Fabian Reid and Chevany Willis both scored twice, as Arnett Gardens produced one of, if not, their most dominant display of the Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League (WNJPL) season in a 5-1 win over Humble Lion at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday.

After a lukewarm win over Lime Hall Academy last week, Head coach Xavier Gilbert requested more from his team, particularly in the attacking third with the intent of making their South St Andrew base a fortress heading into the business end of the season. The "Junglists" responded with aplomb, as they were rampant from start to finish in extending their unbeaten run across five games.

Though they had to come from behind after Afiba Chambers gave Humble Lion a ninth-minute lead, Arnett Gardens were comfortable in the end as Willis scored a header and a delightful freekick in the 39th and 84th, while Reid's double in the 69th and 75th were also well taken, with Jaheim Thomas (59th) in on the act of the five-star performance that gave the moderate crowd much to cheer about.

Despite not getting on the score sheet, Rushike Kelson was also among the highlights of Arnett Gardens' classy execution, as he proved menacing to their Clarendon-based opponents’ backline with timely runs coupled with a consistent show of nippy footwork on the right channel.

"It was good. I thought we played well, but disappointed that we conceded a goal from another set piece, and we have to defend better. But nevertheless, we rose to the occasion, and I think we dominated possession and created quite a number of opportunities in both halves, so it was a deserved win for the gentlemen tonight (Monday).

"I thought he [Kelson] and Jaheim were good, especially in the first half and it’s unfortunate that Rushike didn't score. But Willis was a deserved man of the match with first half equaliser and that wonderful freekick at the end. So, we were a lot better offensively and it showed with the number of goals we scored," Gilbert said in a post-match interview. 

With the win, Arnett Gardens provisionally moved up to third on 45 points, same as second-placed Portmore United and Cavalier, with goal difference separating the three. Cavalier who started the Matchweek in second, slipped to fourth after their 0-1 loss to Portmore United in the curtain-raiser at the venue. 

Reigning champions Mount Pleasant (49 points), with Tivoli Gardens (42 points) and Dunbeholden FC (34 points), occupying the other playoff positions.

Given the close nature of business in the top half of the standings, Gilbert is well aware of the quality that their rivals possess but backs his team to remain competitive going forward.

“Our chance is as good as everybody it’s going to be tough, we know it’s not going to be easy, so we just have to maximise on our potential and the opportunities that we create, as well as tighten up on areas that needs strengthening. So that is what we are going to focus on in the next couple of weeks leading up to the playoffs,” Gilbert noted.

It was a frantic start to the contest for Arnett Gardens, who signalled intentions in the sixth minute, when Thomas rifled a right-footed effort into the upright. But it was Humble Lion that broke the deadlock three minutes later when Chambers applied an acrobatic finish to an Andrew Vanzie corner.

Instead of riding the momentum from the goal, Humble Lion were forced on the defensive as Arnett Gardens applied consistent pressure through Reid and Kelson, who tested Hasani Barnes on a few occasions, but the Humble Lion custodian proved equal to the task.

The “Junglists” thought they were back on level terms in the 32nd when Kelson again showed nippy footwork to dismiss two defenders, but his intended shot caught the arm of Reid on its way in and the goal was disallowed by referee Oshane Nation.

However, they inevitably pulled one seven minutes later when Willis rose highest to head home a weighted cross from Joel Jones. They should have gone to the break in front, but Thomas’s stinging right-footer from deep inside the 18-yard box, was tipped unto the crossbar by Barnes, who ensured the score remained 1-1 at the break.

Still, Arnett Gardens were in no mood to relent, as they maintained their momentum on the resumption with Thomas getting another effort from the top of the 18-yard box on target, but Barnes again did well to parry.

Given the marauding nature in which Arnett Gardens were attacking, it was only a matter of time before they found lead, which they eventually did when Kelson provided a pass for 20-year-old Thomas to fire past Barnes.

Kelson went close a few minutes later, but his effort was kept out by Barnes. From there, it was time for the Reid show, as the veteran striker went on a break and fired past the advancing Barnes in the 69th, and later registered his ninth goal of the season when he sidewined his way past a defender to create space for a thumping finish to put Arnett Gardens 4-0 up at that point.

The fact that he opened the scoring for Arnett Gardens, it was only fitting that Willis capped the win, and he did so in dazzling fashion when he drove one of his trademark free kicks from just over 30 yards out past Barnes, who was beaten all ends up.

Linval Wilson, who took the reins from Vassell Reynolds at Humble Lion felt the team’s loss was a result of poor defending.

“When you make those mistakes playing Arnett Gardens at home you are going to get punished and that’s what happens. When you look at the goals, they were just some simple errors in crucial areas, so when you’re playing against a class team this is what happens, we just lapsed in concentration,” Wilson said.

Results

Portmore United 1, Cavalier 0

Arnett Gardens 5, Humble Lion 1

Though pleased that his Arnett Gardens team secured three points to stick with rivals in the Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League (WNJPL) top six, Xavier Gilbert was by no means satisfied with the overall execution, especially as the season approaches the business end.

The “Junglists” were expectedly dominant in all departments in their 3-0 win over Lime Hall Academy at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday, the performance was far from polished and was in fact aided by some poor defending from their opponents in parts.

It took Marlon Buckley’s 52nd-minute own-goal to get things going, before Kaheim Dixon (54th) and Jaheim Thomas (86th) added to their respective tallies so far this season to seal the win.

With the three points, Arnett Gardens joined third-placed Tivoli Gardens and fourth-placed Portmore United on 42 points, but remain in fifth by virtue of their inferior goal difference. Reigning champions Mount Pleasant (49 points) and Cavalier (45 points) maintains the top two spots, with Dunbeholden FC (34 points) completing the top six.

For Gilbert, the fact that Arnett Gardens had 14 of 23 shots on target compared to Lime Hall, who failed to get any of their three shots on target, meant very little as the performance lacked the proficiency they are hoping to display against more competitive opponents.

“We wanted to put on a better showing to be honest. I think we were a little bit impatient in terms of our build up play because in the first half we weren’t connecting with our passes. The second half was a little better and then we managed to put them under some pressure and score some goals. But it wasn’t our best in terms of fluency, but such is the nature of the game we are just happy that we got the three points that we came for,” Gilbert said in a post-game interview.

“I think the changes in the second half made a difference, we were a little bit more positive in the middle of the park and it worked for us. Again, I am not too satisfied because you always want and expect more from your players especially at this point of the competition, but this is the squad that we have so we just have to get the players up to par as best as possible,” he added.

Despite Arnett Gardens’ dominance, Lime Hall’s goalkeeper Jahiem Williams ensured the first half ended goalless, as he came up big on a few occasions to deny Jamone Shephard and Dixon in particular.

Lime Hall’s best chance at a goal came four minutes into the resumption, when Marlon Pennicooke went on the counter, but was hesitant in getting a shot off, and was later dispossessed by two recovering defenders.

That outcome basically summed up Lime Hall’s night, as Arnett Gardens broke the deadlock three minutes later when Williams was beaten by his own defender, Buckley, who inadvertently headed in Philando Wing’s cross.

Dixon doubled the lead a minute later when he fired home after Lime Hall’s defenders failed to clear their lines.

Arnett Gardens, like a pack of hungry wolves, continued to camp out in Lime Hall’s quarters, but their hunt to add to their tally proved fruitless at that point, as Kevoan McGregor’s 69th-minute shot took a wicked deflection and came back off the left upright.

In the 79th, Williams again came up big to deny Dixon and seconds later McGregor’s stinging right-footer from a distance, rattled the crossbar.

Williams, who took flight in an attempt to keep out the shot, fell awkwardly on his way down and injured his right shoulder which forced him out the game, after he was beaten by Thomas, who fired home his fourth goal of the season from close range.

Lime Hall’s outfield player Mikolai McKoy took up goalkeeping duties, and sent the moderate crowd into frenzy, as he denied Dixon and company in quick succession, in time added.

Oshane Allen, Lime Hall’s assistant coach was left disappointed at the outcome.

“I think it was a hard-fought game but after the own goal, the team fell asleep, and we saw what came after. I have Jahiem [Williams] as the man of the match for tonight, but I guess the three goals took away from his performance. He has always been excellent for us this season and fortunately, the injury is not serious, so we are going to work on getting him ready for the next game,” Allen said.

Matchweek 22 Results

Tivoli Gardens 1, Dunbeholden 1

Portmore United 0, Waterhouse 0

Humble Lion 3, Vere United 0

Mount Pleasant 2, Cavalier 0

Harbour View 0, Molynes United 1

Montego Bay United 1, Treasure Beach 0

Arnett Gardens 3, Lime Hall Academy 0

Arnett Gardens extended their unbeaten run across six games when they took the scalp of reigning champions Mount Pleasant FA with a 2-0 victory in an entertaining Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League (WNJPL) encounter at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Wednesday.

After playing out a goalless first half, the ‘Junglists’ eventually broke the deadlock through Kimani Arbouine’s well-driven 54th-minute effort from just outside the 18-yard box.

Jaheim Thomas then capped the win with a delightful 69th-minute volley that beat Shaquan Davis, in goal for Mount Pleasant, all ends up.

With the win, the Xavier Gilbert-coached Arnett Gardens inched up to 21 points, same as second-placed Tivoli Gardens, but with a game in hand. Both are now a solitary point behind Mount Pleasant, who despite the loss, remain atop the standing.

Earlier, Tivoli Gardens through goals from Kimarley Smith (52nd), Howard Morris (62nd) and Alton Lewis (65th) downed Harbour View 3-0 in a lopsided affair. The loss saw Harbour View slipping back to 11th position on 10 points.

Much like Arnett Gardens, Dunbeholden FC continued their unbeaten run with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Waterhouse FC.

Damion Binns’ 53rd-minute own-goal and Brian Burkett’s 90th-minute strike, was enough to hand Dunbeholden the points, after Javane Bryan (41st) gave Waterhouse the lead.

The win moved Dunbeholden up to fifth on 18 points, same as fifth-placed Portmore United, who edged Vere United 1-0, while Waterhouse are sixth on 15 points.

Meanwhile, Humble Lion secured their first win under the guidance of Vassell Reynolds, as they edged Lime Hall Academy 1-0. The win stopped a three-match losing skid, and moved the Clarendon-based team up to 14 points in ninth position, while promoted Lime Hall remain at the foot of the 14-team standing on four points.

Matchweek 11 Results

Arnett Gardens 2, Mount Pleasant FA 0

Tivoli Gardens 3, Harbour View 0

Humble Lion 1, Lime Hall Academy 0

Waterhouse FC 1, Dunbeholden FC 2

Vere United 0, Portmore United 1

Cavalier 1, Treasure Beach FC 0

Molynes United 2, Montego Bay United 1

Arnett Gardens Head coach Xavier Gilbert expressed delight about his team’s dominant showing against Vere United, as they gave football enthusiasts a glimpse of the depth of their squad with a 2-0 win in Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League action on Monday night.

Rushane Thompson (32nd) and Jaheim Thomas (72nd) were on target for the “Junglists”, who despite being without a few of their regular starters due to red card suspensions, extended their unbeaten run across three games.

The win moved Arnett Gardens up to 14 points in second position, five behind reigning champions and leaders Mount Pleasant, and one ahead of third-placed Tivoli Gardens, who registered a 3-2 win over Treasure Beach in the feature game of the double-header at Stadium East.

This is much to the delight of Gilbert, who was hoping to keep their chasing rivals at bay.

"I am very happy with the way we executed, the table is really tight between second and sixth, so it was important for us to get the three points and inch up the table a little bit. So, it's a welcome one, especially knowing that Tivoli Gardens is also playing and if they win, they are right behind us," Gilbert said in a post-match interview. 

"Another important component was the fact that players stepped up, we try to ensure that we have a balanced squad so when persons miss out, others can bridge the gap, so I am really pleased with the guys that came in and got the job done. That's the mentality that we want, it is something we have been trying to do to ensure everybody is competing for their spot and that is exactly what they are doing," he added.

Arnett dominated from the start, as they were showed more enterprise in their build ups, and also produced some colorful plays in patches. But it wasn’t until two minutes after the half-hour mark that the inevitably found the go-ahead goal when Thompson arrived to finish off Shai Smith’s pass across the face of goal.

Warner Brown almost added a second in the latter stages of the first half, but his right-footed effort on the break, was kept out by the outstretched leg of Roje Williams, in goal for Vere United.

Though they continued to boss possession and created numerous half chances, Arnett Gardens had to wait until late in the second half to extend their lead, when poor defending followed by an error by Williams who left his line, allowed Thomas to finish into an empty net from close range, after Warner Brown's effort came back off the crossbar.

Vere United tried to play and created a few half chances of their own but couldn't make them count, and succumbed to their third defeat of the season, which left them eighth in the standing on eight points.

Vere United's assistant coach Jermaine Douglas was left disappointed.

"We never got off the mark in terms of attack and the second goal that we conceded, we were just getting into the game, we lapsed and got caught on the transition and it was really unfortunate that we conceded at that time. But we weren't productive in the final third and at the end of the day if you're not scoring goals or not being dangerous in front of goal, we can't win games, so we have some mental work to do," Douglas noted.

Matchweek Eight results

Molynes United 0, Lime Hall 0

Montego Bay United 3, Portmore United 2

Mount Pleasant 0, Waterhouse 0

Arnett Gardens 2, Vere United 0

Tivoli Gardens 3, Treasure Beach 2

Harbour View vs Dunbeholden (postponed)

Humble Lion vs Cavalier (postponed)

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