A brave and plucky attacking second half from Rivoli United brought them another valuable point in their new campaign of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) as they recovered from a goal down to draw 2-2 with Arnett Gardens in a thrilling late kick-off second round Monday night game at Stadium East.
The draw pushed Arnett Gardens up to second spot in the RSPL Points Standing to Reno on four points. Cavalier, who also have four points, are third, with Sporting Central sitting in fourth spot on three points.
Rivoli also moved up two places to be lying in fifth position on two points from as many matches, with Tivoli Gardens slotted in at sixth place, also on two points.
The game started off at a frantic pace and surprisingly it was Arnett Gardens who dictated terms and duly went ahead in minute 21, albeit from an own goal from Rivoli United defender Maurice Bennett, who beat his own keeper Shannon Bartley from in the box.
With a goal to the good, Arnett Gardens were encouraged but Marvin Morgan and company that included the debutant Steve Clark failed to add to the score and seven minutes on Rivoli equalised from the boot of Daniel Roberts.
Up to this point Arnett Gardens had not yet scored a goal of their own but the signs were ever present. Rivoli, who were always tenacious in their play, especially in defence, hung loose just for a few seconds after referee Courtney Campbell signalled one extra minute to be added before the half-time break, and Arnett Gardens pounced.
The 17-year-old Clarke found room on the right side and buried a low right-footer past Bartley to put Arnett Gardens back in front.
While there is no gainsaying the fact that the second half belonged to Rivoli, who dominated play and squeezed out an equaliser from the dangerous Cory Burke, in the same breath Arnett Gardens dominated the first half.
And according to Arnett Gardens coach Jerome Waite, had his team taken full advantage of the chances that fell their way in this period, "Rivoli would have been left with the option to just play out the rest of the game and settle for defeat. But it was a tough, physical game. Rivoli is a team that has that capacity to come and disrupt whatever well-laid plans you have with their strong play where the game is concerned and I thought it paid off for them."
To leave the park with a point and a number of positives was described by Rivoli's coach Calvert Fitzgerald as "encouraging".
"For me I thought it was a very good game where the teams played some attractive football. We played with good physical presence and a lot of heart. It was a very pleasing display as we had some three key players out of action and those who replaced them stepped up to the plate and did extremely well."
The veteran coach also thought his team could have performed much better in the final third.
"I would say the attacking third. Here I thought we could have created a couple more chances to score and made better use of those opportunities we created," Fitzgerald said.