Mount Pleasant coach Wally Downes has hailed the impact of star forward Jourdaine Fletcher in pushing the team to the semifinal of the Jamaica Premier League.

Having gone behind in the first half it was Fletcher who grabbed a crucial goal for the team, after being introduced from the bench.  The alert forward came into the game at the start of the second half, found the back of the net in the 62nd minute, after profiting from a defensive mix-up.

The equaliser was a heavy blow to the Stars of the East, who had come into the encounter with a 3-1 first-leg deficit but quickly cut the lead to one goal after scoring early in the second half.

The goal was the fifth of the season for Fletcher, who also found the back of the net in the first leg.

“He wasn’t 100 percent fit to play 90 minutes but he’s an addition to us that you just can’t leave off the pitch,” Downes said of the player’s substitute role.

“So I waited as long as I could and clearly it was the tactical change at the right time.”

Mount Pleasant will next face Waterhouse in the next round.

 

 

Tivoli Gardens soared into the last four of the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) with a rousing 4-0 second-leg win over Vere United at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Wednesday.

After a scoreless first leg between the team, goals from Stephen Barnett, Trayvone Reid, Horatio Morgan, and Jermaine Johnson blew the tie wide open, and perhaps at the end of the tie flattered the West Kingston squad.

Barnett got things rolling in the 18th minute when he was served up with a well-weighted cross from Delroy Grey, which he was able to deflect neatly into the corner of the goal.

With Vere pushing to get back into the game, it was Tivoli who struck after catching their opponents on the counterattack. Reid broke away from a high Vere backline before calmly slotting the ball around goalkeeper Shavon Wilson to double the lead in the 62nd minute.

A loosely marked Morgan then slotted the ball into the net at close range after being picked out from a corner in the 83rd minute.  Veteran Johnson then rubbed salt into the wounds of Vere Technical after coming off the bench to score a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

In the day’s other game, Mount Pleasant also advance to the semi final's following a 1-1 draw with Harbour View to advance 4-2 on aggregate.  The Stars of the East started the game on fire after Oshane Staple found the back of the net in the first five minutes.  Needing a goal to tie the aggregate score, however, Harbour View had a mix-up at the back, which allowed Jourdaine Fletcher to ghost in and tie the game at 1-1.

Mount Pleasant secured the early advantage in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) quarterfinals following a 3-1 first-leg win over Harbour View at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre For Excellence on Saturday.

After a positive start to the encounter by the Stars of the East, it was Mount Pleasant who gradually gained the ascendency.  The Montego Bay-based franchise took the lead through 17-year-old forward Devonte Campbell in the 30th minute as he blasted past Harbour View keeper Tafari Chambers at his near post.

With the game in the balance, Kesslan Hall sprinted on to an inch-perfect Daniel Green rainbow pass over the backline and chipped over the head Chambers and into the back of the net in the 55th minute.  Jourdaine Fletcher’s neat finish in the 75th minute put Mount Pleasant in complete control but Tyrese Williams gave Harbour View a lifeline after heading home from close range in time added on.  In the day’s other match, Tivoli Gardens and Vere United ended in a 0-0 draw.

 

Atapharoy Bygrave scored arguably the goal of the season that earned Dunbeholden FC a fortunate 1-1 draw with Tivoli Gardens in the feature match of the Jamaica Premier League at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Tuesday.

Romaine Bowers had given Tivoli Gardens a 9th-minute lead, slotting home from close range after William Benjamin parried Devroy Grey’s fierce shot into his path in the ninth minute.

But Bygrave picked up a ball just below halfline and unleashed a ferocious shot that sailed past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Davin Watkins on the stroke of halftime in the 45+2 minute.

It was a wonder strike by Bygrave and it was just as impressive as his celebration where he

would have been given a 10 out of 10 for his somersault and perfect landing.

Bygrave’s goal was worthy of a share of the points although, in truth, Tivoli Gardens should

have won comfortably as they wasted a number of chances.

  Former champions Arnett Gardens came from behind to beat Humble Lion 2-1 in an exciting encounter in the final game of round three of the Jamaica Premier League at the Stadium East field on Monday.

Former Arnett Gardens star, Vishinul Harris opened the scoring for his new club Humble Lion in the 8th minute.  But goals by Jonoy Cunningham (14th) and Renaldo Cephas (75th) turned it around for the Junglists.

Harris latched on to a Levaughn Williams defense-splitting pass and slotted home, but Cunningham pulled Arnett Gardens level with a thumping header from an Oshane Roberts corner kick.

Then the lively and skilful Cephas, who missed a sitter in the 72nd minute, returned three minutes later and found the clincher in clinical fashion, side-footing home from close range in the 75th minute.

It was a very good win for Arnett as they moved into eighth spot with three points from two games. The Alex Thomas-coached outfit has a game in hand and sits just three points adrift of the leaders Portmore United.

Clarendon-based outfit Humble Lion remained at the bottom of the 11-team league. without a point from three games and with a lot of work to do.

Losing coach Andrew Price of Humble Lion said his team is getting fitter but they didn’t close down the opponents and paid the price.

“We didn’t press the Arnett Gardens team enough. They are a young team, full of energy, and if you don’t pressure then you won’t be able to gain the ascendancy,” Price said.

“I think we played in patches and weren’t very consistent throughout the game and we will just have to continue to work,” he added.

 “We didn’t play well enough today to win the game and we will have to accept that. We have to look in the mirror and see we weren’t good enough today.”

He remained optimistic that things will turn around for the better, but it will take time.

Dunbeholden assistant coach Ricardo Smith hailed the performance of standout midfielder Nickoy Christian for a man-of-the-match performance that inspired the team to its first win of the truncated Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season at the Stadium East Complex.

Throughout the game, it was Christian who controlled the tempo, marshalled the midfield, and was the key talisman behind all Dunbeholden’s set pieces.

In truth, from the opening whistle, Dunbeholden seemed to be the team that wanted it more. The blue and red-clad team were on the attack almost immediately and it paid dividends in the 5th minute of the game.

Off the end of Christian’s corner, veteran defender Andre Dyce latched on at the back post with a side-footed effort that nestled into the net for the opener and the only goal of the game.

A delighted Smith commended Christian’s performance and lauded his leadership in driving the team to a win.

“He took the team and was leading from the front, all the training sessions leading up to today. He was the leader from the warm-up to the game, he encouraged them, he did everything hence the performance today from him,” Smith explained.

However, Smith also commended his players for sticking to the game plan and stepping up to the challenge.

“We know that we had to come here today and soak up a lot of pressure because this team [Cavalier FC] is a ball possession team. And they are youthful, they run a lot, so we expected this from them. We talked about it we watched them before and we just gave it that strategy, we sit back and catch them on the counter,” he added.

This win came on the back of the new appointment of head coach Harold Thomas after losing their first two fixtures to Portmore United and Waterhouse FC, respectively.

Having won their first game and drawing their last, Cavalier FC suffered their first defeat of the season. Though it’s still early days, Cavalier coach Rudolph Speid acknowledges that they did not play well and that it was a tough defeat.

“I can’t put my finger on any one thing, but I think the early goal kind of stunned us. We were not able to be our usual standards and then the conditions were really breezy, very difficult to control the ball.”

On the day, Cavalier lacked the creativity that JPL is accustomed to seeing from them.

The Kingston-based team playing at home for the first time this season was, however, missing their main danger man Shaniel Thomas, Speid believes it hampered their way of playing.

Dunbeholden FC now moves from the bottom of the table to eighth position, on three points, while Cavalier FC remains in fourth on four points.

 

 

 

Head coach of Arnett Gardens, Alex Thomas, is looking forward to a productive season when the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) kicks off this weekend.

Arnett resorted to training in small groups when Covid-19 unexpectedly abrupted the sporting arena after Minister of Sports Olivia Grange had barred the Premier league teams from training as a unit.

Thomas revealed the club has since taken a different approach to their squad line-up, shedding some weight, and adding younger players to the team.

The club has released Ricardo Holder and Jamar Martin among a few veteran players that were with the team last season.

Thomas believes that the changes will bring positive results and is pleased with what he has seen so far.  Despite having had a short period to prepare for the season, he is not concerned about it impacting the quality of the team’s performance. 

"We have a nice squad put together and they have come a long way and we are shaping up well for it. We are ready for the 26th," Thomas said.

According to Thomas, the young players are keen to prove their abilities and will be guided by more experienced players in the team.

He and the rest of the management team are happy that there are no injuries within the squad for far and hope it will remain that way.

Thomas has lauded the club's involvement and interaction with the players during the pandemic and the uncertainty that came with it.

Social media engagement and zoom meetings were some of the club's avenues to communicate with the players.

"It worked quite well for us, we couldn't come together most of the time, but we kept the squad upbeat within the group, we have a WhatsApp group that we keep in touch with," said Thomas.

The five-time champions are confident in their chances of winning the league and will be pushing themselves to reign as titleholders once again.

"Our chance of winning this competition out of ten, I would say eight, but we are going to push them as far as possible. Our objective is to reach the top six and from the top six we take it from there. We will do very well for ourselves," Thomas ended.

The league format has been altered from the usual three rounds to just one. Instead, teams will play each other in a round-robin. Therefore, the top six teams will have a chance to book a spot in the finals, and the bottom six will battle each other in another round-robin format; this will determine their respective placings on the league table.

Team Manager of Dunbeholden FC Paul Christie has no time for excuses, despite the pandemic affecting their usual way of getting business done.

Dunbeholden FC has been adapting to the circumstances and creating a pathway to a successful campaign for the upcoming season.  Christie reports that the club's coaching staff are effectively getting the players ready for competition and the title is theirs to take.

"At Dunbeholden FC, right now we are in it to win it. We are trying our best to prepare like any other team, and we give ourselves a chance against any opponent,” Christie said.

The Spanish Town-based club is looking to secure their first-ever league title and wants to do so in style.

Christie admitted to SportsMax.tv that his players had some psychological impact due to the pandemic. However, he said the management team addressed those issues with professional intervention because the team needs to be focused mentally on winning the title.

"We have persons who we had to engage for psychological evaluation, based on the severity of what was happening to them.  However, I know that our opponents will not empathize with that, on the game day they will still have to show and give the best account of themselves and that is what we are assiduously working on at this time,” he added.

In a bid to strengthen their overall depth, Dunbeholden FC has added several quality players to their armoury. Among the new signings are former Portmore United striker Rondee Smith, defender Roberto Johnson, Damion Hyatt from Arnett Gardens, Diego Gordon, Kiethy Simpson, and Mark Miller from Waterhouse FC.

Christie believes Smith will be lethal up front and is expected to be a nightmare for their rivals.  Johnson should be sturdy in defence, organising and commanding their backline. Miller and Simpson will be mobilising the midfield, threading, and splitting defences with creative passes, putting their strikers on the end of open goal-scoring opportunities.

The new signings expect to give Dunbeholden FC a competitive edge with a degree of experience and talent, says Christie.

Dunbeholden FC had also signed the late Tremaine Stewart in September of last year. However, the 33-year-old forward did not feature for the club because of the cancelled season due to the pandemic.

Dunbeholden FC had felt Stewart's presence instantly when he joined, and Christie was confident that with Stewart’s talent and energy, Dunbeholden would be sure winners of the competition.

According to the manager, the team was in a sombre mood but has since redirected their emotions towards winning the league title in honour of Stewart.

"We are trying to flip it around…although we are having a sad and a mournful time, we are trying to use it as motivation and try to just do this one for our fallen brother."

Former Jamaica U-23 and Montego Bay United forward, Deshane Beckford, is expected to join USL Championship club Colorado Switchbacks on a season-long loan.

The move will mark the second for the Jamaica national over the past several years, after first joining the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at the end of 2019.  Beckford also spent the 2020 season with the Toros.

In 22 USL Championship appearances, the forward has scored three goals.  Brown put himself on the radar of the USL after a strong performance at the 2019 Pan American Games where he scored three goals for Jamaica in three games.  The forward also previously represented Jamaica at the U-17 level.

The move remains dependent on the player renewing a work visa, but Beckford expressed delight with the opportunity to continue plying his trade in the US second division.

 “I'm grateful to be a part of the Switchbacks, the players and staff have been really positive,” Beckford told USL Championship.com.

 “I'm excited for the upcoming season.”

The 23-year-old previously trialed for West Ham in 2015.  Colorado Springs coach Brendan Burke welcomed Beckford’s addition to the line-up.

“Deshane is a player that impressed us immensely during his performance with the Jamaican U23 team in the Pan American Games,” Burke said.

“His pace, soft feet, and nose for goal should add another weapon to our still-evolving group of forwards.”

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