Photo: Tivoli Gardens striker Junior Flemmings goes by flat footed Arnett Gardens defender Jameel Thompson in the Red Stripe Premier League on Monday night. Flemmings scored the dramatic stoppage time winner as Tivoli Gardens came from behind to stun the Junglists 3-2.
A scintillating performance from former schoolboy standout Junior Flemmings piloted Tivoli Gardens to a magnificent come from behind 3-2 win over hosts Arnett Gardens in the Red Stripe Premier League on Monday night as the former champions surged into the top four of the RSPL on the back of three consecutive wins.
On a night when the competition sponsors rolled out their new campaign – What’s good? – Tivoli Gardens and Flemmings especially, showed exactly what’s good, as Arnett Gardens struggled to cope with the pace of the youngster.
The visitors made their intentions clear from as early as the second minute when Miguel Ricketts had a snap shot at the near post forcing Peter Harrison to pull off a smart save. The Christopher Bender coached team surprisingly had almost total control of the game as Arnett failed to cope with the runs of Flemmings down the right side and Jermaine ‘Teddy’ Johnson down the left.
On one of his mazy runs down the flank, Flemmings got by his man before flashing a shot past the right upright drawing large applause from the stands.
Moments later however, the visitors were counting their lucky stars as a scooped effort from Arnett Gardens midfielder, Andrew Phang, bounced off the crossbar and back into play. It was as close as either team had come to breaking the deadlock.
Johnson was allowed to run with the ball through the midfield for 20 yards before unleashing a fierce effort but his shot went straight to Harrison who held on safely.
But in the 32nd minute Ranike Anderson put Tivoli ahead when he out jumped Oniel Thompson and headed past the advancing Harrison into an unguarded net, following a free kick floated into the box. It was no less that Tivoli Gardens deserved.
Tivoli continued the hunt for goals and Flemmings came close after he cut in from the left and dribbled across goal before firing off the left foot abut Harrison saved.
Harrison was again on hand to save from a near post header from Rohan Reid from a corner kick before he again denied the lanky midfielder whose shot he spilled before it was scrambled away by his defence.
Then on the stroke of half time, the home team surprisingly drew level. Kemal Malcolm had an effort from inside the box blocked but Phang reacted quickest to slot home to make it 1-1 at the interval.
Three minutes into the second half the home team could have shot in front, save for the width of the post. Michaelos Martin watched in agony as his header rebounded off the post and back into play and was left holding his head as the visitors escaped falling behind.
Tivoli went on the offensive again and Harrison did well to tip over a Flemmings shot before the home team grabbed the lead against the run of play. Vishinul Harris weaved his way past three players but failed to shoot. Malcolm was on hand to grab the loose ball and fire home in the 67th minute.
Undaunted by falling behind, the visitors showed steely resolve and continued running at the Arnett defence. Flemmings was again denied, the post proving to be better at stopping him than the Arnett defenders.
The Arnett resistance was finally broken in the 87th minute when substitute Otis Ffriend forced home the rebound after a free kick from Flemmings hit the post yet again.
Two all with three minutes to go and it appeared that the game was heading for a draw. Cue man of the moment Flemmings.
Showing good pace late in the game, Flemmings went on another of his trade mark runs across the face of goal before firing a left footed shot into the corner of the net to make it 3-2 in the final minute of stoppage time. It was no less than the man of the match deserved as Tivoli deservedly snatched all three points.
“We started out really well, created a lot of opportunities , could have gone four, five goals in the first half, it didn’t happen (and) they came just at the death in the first half (and) got a goal…I was very disappointed how we conceded the goal,” explained Bender.
“We started out well in the second half, we could have scored again, we had the better of the play. Even when they scored, they scored against the run of play.
“They made a defensive change in terms of bringing in a central midfielder for an attacking player, I in turn made the change in terms of bringing in two attacking players and it worked for me,” Bender enlightened.
“Tivoli came here, they really fought well, they looked the team in need of the three points and in the end they executed well,” said an honest Jerome Waite.
“The concentration of the defensive unit, the goalkeeper didn’t turn up like he really wanted to represent today and also the midfield wasn’t consistent but in the end give Tivoli credit, they have done well,” he surmised.
Tivoli has now moved on to 11 points and up into third place squeezing Arnett down in to fifth as they remain on ten points from seven games played.