Adrian Frater, New Editor
Tivoli Gardens (TG) garnered their first points of the 2012-13 Red Stripe Premier League season on Sunday night when they turned in a courageous performance in clipping Montego Bay United FC (MBUFC) 1-0 in their second-round fixture at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall.
The Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey-coached west Kingston team, which started the season with a 3-1 loss to Arnett Gardens a week ago, condemned the MBUFC outfit to their second defeat, courtesy of a late first-half strike by the hard-working Akeem Thenstead.
"This is a young team, but I know that we are talented, and once we play well, we are going to get good results," said an elated Bailey.
"I am very pleased to see how the young players and the older players blended well together today. They really worked their socks off for this result."
For Montego Bay United, who started their season with a 2-1 loss to Harbour View, the defeat to TG was a bitter pill for their Brazilian coach, Nadier Dos Santos, to swallow.
"I am very disappointed. We did not play well in our first game against Harbour View, but today we dominated the first half of the game and then gave up that silly goal just before the half ended," said Dos Santos. "If things don't start to change quickly, we will have to start making some changes."
After a brisk start in which both teams exchanged enterprising attacks, MBUFC got chances in the fifth and 10th minutes through Bahamian striker Lesly St Fleur. First, he hooked a shot just wide after being fed a perfect pass by Oliver Trail. Second, he got behind the TG defence, but fired straight at the goalkeeper.
With MBUFC enjoying the better of the exchanges, TG came to life briefly in the 15th minute and came close to grabbing the lead when a superb free kick by Jermaine Allen seemed destined for goal, when a spectacular diving header by an alert defender deflected the ball wide.
After enduring much pressure going into the halfway break, TG came perilously close to grabbing the lead in the 43rd minute. Nicholas Scott ran on to a pass from Fitzroy Gordon, but dragged his shot wide.
With the late momentum in their favour, TG grabbed the lead on the stroke of half-time. Thenstead found himself with space at the back of the MBUFC defence and stroked the ball into the net.
The second half saw TG looking the more composed, creating the better openings but failing to add to their slender lead. Thenstead got a chance to add to his first-half strike in the 48th minute, but after breaking clear before the goal, he lost possession.
Late in the game, MBUFC brought on former Rusea's star striker Brian 'Rambo' Brown, adding some spark to the attack. However, his effort failed to produce the elusive equaliser.
"The defeat is not the only thing that I am disappointed about," said Dos Santos. "I am hurt by the lack of support from the people (St James Parish Council) who manage this stadium. We can't even get to use the facility to practise. Game time today was the first time we were using this field. It is so sad, this is not Kingston United, this is MBUFC, and we are not being supported by our own city."