Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
Newcomers Savannah overwhelmed by shock win over defending champions Portmore
Assistant coach Audley Thomas could hardly contain his excitement at the end of his team's debut game in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) on Sunday night following their 1-0 upset win over defending champions Portmore United.
"Oh my God! I am overwhelmed!" an ecstatic Thomas said after the final whistle as he reflected on Triston Sommerville's 55th minute strike, which gave them all three points.
"I am so happy! The first time in the league, scoring a goal and getting three points!" he continued incredulously before repeating, "I am so happy! The team is happy! The community is happy! The entire Westmoreland is happy!"
In his happiness, Thomas, who was largely responsible for putting the group of players together and qualifying them for top-flight football before handing over the reins to Patrick Graham, confessed that they collected more points than they had planned for.
"We came for one point and got three so we are really happy," Thomas stated.
"Our aim was to end the first half at 0-0, and once we achieved that, we realised that we could take them as we saw what they had to offer," Thomas added.
Portmore United's assistant coach, Geoffrey Hewitt, conceded that his team played below its best.
"This is not the performance that we would have wanted at all. They had high expectations for this match and were a bit overanxious today, and as a result, lost composure, especially in front of goal," he explained.
But while he expressed disappointment with the loss, Hewitt was not really troubled.
"This does not affect our ambition of retaining the title as there are 37 games to go, and it does not really matter who we play next. We just have to start accumulating points. For us this was a missed opportunity," he continued.
Quizzed about the impact of the loss of players such as Tramaine Stewart, former captain Ricardo Cousins, and Eric Vernan, Hewitt refused to place too much weight on that point.
"The number and quality of players that we lost does not affect us at all. It was a case of us not converting our chances. We created a number of chances and failed to convert and at the same time gifted one to Savannah," said Hewitt.
Hewitt was on point in terms of the missed chances as Stephen Williams failed to make use of chances in the 29th and 30th minutes as he failed to beat the very composed Gavine Barrett, who made just one mistake in goal.
Mouracio Gordon was also guilty of failing to make use of his chances, while the dangerous Bryan Bayliss, who combined well down the left with Anthony Christie, could not find the back of the net when Christie set up an inviting header for him.
Savannah played with a very organised defensive unit with the pair of Cavel Blake and Lynval Wilson complementing each other well. Blake put in some robust challenges, while Wilson utilised a more cultured approach.
The duo, along with goalkeeper Barrett, formed the foundation of Savannah's win as they soaked up the Portmore United pressure and hit on the counter before goalkeeper Kemar Foster played an attempted clearance straight to the skilful Sommerville, who accepted the ball with glee, shook off a challenge, faked Foster while moving towards goal before burying his strike.
Next fixtures: Sunday, September 9
Standings in the Red Stripe Premier League after matches played on Sunday.
Tabulated under Teams, P-Play, W-Win, D-Draw, L-Lose, GF-Goals For, GA-Goals Against, GD-Goal Difference and Pts-Points.