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Sporting safe, Arnett rebuilding

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Sporting Central Academy on Sunday secured for themselves another season in top-flight football, despite losing 0-1 to Arnett Gardens in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).

Newton Sterling in the fifth minute scored the only goal in the game played at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

Starting the day on 41 points, 15 ahead of Reno FC, with five matches to go, there was the mathematical chance that Sporting Central could have been overtaken.

However, with Reno losing 1-2 to Highgate United, that possibility was wiped out as Reno can now only finish with a maximum 38 points.

Fortunate outcome

Coach Nigel Stewart was relieved. "We did not get the one point (from this game) that would have guaranteed our safety, but we are safe based on the other results," Stewart said, making reference to Reno's loss.

"It (todays game) was a good one which could have gone either way. We got chances to score but didn't and if you do not score you can't win," he added, reflecting on their poor performance in front of goal, which included a 55th-minute penalty miss by the team's leading scorer, Francois Swaby, who would have put the teams level.

"I am not so sure what the reason is for our poor finishing. It has been affecting us all season and we will continue to work at it," added Stewart.

With their safety in the league not in question, Arnett Gardens' focus was totally different from that of Sporting Central's.

"We are rebuilding. We need to win championships and we have a bunch of bright Under-21s and we need to put them in," said coach Paul 'Tegat' Davis, who gave debuts to Charlie Smith schoolboys Vishunel Harris and Andrew Allen, and also gave starts to youngsters Ricardo Oldham and Rohan Williams.

The youngsters, who showed their stuff while the likes of Cornel Chin-Sue and Jonathan Williams looked on from the stands, did not disappoint Davis.

"I like what I saw of them. I know what I want from them and they know what I want.

"Young players will come in and try to impress with their performance and I hope it stays that way," added Davis, whose team improved their tally to 45 points.

While he was encouraged by the performance of the youngsters, Davis conceded that the talent was heavily weighted in one area.

"We have a lot of talent in midfield, but we need to work on the attacking and the defensive talent," he explained.

- Nodley Wright