Western-based RSPL teams MBU, FC Reno seek to bounce back after losing opening games

Observer West writer

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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TUCKER, St James — Both western Jamaica-based clubs, Montego Bay United and FC Reno, are hoping to show improvement when they travel to face promoted Dunbeholden FC and Tivoli Gardens respectively, as the Red Stripe Premier League continues on Sunday.

Both teams lost their opening games, as Montego Bay United went down at home to Tivoli Gardens 2-0 with FC Reno losing at home to Cavalier SC 2-0, last Sunday.

Montego Bay United have never won their opening game in the eight years they have played in the RSPL, but it was the first time FC Reno were losing their opening game since they returned to the league in the 2014-15 season.

It was a disappointing result for the MBU fans who turned out in their numbers at WesPow Park and Vassell Reynolds who was making his debut as coach of the MBU team, was seemingly unaware of his team's futility in opening games. While admitting it was not the start they had hoped for, Reynolds said there were some positives.

“We have a young team, four or five players made their debuts”, Reynolds said, unwittingly echoing the words of Rod Underwood who was the MBU coach a year ago.

“Clearly we have some work to do, it's pretty early in the season and we didn't want to start on this note.”

He said he thought their preparation was enough to get them through this game with at least a point, and described their first-half performance as “below par”. He added, however, that “we matched them in the second-half, but then gave up a soft penalty”.

At half-time, Reynolds revealed that the team's midfield, an area of the field where they were being outplayed, adding that it worked until they gave up a late penalty.

Howard Morris scored in the first half and Barrington Pryce killed off the game in the dying minutes when he converted the penalty.

The home team got off to a slow start thus allowing Tivoli Gardens to dictate the pace, and Tivoli created several early scoring chances. But Morris was denied by goalkeeper Zavhia Hutchinson in the 12th minute, going to his right to block a free kick aimed at the top corner of the goal.

A mistake by MBU's defender Anthony Drummond in the 19th minute, when he completely missed the ball, gave Andre Moulton a clear run at goal, but the latter missed the far-left post by inches with his shot.

Another defensive mistake, this time by debutant Howard Dent in the 23rd minute, gave Morris the room he wanted on the left side and he hit a curling shot into the far corner of the goal.

MBU brought in another debutant Giovanni Reid in the second half and he helped stabilise the team as Jourdaine Fletcher, who was playing his first RSPL game since the 2016-17 season, and Allan Ottey who had left the club last season, pushed the Tivoli Gardens team back into their own half for long periods.

The introduction of the veteran Dino Williams added to the MBU offensive thrust and he set up Fletcher on the left flank in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the near post by goalkeeper Nicholas Clarke.

Another mistake by the MBU team led to the second goal as goalkeeper Hutchinson's weak clearance went only as far as the middle of his half to a Tivoli Gardens player, sending through Marvin Stewart, who was clumsily fouled by Keneil Kirlew just inside the 18-yard box for the penalty.

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