Photo: Marverley/Hughenden goalkeeper George Brown gets ready to clear the ball for his team in their Red Stripe Premier League match against Reno FC on Sunday. Brown produced a Man-of-the Match performance is his team's 1-0 win to keep their hopes of staying in the RSPL alive.
Marverley/Hughenden FC took a massive three points in their quest to save themselves from returning to second tier football in Jamaica with a narrow 1-0 victory over Reno FC in their rescheduled Red Stripe Premier League game at the Constant Spring Field on Sunday.
A 77th minute peach of a strike from substitute Phillip Peddie was enough to seal the win for Marverley who had to withstand a barrage of early first half pressure and late second half pressure from the visitors with goalkeeper George Brown making two fantastic saves from Reno's talisman Craig Foster and youngster Demar James in the first half.
A sloppy pitch that was battered heavily by a heavy downpour earlier in the afternoon, set the tone for a game of uncertainties. Reno who hails from the western end of the island where it rains almost everyday relished this condition and certainly started the brighter of the two teams and moved the ball around really well in the first twenty minutes.
Their good passing and high pressing was nearly rewarded when a lovely move was started by Afiba Chambers, with ball moving to Jashane Foster, Renorio Downswell and finally Craig Foster whose twinkle toes left a few Marverly players chasing his shadows before he unleashed a thunderbolt that almost severed Brown's hands as he parried the ball to safety. Foster held his head in his hands as he looked towards the cloudy sky wondering how on earth did Brown save that.
However, from the resulting corner kick a minute later James's towering header brought out an even better save from the former Waterhouse keeper, much to the delight of the packed Constant Spring Complex.
Marverley's first sight of goal came on the half hour mark when Rodrico Wellington was brought down on the edge the box but Andrew White's free kick went high wide and handsome. Late in the second half a quick throw in by Ricardo Thomas released the speedy Nicholas Scott who charged down the flank and whipped in a teasing cross that Wellington controlled expertly, showed a brilliant bit of skill to outfox his marker but just before he pulled the trigger he lost his footing in the slippery conditions. His desperate appeal for penalty was waved away by referee Oshane Nation.
Marverley started to come into the game but Reno comfortably dealt with their sporadic threats. The half ended with Marverley on a high after counting their lucky stars for still being in the game.
Coach Byjean Thomas made a bold move to replace Scott with Phillip Peddie midway the second half and the substitute had an immediate impact as he collected a Thomas lay-off but his shot from the edge of the area lacked power and Dennis Taylor gathered comfortably.
He was then desperately unlucky not to add to his tally for the season when the ball fell to him more than 20 yards out and his shot took a deflection and bounced off the post.
At this stage it was all Marverley who desperately needed three points. They started to push higher up the field, with a few fresh legs to run at the Reno defence. This seemed to work as planned when Shawn Lawes made a clumpy challenge on Thomas on the edge of the box. Peddie confidently spotted the ball, took five steps back, took a deep breath, placed his hands on his hips like the gun slinger Billy the Kid from the Wild Wild West, then ran up and hit the ball ferociously through the only space left vacant in the wall. The hapless goalkeeper was rooted to the ground as he watched the ball ping off the upright and kiss the back of the net. The fans went wild in a celebration that lasted a little over a minute.
Reno piled forward in search of an equaliser and Marverley had to withstand quite a bit of pressure in the final five minutes. Brown could have easily been named man of the match after denying Craig Foster a second time, this time from four yards out with a point blank save after he collected a pass from Chambers.
Marverley defended frantically towards the end to earn three valuable points. The win eased Marverley above Jamalco on 31 points and 1 point behind 10th place Boys Town.
On the other hand, the loss for Reno meant they have to win their other two games handsomely and hope 6th place Arnett Gardens loses heavily in their remaining fixture to qualify for the last six. The league continues on Wednesday with a full slate of matches.