Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Highgate United's coach Michael Smith was left fuming at referee Raymond Bogle following his team's 1-0 loss to Tivoli Gardens in their Red Stripe Premier League encounter yesterday at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex.
Refiek Thomas' 72nd-minute goal was enough to earn Tivoli only their second win in 12 games and see them move up one place to seventh in the 12-team standings with 36 points.
"FIFA is spending a lot of money to try and improve the level of refereeing in Jamaica and they (referees) are not doing a very good job," Smith said. "I think he (Bogle) had a very poor game … because that second call wasn't a free kick.
"I just feel like when you are at the bottom of the premier league even a parked bus can hit you down."
Highgate remain rooted in the relegation zone, as the St Mary-based team is 11th on 25 points.
The first half of the game was evenly contested with Tivoli trying to penetrate Highgate's defence with short slick passes, while Highgate settled for long range efforts.
Tivoli's custodian, Edsel Scott, was forced to parry over a thunderously struck 40-yard shot by Kadeen Davis in the 25th minute.
Highgate's Romaine Hamilton had to replace André Dyce in goal in the 14th minute after the starting keeper kicked the ground and had to be taken to hospital in obvious discomfort complaining of not being able to feel anything below his right knee.
Hamilton came up with a brilliant save in the 25th minute, as he dived well to his right to turn a shot by the impressive André McFarlane around his post.
Tivoli made two attacking changes at the beginning of the second half as Jahmar Fisher and Raymond Williamson were replaced by Navion Boyd and Jamie Robinson respectively. The changes forced Highgate to do more defending, as they attempted to play on the counter-attack. It was on one of these defensive plays that Tivoli was awarded a free kick which was charged down by the Highgate wall. The rebound fell to Thomas who went to ground and was adjudged to have been fouled resulting in Bogle awarding a second free kick.
SHOT ON TARGET
Thomas picked himself up to fire home his first goal for the club since rejoining them during the January transfer window.
"I feel so good to come back to my home town and get my first goal after five games," Thomas said. "It is a hard task ahead of us, because we are trying to get into the top six."
Tivoli's assistant coach, Alvin Shaw, revealed that their first half approach was tentative and believed a bolder second half approach was to be credited for the win.
"It was not the most attractive game, but at this time what is important is the three points," Shaw said.