Tivoli's McKoy shines in 1-1 draw at Portmore
Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
NEITHER defending champions Portmore United nor former champions Tivoli Gardens are in with a chance of winning the 2012/13 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), but both parties took positives from their 1-1 draw on Thursday night.
Adoah Nickle gave Portmore United the lead in the 46th minute and the impressive little man, Shawn McKoy, pulled Tivoli level in the 75th minute as Portmore United hurdled Boys' Town into third position on 54 points, while Tivoli Gardens remained sixth on 50.
With four rounds remaining, both teams are 12 points adrift of Harbour View (66), whose 2-1 win over Arnett Gardens in Thursday's other game extended their lead over closest rivals and only realistic title contender, Waterhouse, to seven points.
In-form striker Jermie Lynch (60th, 69th) netted second-half goals to lift the Stars of the East over Arnett Gardens, who led at minute 22, courtesy of captain Kirk Ramsay's strike.
"This evening was a very good one. After a 0-3 loss, we rebounded well. We should have won based on the possession," a pleased Linval Dixon, coach of Portmore United, uttered after the game.
Dixon's demeanour was totally different to the one he had on his team's last outing when they were soundly beaten by Waterhouse at Drewsland. That beating ended the slim chances that Portmore United had of challenging for the title, and Dixon was a disappointed man.
Following that game, Dixon said the plan was to get the players motivated again and end the season on a high note.
"We want to finish the season on a high, so we will go out there to perform and do our best," Dixon said, adding that they will continue to field a number of younger players; giving them the experience in the Premier League so that next season it will not be foreign to them.
Tivoli Gardens' assistant coach, Alvin Shaw, was happy with the attitude of his players, who were playing to their second successive come-from-behind away 1-1 draw. The fact that his team got a share of the points showed their desire to fight for every point.
"We are trying to be as professional as possible," said Shaw of his team's performance.
"We are not granting any favours at all. Any team that plays against us will have to fight for our points. We are not giving anything away," continued Shaw, whose team ended with 10 men, following the ejection of defender Ranique Anderson in the 82nd minute for a second bookable offence, owing to his hard foul on Stephen Williams.
While he was pleased with all his players, Shaw singled out McKoy for special recognition.
"He (McKoy) played really well and that is why he was my man of the match," Shaw said of the midfielder, who blasted in a left-footer into the top right corner of the Portmore United net, and who narrowly missed out on the goal of the season on Monday night, when his near 50-yard effort against Harbour View came back off the goal frame.
While the game did not attract a lot of supporters - probably due to the fact that this game would have no effect on the title race - it was one that football fans would have enjoyed, as both teams tried to play entertaining football. Both teams also used the opportunity to give a glimpse of what their teams will look like next season.
(Tabulated under Teams, P-Play, W-Win, D-Draw, L-Lose, GF-Goals For, GA-Goals Against, GD-Goal Difference, Pts-Points)