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Portmore, Arnett in 0-0 stalemate at Prison Oval

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The top-of-the-table clash between the two finalists in last season's Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), Arnett Gardens and Portmore United, ended in a 0-0 stalemate at Spanish Town Prison Oval on Sunday, thanks largely in part to the heroics of Arnett Gardens goalkeeper Damian Hyatt.

The first meeting of the two teams since Arnett Gardens won the RSPL title decider last summer promised much and lived up to expectations, save and except for goals. A physical contest from the first whistle, both teams gave as good as they got in a first half that lacked much goalmouth action.

The second half was almost all Portmore United as the home team showed real intent. Captain Ewan Grandison came very close to scoring when his free kick from 20 yards crashed against the crossbar as Hyatt was beaten all ends up. Henrico Ricketts should have done a lot better with the rebound as his lofted shot went over the crossbar with the goal wide open.

Venton Evans could only stand and stare as Hyatt got a fingertip to his shot that was headed for the bottom left- hand corner of the goal.

Rondee Smith was the next Portmore player left disappointed after evading his marker and getting clean through on goal. He seemed sure to break the deadlock, but the advancing Hyatt spread himself big and blocked the shot to keep Arnett Gardens in the contest.

The crunching tackles continued into the second half, one of which left Arnett Captain Oniel Thompson seething. Portmore United's big centre back Domano Solomon was given only a yellow card for a very hard tackle on the small-framed Marvin Morgan that brought the player crashing to the ground in a heap. Solomon made no attempt to play the ball as Morgan raced towards goal, and the Arnett Gardens winger was forced to seek medical treatment.

As it almost always goes in games like these, the visitors came close to stealing all three points near the end. Second-half substitute Vishinul Harris was picked out at the far post and, after bringing the ball under control with his chest, attempted to steer the ball into the far corner but his shot was deflected behind by a defender for a corner kick at the last moment.

It was the last clear chance for either team in the match as Arnett Gardens remain in first place on 19 points, two ahead of Portmore United on 17 points, with two match days left to go in the first round of the RSPL.

Portmore United's Head Coach Shavar Thomas was grateful for the point, despite creating the bulk of the chances which could have resulted in a win for his team.

“We are grateful for the point against a good Arnett team who are the defending champions. Yes, we created a lot of the chances in the second half and probably should have scored, but in games like these you have to take a point and move on.”

Jerome Waite hailed the heroics of his goalkeeper, who was mainly responsible for Arnett Gardens not leaving the Oval empty-handed.

“I have to commend the performance of Damian Hyatt in goal today. He kept us in the contest with some good saves. This Portmore team is a good team and they are hard to play against at home.”

 

Teams: Portmore United FC — Shaven Sean-Paul, Domano Solomon, Andre Dyce, Osani Ricketts, Kemar Phillpotts (Venton Evans 46th), Ewan Grandison, Chevany Willis, Henrico Ricketts (Roberto Johnson 62nd), Jermie Lynch (Oshane Smith 71st) Javon East, Rondee Smith

Subs not used:Kemar Foster, Kemo Gayle, Suelae McCalla, Saneekie Burton

Booked: Soloman (70th)

Arnett Gardens FC — Damian Hyatt, Oneil Thompson, Jabeur Johnson, Jamar Martin, Rickardo Oldham (Vishinul Harris 68th), Tamar Edwards,Oniel Anderson, Fabian Reid, Lennox Russell (Newton Sterling 76th), Marvin Morgan (Damari Deacon 70th), Lamard Neil

Subs not used: Shamarley Clayton, Ronaldo Wright, Steve Clarke, Kenneil Hyde

Booked: Thompson (74th) Sterling (81st)

Referee: Kevin Morrison

Assistant referee 1: Richard Washington

Assistant referee 2: Jaseett Kerr

Fourth official: Cardella Samuels

Match commissioner: Horace Lewis