Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
A much-improved defensive display from Arnett Gardens improved their chances of advancing to the Red Stripe Premier League end-of-second round final from slim to realistic, as they defeated previous leaders Montego Bay United 1-0 to take over the lead.
Captain Kirk Ramsay's strike in the 41st minute gave the 'Junglists' - who were registering their second successive clean sheet since the resumption of the competition - the lead as they improved to 18 points, the same as Montego Bay United, but with a better goal difference. With one set of matches to go, there are six teams still in contention for a place in the final.
Waterhouse missed an excellent chance to take over the lead as they played to a 1-1 draw with Tivoli Gardens, while Harbour View, Arnett Gardens' final opponents of the round, set themselves up to pounce with a 2-0 win over Sporting Central.
Cavalier, who were due to play Humble Lion last night, are just a point behind and could overtake them with a win. Portmore United could also capitalise if the others slip up.
"The difference is how we have defended. A lot of emphasis has been placed on how we defend as a team and it paid rich dividends for us this evening," a very pleased Arnett coach, Calvin Lewis, said at the end of the game.
"Ever since I came here I observed that we were having a defensive problem and at this time experience is what is needed so I brought these players in to strengthen that area," Lewis added, making reference to Anthowe Dawkins and Desmond Breakenridge, who along with Shawn Lawes were towers in the Arnett defensive unit.
On one of the rare occasions on which the unit was breached, Dino Williams missed the best chance of the match as he shot straight at goalkeeper Damion Hyatt while clean through on goal.
Montego Bay United's coach, Dr Dean Weatherly, felt that the inexperience of his youthful team let them down.
"The squad is a young one and the immaturity came out. That is something that has to be addressed," he said.
The team betrayed their youthfulness, he said, by their approach to the game. They were hurrying the play and "not connecting the dots", he noted.
"In games like these the chances are few and far so you have to take them when we get them.
"Arnett Gardens came with a better spirit than us. The one chance they got they made use of it. We created many and missed," Dr Weatherly explained, adding that the game will have to be used as "a learning game for us".
Despite their loss, Dr Weatherly believes his players are still in with a chance of making it to the end-of-round final if they get it right against the improving and battling Savannah in the final game of the round.