MONTEGO BAY, St James — Montego Bay United (MBU) came from a goal down at half-time to beat Humble Lion, 2-1, for their first win in the second round of the Red Stripe Premier League at Montego Bay Sports Complex on Sunday, avenging a first-round loss.
In yet another second-half turnaround, Allan Ottey equalised for MBU in the 59th minute, while Lesly St Fleur provided the winner with a laser-like shot in the 85th after Jermaine Christian had given the visitors the lead in the 28th.
Humble Lion, who have earned just a point since the start of the round and were losing successive matches, are 10th on 15 points, just above the drop zone and three points ahead of the revitalised Highgate.
MBU improved to seventh place on 20 points after dropping from fifth to eighth place last Wednesday when they lost to Tivoli Gardens.
Humble Lion also appear to be in a leadership crisis, with former assistant coach Linval 'Palla' Wilson giving orders from the bench on Sunday.
He told the Jamaica Observer he was not sure of his status as he was just asked to step in at short notice.
Nonetheless, Wilson thought his team should have come away with at least a point, but said the players did not take the first-half intensity into the second half, giving away "too much possession in crucial areas".
Dr Dean Weatherly, the MBU coach, said he did not want to see his team as "a second-half team", but said "the second-half adjustments and substitutions paid off for us".
Weatherly said the team was not moving the ball enough in the first half.
"We were too static in the first half, but then in the second half we were more mobile and created more scoring chances."
He said the midfield tracking also improved in the second period after they were outnumbered on the ball in the first.
It was MBU that had the first chance when Ottey just failed to get his head to a cross from Dwayne Ambusley in the fourth minute.
Ottey was on the receiving end of a brilliant individual move from St Fleur in the 11th, but shot over the bar.
The Bahamian striker had skipped over a sliding tackle from Kirk Duckworth, dribbled to the touchline and crossed the ball into the area.
Humble Lion took the lead when the MBU defence failed to get the ball out of their area and Christian pounced on the ball and placed it out of the reach of a diving Jacomeno Barrett.
The Clarendon club should have doubled their lead in the 40th when a swift move opened up the MBU defence, but Omando McLoud's shot from close range was poor and gave Barrett no problems in the MBU goal.
MBU created a number of chances late in the half and even had a good penalty appeal in the 43rd when the ball struck the hand of a Humble Lion defender in the six-yard box.
McLoud had another good scoring chance in 52nd, but Barrett's excellent reflex save denied him.
After taking over the game from Humble Lion, MBU finally got the breakthrough when Ottey powered home a ball past goalkeeper Peter Harrison at his near left post from a melee in the 59th.
After seeing Humble Lion substitute Kimroy Davis hit the crossbar in the 78th from distance, MBU grabbed the winner five minutes from the end when St Fleur hit a sweet left-footed shot from 25 yards which sailed into the left upright like a heat-seeking missile.
The goal knocked the fight out of Humble Lion and Keneil Kirlew missed adding to their misery when his shot in time added missed by inches.
Montego Bay United -- Dwayne Ambusley, Winston Wilkinson, Jermaine Woozencroft, Cordel Simpson, Jacomeno Barrett, Allan Ottey (Dino Williams-73rd), Ladale Richie, Keneil Kirlew, Jerome Eccleston (Brian Brown-55th), Kemiro James (Oliver Trail-61st), Lesly St Fleur
Subs not used: O Gordon, J Barrett, R Reynold, S Beveny
Booked: Wozencroft-35th, Ottey-60th, Simpson-87th
Humble Lions -- Peter Harrison, Adrian Mitchell, Kirk Duckworth, Fabian Pascoe, Mark Miller, Ricardo Campbell, Peter Brown (Kimroy Davis-65th), Jermaine Christian, Andrew Isaacs (Gregory Morgan-63rd), Carlington Smith, Omando McLoud (Oneke Ford-86th)
Subs not used: D Dunk, T Sawyers, O Walters, G Heron
Referee: Karl Tyrell
Assistants: Stephen Brown, Nicholas Anderson
Fourth Official: Carvel Banton
Match Commissary: Tracey Reid