Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
Bahamian Lesly St Fleur scored the all-important goal for Montego Bay United in a 1-0 victory over Sporting Central Academy, to put a dent in the Clarendon-based team's quest for a place in the end-of-round final of the Red Stripe Premier League.
After surviving a torrid first five minutes in the Brancourt encounter, where Sporting got at least two clear-cut chances but failed to score, St Fleur punished his former club with a goal in the 18th minute. The deadly striker popped up on the end of a defence-splitting pass, dribbled forward and calmly slotted past the advancing Sanchez Lloyd in goal.
Sporting, which started the day joint leaders on 16 points, slipped to fourth behind Harbour View (19), Boys' Town (18) and Arnett Gardens (17). MoBay United climbed to ninth on 10 points.
It was a game which saw Sporting dominating for long periods, but MoBay United defended stoutly and held on for the well-needed victory, after languishing at the bottom of the table.
Coach Dr Dean Weatherly, who was tasting victory for the second time since taking over the reins at MoBay Untied, said his team played to plan.
"It was a tough game as expected; Sporting is a well-coached team, full of a lot of talent, but we put our plans together," he said. "The players stuck to the task and hence the success that we reaped today. It's a good feeling coming from where we are. It's a work in progress and defiantly one that we can't stop."
Dr Weatherly said the plan was to soak up the pressure and hit Sporting on counter.
"Sporting is a team that applies a lot of pressure, and for us playing away from home we expected them to come at us. The game looked ugly on our part, but we did what we had to do."
St Fleur was equally elated.
"It was a good game, quite a good goal to score. Otherwise, we went out there to put out our hearts and came away with a victory," he said.
Sporting's coach Nigel Stewart was disappointed for the setback.
"I think we played well, I don't think we played that badly, but goalscoring was a problem for us," Stewart said.
"We lost concentration whenever we had the better of play. We don't think to kill off a team whenever we have the better of them. It is a setback for us, we lost three points, I don't know how the other game went but we win some, we lose some. We are going back to the field to get ready for the next game."
SUMMARY of ninth-round Red Stripe Premier League football matches played on Sunday:
Sporting Central Academy 0 Montego Bay United 1 at Brancourt
GOAL: MoBay United - Lesly St. Fleur 18th
Boys' Town 3 Highgate United 1 at Collie Smith Drive
GOALS: Boys' Town - Michael Campbell 45+1, Romeo Parkes 58th, Khalil Johnson 90+2; Highgate - Carlos Barrett 61st
Cavalier 1 Tivoli Gardens 0 at Stadium East
GOALS: Cavalier - Claudious Blackburn 65th
Waterhouse 0 Harbour View 1 at Waterhouse Mini Stadium
GOAL: Harbour View - Damion Harwood 30th
Arnett Gardens 1 Savannah 1 at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex
GOALS: Arnett - Leon Strickland 65th; Shane Anderson 45+1
Next fixtures - Sunday, October 28
3 p.m. Highgate United vs Portmore United at Drax Hall Sports Complex
3 p.m. Humble Lion vs Cavalier at Effortville Community Centre
6:30 p.m. Montego Bay United vs Arnett Gardens at Catherine Hall Complex
3 p.m. Savannah vs Boys' Town at Frome Sports Complex
5 p.m. Tivoli Gardens vs Waterhouse at Edward Seaga Sports Complex
Monday, October 29
9 p.m. Harbour View vs Sporting Central at Harbour View Stadium