Relegation-threatened Vere United put in an inspired performance in front of their new coach, Andrew Isaacs, against Arnett Gardens to come away with a crucial point following a 1-1 draw in their Red Stripe Premier League encounter at the Wembley Centre of Excellence in Hayes, Clarendon, yesterday afternoon.
The point was still not enough to lift the Clarendon-based team off the bottom of the standings as they still lay in 12th place on 13 points from 16 matches. The point for Arnett Gardens kept them in third position on 26 points – also from 16 games.
Having found the going tough in the competition to date, Vere installed former player-turned-coach Isaacs at the helm, and the new face on the bench seemed to have inspired the Vere team, who kept perennial contenders Arnett Gardens at bay for most of the game.
The first half saw very few chances going to both teams as a defensive duel ensued.
The team talk inside the Vere locker room seemed to have lifted the Clarendonians, who came out in an all-out attack on the Arnett Gardens defence.
On minute 59, Xahne Reid latched on to a poor clearance from a corner kick inside the Arnett Gardens penalty area; however, his stabbing effort was well saved by former Kingston College goalkeeper Chadeem Rodriques.
The onslaught continued from the Vere team, and it was the brilliance of Rodriques that kept Vere from going in front.
Arnett would, however, make the home team pay for not taking their chances as they would take the lead in the 72nd minute. Kemal Malcolm out-sprinted his marker on the left side and whipped in a low cross for Vishinul Harris to stab home from close range.
Isaacs then brought on substitute Devroy Grey, who almost instantaneously made an impact.
It was his darting run down the left flank that created the equaliser for Vere in the 88th minute as the ever-persistent Romaine Plummer latched on to a partial clearance from the ensuing cross to give Vere a share of the points.
For Isaacs, the draw was inspiring for the struggling team.
“I am happy for a point in my first game for the team,” he said. “I thought we dominated this Arnett Gardens team, but this result is positive, and if we can improve on this performance, it will do wonders for this team.”
Arnett Gardens assistant coach Irvino English is satisfied with the performance of his team.
“I think it was a fair performance from my team,” he said. “We came here to get three points, but credit to Vere. They kept us on the back foot for a while, but a point away from home is always welcome.”
Yesterday’s RSPL scores:
Dunbeholden 0-1 Tivoli Gardens
Molynes Utd 0-2 Portmore
UWI 1-1 Harbour View
Vere 1-1 Arnett Gardens
Tonight’s RSPL fixture
Cavalier vs Humble Lion – 8:35pm.