Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Tivoli Gardens was one of five teams to record victories on yesterday's opening day of the 2013-2014 Red Stripe Premier League season.
The Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey-coached Tivoli, who are hunting a record-breaking sixth Premier League title, clipped Montego Bay United 1-0 in their first-round match at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex.
The game's all-important goal was scored by Rafeik Thomas in the 62nd minute.
Sporting Central produced the biggest result, as they turned back defending champions Harbour View 2-0 at Juici Patties Park. Sporting's goals were scored by Gregory Lewis (28th) and Francois Swaby (75th).
Last year's runners-up, Waterhouse, left it late against Boys' Town, as they won 2-0 at Drewsland Stadium. Marvin Morgan (79th), who only last season was representing Boys' Town, scored on debut with Romario Campbell (90+2) notching Waterhouse's other goal.
Humble Lion ambushed Arnett Gardens 1-0 at the Effortville Community Centre courtesy of a fifth-minute strike by Roberto Fletcher.
At Stadium East, a 26th-minute goal by Severo Murphy was also enough to earn Cavalier a 1-0 win over Portmore United.
The newly promoted pair of August Town and Rivoli United had to settle for a share of the points after playing to a 1-1 draw at UWI Bowl, Mona. Larone Russell opened the scoring for August Town in the 25th minute, but Rivoli pulled level through Kemar Bennett (61st).
August Town ended the game with 10 players after Jerome Weatherbourne was ejected for committing two bookable offences - within the space of seven minutes (59th and 66th).
HARD WON VICTORY
At the Edward Seaga Sports Complex, it was by no means an easy victory for Tivoli, as the Montego Bay unit took the fight to the hosts from the opening whistle.
Montego Bay United actually got off the first attempt on goal, when Renaldo Rodney took a glancing header from an Allan Ottey right-sided cross. But his effort lacked power and was easily held by goalkeeper Edsel Scott.
It was Tivoli, however, that should have gone into the break ahead, but Thomas and Rohan Reid both fired straight at Jacomeno Barrett in Montego Bay's goal in the 41st and 44th minutes, respectively, after being played through by Keammar Daley.
The deadlock was finally broken 17 minutes into the second half when Tivoli's Dwayne Smith fortuitously gained possession on the left flank after an attempted clearance by a Montego Bay defender came back off the corner flag. Smith fired the ball into the box, where Thomas timed his jump to perfection to head home and earn his team all three points.
"Last season we were rebuilding, but everything is in place now and we see what we need to do, so this year we are really going for it and this is a good start," Bailey said.
"If we can score one goal and defend it then that is good, that is showing that we are working as a team," he added.
Donovan Duckie, who took over at Montego Bay in the off-season, identified two key areas of his team's play that need to improve going forward.
"Our defending in the box is one thing that we need to work on ... . The goalkeeper has to be more dominant and vocal there," Duckie said. "And breaking down teams as a group is something we need to work on as well, there is too much individualism."
Sporting Central 2 Harbour View 0
Waterhouse 2Boys' Town 0
Tivoli Gardens 1MoBay United 0Cavalier 1 Portmore 0
Humble Lion 1 Arnett Gardens 0
August Town 1 Rivoli United 1