One of Tivoli's most-loved sons, Christopher Nicholas, came on as a substitute in the 56th minute for Navion Boyd and made it 3-1 in the 72nd, but it was Parkes who the youngsters flocked to hear his post-match interview.
"It was my dream to play at Tivoli and it was the right time because it has been a while since they have been calling me," he said.
Parkes' heroics started when he used his six-foot-plus advantage to outjump the Humble Lion's defence, flashing Kemar Flemmings' half-line square past Garth Heron. He celebrated with a double somersault worthy of a perfect score in a floor routine were he a gymnast.
Former Tivoli coach and player, Lenny Hyde, and his assistant, Max Straw, casualties from Tivoli Gardens coaching staff two seasons ago, leapt in joy when a penalty was called on Shawn McKoy for handling a square from the left three minutes from half-time.
Carlington Smith leveled the score at 1-1, easily beat Deron Duncan as he placed the ball to the Tivoli keeper's left after he committed to diving right as the Humble Lion striker ran in.
However, Parkes soon made Hyde and his men eat humble pie in the second half.
The national Under-23 striker only needed 12 minutes after the restart to breach Humble Lion's defence, ghosting in unmarked at the back post to meet Christopher Jackson's free-kick swung in from the left.
Tivoli's coach, Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey, who had bemoaned Tivoli's poor form in front goal at the backend of last year, said Parkes has certainly delievered what he was brought in to do.
"He has been a good introduction for us. He is a player we had been seeking for the longest while and it has been paying dividend," he pointed out.
Last night's win, Tivoli's second in a row after a run of four consecutive losses, moved the champions to fourth on 29 points, still some way behind leaders Portmore on 37 after their 2-1 loss at Harbour View.
Road to title
However, Bailey said the road to the title is a long one.
"We still have the belief, as it's halfway the season," he said. "Last time I checked, there were 57 points out there to get, now it's 54," he added.
Hyde's Humble Lion started the afternoon second on 30 points but were relegated to third by Waterhouse's 4-1 victory over Village, which took them to 32.
"Our defence is poor, very poor," he said. "It hurt us against MoBay and again today. We're not learning. To be a good team, all aspects of the game has to be mastered, defence, midfield and attack. Probably we have to bring in new people," he pondered.
Boys' Town drew 2-2 with Sporting Central and dropped from fourth to fifth on goal difference, locked on 29 points with Tivoli.
Harbour View, who beat 10-man Portmore United 2-1, jumped to sixth on goal difference on 28 points, the same as seventh-place Arnett who beat Reno 2-0.
It's gridlock in the standings behind leaders Portmore with just four points separating second from seventh.
Improving MoBay United jumped to eighth on 27 points after swamping Highgate 6-0 and are well clear of the relegation zone which has Highgate, Reno and Village stuck on 21, 20 and 14 points, respectively.