Monday afternoon saw a top of the table clash between group A’s Tivoli Gardens who were hosting Wolmer’s. Having gone through the recent renovation, the Tivoli gardens high school grounds, particularly the field presented a picturesque scene. The venue displayed a contrast to the surrounding concrete jungles of West Kingston, with a lush green pitch complemented by a neat and tidy dugout area, painted in the beautiful bright orange and black colours of the school. This footballing garden really set the stage for football’s bees and butterflies as supporters mainly from the school’s student population, community, and to a lesser extent Wolmer’s, filled the grounds, drooling in eagerness for football nectar. Unfortunately, though, the match overall failed to live up to expectations having ended in a goalless draw that had minimal spark and entertainment.

The hosts were very energetic in the early minutes of the game, dominating possession and pressing the Wolmer’s Warriors to aggravation. The Warriors responded quickly to ease off the early pressure and fought for the ball in midfield. At around the 15th minute, they were clearly settling in their game and took over in terms of possessing the ball, much like a victim of bullying who had had enough. By then it was safe to say that Tivoli was hastier in their approach, and their opponents more composed and more technically sound with the ball at their feet.

The contest lacked rhythm and flow for the most part because as soon as either team would start an attacking buildup the opponents were quick to break it up. Close marking and tackling gave little room to dexterity and flair so the defenders made attackers look useless and very small. The one moment that the fans broke into cheers in the first half was when Tivoli’s Kasheem Downer glued the ball to his feet and began to dance through the Wolmer’s defense, but just as he was about to make his way into the 18 yard box he was met by a rough tackle which sent his legs flapping like a bird’s wings in the air and broke his fall dramatically. This won Tivoli a free kick which was taken by Ian Coombs. The dangerous shot beat goalkeeper Taja Griffiths but denied by the upright woodwork. That was basically the last play of the first half.

The second half began with Wolmer’s attacking with more aggression and cohesiveness. This approach resulted in a chance from a square across the face of Tivoli’s goal which was met by a poorly aimed header from Xavier Vandale that flew into the side netting.

Midway into the second segment of the encounter, both teams went at each other’s throats. It became so tense you could almost reach out your hand and break the tension. It was quite evident that neither team wanted a draw. As Tivoli dug deep into their arsenal, Kasheem Downer took a staggering shot which elicited a huge roar for goal from the crowd but his spectacular effort forced an equally magisterial save out of Griffiths. Both shot and save combined to ignite a crowd that was rather dead, and the patrons’ faces now reflected eager anticipation for more excitement. With the exception of Tivoli’s Tyriek Fowler’s neat flick of the ball over his counterpart’s head which sent the crowd into a frenzy, nothing significant occurred thereafter.

The stalemate would have been otherwise if both teams handled their attacking and shooting opportunities more preciously. This goalless draw means Wolmer’s still lead group A with a superior goal difference even though they are on similar points (10) with Tivoli. Tivoli was more poised in overall attack even though most shots did not threaten the goals. Some even made the goalkeepers at times look as if they were spectators and star-gazers. Most of them were tame and so the goalkeepers made light work of them. Wolmer’s took 13 shots; 4 on target. Tivoli took 15 with 6 going on target. Wolmer’s also made 2 blocks. This goalless draw means that with 10 points apiece, Wolmer’s and Tivoli both have the most points in the group, but Wolmer’s still hold the top spot with a superior goal difference. Wolmer’s next host Innswood, who sit at the bottom of the group with no points so far. While Tivoli will travel to Haile Selassie, who is third with 6 points and have a game in hand. Both games will be played this coming Saturday.


Alex Bent
Article by Alex Bent