Laylor upbeat as club registers first victory on return to top flight
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Not even the distasteful incident involving Portmore United's captain Adrian Reid and a female patron following his dismissal in the 90th minute could quench the joy experienced by Cavalier's players, staff and fans, as the club christened its home venue, Stadium East, with a 2-1 victory over the defending Red Stripe Premier League champions on Sunday evening.
Cavalier, who had lost to Boys' Town - the only team they came and saw in the country's top flight when the club was formed 50 years ago that is still playing - in the opening round, came from behind to beat Portmore through well-taken goals from Girvan Brown (75th) and Claudius Blackburn (79th).
Portmore, who suffered their second defeat in as many weeks, had taken the lead courtesy of a 55th-minute strike from Adoah Nickles.
Having waited 16 years to make a return to the national league, with their last appearance being in 1995, Cavalier's coach, David Laylor, was naturally delighted at the result.
"I am feeling really good," Laylor said. "We expected to start the season well, but with the loss to Boys' Town, we decided that we had to quickly make the adjustments. We had some problems in the first game and so we decided to fix it for this game, and Cavalier going forward will just be playing some good football and expecting some good results."
Laylor believes his players showed "good character and good spirit" to claw their way back after falling behind to Nickles' powerful right-footed drive from inside the area, which beat Cavalier's goalkeeper David Mitchell at his near post.
"I think some of the players came out a bit tentative, as they are up in the Premier League now and are afraid of making mistakes, but we spoke to them and told them to just play some football and enjoy the game, and it worked, and they came out second half and just played some football and flowed," Laylor said.
Portmore's problems were compounded in the 90th minute when Reid was ejected for violent conduct after elbowing Cavalier's Nigel Reid. The Portmore player, who is part of the national pool, was the subject of jeers from the spectators in the stands on his way to the changing room. He obviously took particular offence to comments by a female, Suzette Martin, and in retaliation threw a stone, hitting her in the chest.
Martin was called into a meeting with Portmore players and staff, where she said Reid denied the incident, but apologised.
"We made a few mistakes today, but we have to just continue from here," Portmore's assistant coach, Geoffrey Hewitt, said pertaining to the game.
"We were really confident coming into the season, and I don't know if it is a case of high expectations, but we will rebound from this," he added.