Tivoli fight back to hold Portmore
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Christopher Jackson produced a rare brace to rescue a share of the spoils for defending champions Tivoli Gardens, who managed to overturn a two-goal deficit against Portmore United in their Digicel Premier League second-round match-up at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex last evening.
Ricardo Cousins (30th) and Carlington Smith (63rd) had earlier scored a goal-a-piece in either half to give the former champions hope of securing their third win of the round.
However, the marauding left back popped up in 65th and 88th minutes to extend Portmore's misery and hand his team yet another draw, their eightth of the round.
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams as they did well to hassle the Tivoli Gardens' players and pass the ball around, disrupting the hosts' intense-driven style of play.
Cousins gave his team the advantage after getting the better of goalkeeper Edsel Scott in a one-on-one breakaway.
Smith doubled the lead when his looping header from just inside the box eluded defender Rupert Murray, who was left stranded on the line after Scott was caught in 'no man's land'.
The Portmore United spectators were still celebrating when Jackson converted a Keammar Daley free-kick at the near post, as the hosts began to stamp their authority on the game.
It was all TG at this stage and it was little surprise when Jackson returned on the stroke of full time to hand his team a share of the spoils. The defender's goal was the icing on the cake for a beautifully crafted move which started when striker Navion Boyd outsmarted three defenders in a run which took him from the half line to the edge of the Portmore box, where he passed to substitute Jameel Thompson. The latter then delivered a pin-point cross to Jackson, who drove his header fiercely into the ground and beyond the helpless Duwayne Kerr in goal for Portmore.
Tivoli's coach, Lenworth Hyde Sr conceded that his team was outplayed in the first half but credited the fighting spirit of his players.
Excellent second half
"It was an excellent second half by my players. We didn't have a good first half, but seeing that we were down, the determination and the guts that we showed today is proof that we are the champions and that's why we won last year," he said.
Linval Dixon, coach of Portmore United, rued his team's failure to close out the game.
"I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time we worked real hard. It was a tough game but it was unfortunate that we couldn't secure all three points," said Dixon.