Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
Sporting Central Academy put on a superb second-half display to trounce Savannah FC 3-0 in their Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football encounter at the Brancourt Sports Complex yesterday.
Victory propelled the Clarendon-based team to sole leadership of the league on 16 points and a step closer to one of their objectives of making it to the first end-of-round final. Arnett Gardens, who are due to tackle Waterhouse FC in the 'Monday Night' match at 9 p.m. at Waterhouse Mini Stadium later, have 13 points.
After a lacklustre, goalless first half, Sporting turned up the heat in the second after coach Nigel Stewart introduced their top goalscorer Levaughn Williams and Gregory Lewis in the game at the 51st minute.
"We were too relaxed. We were moving a bit too slow in the first half," Stewart explained. "I told the guys at half-time to pick up the pace. We are a team that plays with pace, so playing slow is not going to help us."
Indeed, Sporting used speed to their advantage. Within three minutes of his introduction, Williams collected a ball 40 yards out in the centre of the field then 'motored' past three Savannah defenders, leaving them for dead. With keeper Gavine Barrett at his mercy, he calmly slotted home a low shot to the right of the custodian for a 1-0 lead.
The second goal came in the 70th when the hard-running Francois Swaby got the ball on the right flank, sped past his marker and then cut inside. Swaby then outsmarted the goalkeeper, beating him with a toe poke to the near post, which sent the Sporting Central supporters celebrating wildly.
After the Westmoreland team was reduced to 10 with the ejection of Omar Johnson in the 75th minute for a harsh tackle on Levaugh Williams, Keith Kelly drove the last nail in Savannah's coffin with a well-taken goal to round off the scoring.
The former national youth player was sent through clear on goal from a neat build-up. With the keeper advancing, Kelly cheekily chipped the ball over the custodian's head into the unprotected goal, condemning Savannah to their worst defeat since making their Premier League debut this season.
Stewart was a very happy man after the victory.
"This is one of the games we have been searching for from the season begun. This is a very good game, I think the fans enjoyed it and this is the way Sporting Central should play all the time, but unfortunately we can't do that. It's three points and we are happy for this."
Savannah, which started with three wins, remain at mid pack in the 12-team league with 10 points. Their assistant coach, Audley Thomas, said their plan failed.
"We planned to take the first 45 minutes from Sporting Central, we didn't," he said. "The second half they (Sporting) came out pumping ... we made two mistakes in defence and it cost us two goals. We will bounce back."