Portmore United 3 Foster (35th), Pryce (42nd), Binns (69th) Arnett Gardens FC 1 Strickland (39th)
Portmore United beat Arnett Gardens FC 3-1 at Prison Oval yesterday to record their third win in five outings in the Red Stripe Premier League.
Maalique Foster opened the scoring for Portmore in the 35th minute, but Leon Strickland levelled for Arnett in the 39th minute.
Cleon Pryce (42nd minute) and a brilliant Michael Binns (69th minute) free kick secured the three points for the hosts.
Victory pushed Portmore, last season’s losing finalists, to fourth with 37 points. Arnett, who have endured a troubled season so far, stay sixth with 28 points.
Yesterday, Arnett Gardens had an early opening but Kemal Malcolm’s header was acrobatically saved by Portmore goalkeeper Shaven-Sean Paul.
At the other end, Portmore signalled their intent when Tramaine Stewart’s free kick had to be parried away by Arnett’s ‘keeper Damian Hyatt.
Moments later Stewart sparked the move that saw Portmore take the lead.
The small attacker spread a pass wide to the impressive Pryce who crossed for Foster to bundle home past Hyatt.
Four minutes later Arnett scored a scrappy equaliser of their own when Strickland was first to a rebound after ‘keeper Paul saved well in a goalmouth melee.
However, excitement reached fever pitch just before the half-time interval as an incisive attack saw Portmore retake the lead.
Ricardo Morris fed a pass to overlapping left-back Kareem Manning, who fizzed a cross over to Pryce, who miscued his volley but was elated to see the ball bouncing in the far corner of the goal beyond Hyatt.
The game lost its lustre in the second half as action dwindled until Binns went on the field in the 67th minute.
Binns, who had just entered to replace Morris, made his first kick of the game count with telling effect.
Invoking memories of the sensational left-footer he scored from open play in last season’s final, Binns strode forward to rocket a shot high into the net to the right of the diving Hyatt.
The goal knocked the stuffing from the visitors and Portmore were able to hold the two-goal advantage with little fuss.
Not even the red card handed to their defender Damono Solomon late in the game threatened to deny them the win.
Portmore — Shaven-Sean Paul, Damono Solomon, Andre Dyce, Kareem Manning, Henrico Ricketts, Ewan Grandison, Ricardo Morris (Michael Binns 67th), Maalique Foster (Cardel Benbow 77th), Tramaine Stewart, Cleon Pryce, Jovan East (Jermie Lynch 82nd).
Subs not used: Eric Edwards, Ryan Wellington, Suelae McCalla
Booked: Manning (44th), Dyce (54th), Foster (62nd), Solomon (ejected – 90+2)
Arnett Gardens — Damian Hyatt, Ranike Anderson, Dicoy Williams, Jabeur Johnson, Dasha Satchwell (Tamar Edwards 75th), Marvin Morgan, Jason Moore (Bebeto McDonald 74th), Fabian Reid, Kemal Malcolm, Oniel Anderson, Leon Strickland (Kimani Arbouine 74th)
Subs not used: Carlloyd Walters, Jamar Martin, Steve Clarke, Jarmar Jackson
Booked: Satchwell (16th), Anderson (68th), Malcolm (90+1)
Referee: Cardella Samuels
Assistant referees: Princess Brown, Stacy-Ann Greyson
Fourth official: Doyen Tummings
Match commissary: Dudley Powell