An 87th minute strike from substitute Junior McGregor earned Tivoli Gardens their first win of the new Red Stripe Premier League season when they clipped Harbour View 1-0 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday night. Still without a home as their field is under rehabilitation, Tivoli Gardens had to use the field of their near nieghbours and fierce rivals Arnett Gardens, an unthinkable feat years ago and it would prove to be their lucky charm.
With the game seemingly heading for a dour draw, McGregor stepped up to curl a beautifully flighted free kick from 23 yards, over the top of the wall and into the top right corner of the net before removing his jersey and running the length of the field to celebrate with fans.
Before that dramatic strike, the game had failed to live up to its billing as it was marked with misplaced passes from defenders and midfielders and poor shooting by both sets of strikers, leaving both goalkeepers very little to do.
The visitors could have taken the lead from as early as the fourth minute when Tivoli central defender Romaine Brakenridge headed the ball directly to Peter-Lee Vassell which created a counter-attack opportunity for Harbour View but the Stars of the East failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
It wasn’t just the Tivoli defence making errors as Christopher Harvey headed the ball into the middle of the park and the resulting goal bound shot from Shavar Campbell had to be tipped around the right post by Davin Watkins for a corner kick.
Harbour View came close to breaking the deadlock close to half time when Vassell provided an inviting pass to Daniel Green but the striker’s full blooded effort was well saved by Watkins.
Christopher Harvey then headed a corner kick in the wrong direction from almost on the goal line which certainly would have given the visitors the lead right on the stroke of half time.
The second half was a complete snooze-fest with very little action in the attacking ends, until McGregor became the hero of the night to lift his team up three places to eighth in the standings.
"Cudos to Junior McGregor who has taken a good freekick and scored, that is his range. I believe we played tonight with more purpose, the level of comradre is getting better in the team, the level of unity is getting better and what you saw tonight was a collective defendive effort. We blocked one side of the pitch and forced them to one side and asked them to go long. They dont like to play the long ball and it was a plus for us this evening," said a satisfied Omar Edwards.
Ricardo Gardner thought his team was below par on the night and that Tivoli earned the win
"We didnt put in a performance to go out there and win the game. We didn't get out the blocks, we were slow and remained slow throughout the course (of the game), especially in the first half. We came back out (in the second half) and started slow as well. Our speed of play and speed of thought were too slow and I think that is where Tivoli got the best of us and I think they deserved all three points," was Gardner's honest response.
Harbour View remains in 5th place on five points after suffering their first loss of the season.