Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
UPSET by calls deemed unfair, Tivoli Gardens' head coach, Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey, and members of his team launched a verbal assault against match officials in Monday night's second Jamaica Yellow Pages/Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Jackie Bell KO semi-final football match against Arnett Gardens at Edward Seaga Sport Complex.
Bailey and four players were ejected in a fairly clean and well-contested game.
The verbal assault against referee Kevin Thomas grew to involve spectators and overshadowed Arnett's 3-2 win in the match broadcast live by Red Stripe, under its new Premier League Monday Night Football promotion to the United States and the Caribbean.
Arnett, who will now tackle Trench Town neighbours Boys' Town in the final, were led to victory courtesy of a quick first-half double from Newton Sterling in 19th and 21st minutes. Rohan Reid scored Arnett's third in the 66th minute.
Romeo Parkes and Navion Boyd scored the goals for Tivoli.
But all the excitement on the field provided by the goals paled in comparison to the ugly confrontations in and around it.
Bailey's tirade against the officials - which contained some very colourful language - began at half-time and went on for nearly five minutes, while his team had already left the pitch for the changing room.
"Mi tired of it now, mi nuh business," Bailey started out, "... but oonu need to stop (bad calls), oonu need to give my team a chance."
Bailey continued his assault and continued using foul language to the match officials when he and his team returned for the second half.
Thomas then ejected Bailey, which led to an approximate delay of seven minutes when the coach refused to leave the technical area.
Of the four players ejected, three were from Tivoli Gardens - Raymond Williamson (54th), following a second bookable offence, Christopher Jackson (77th) and Ranike Anderson (90th), who got straight red cards.
Jackson hit Arnett Gardens' Reid in his stomach with the ball while protesting a call after the latter had been fouled, while Anderson was red-carded for verbal abuse.
Several other Tivoli Gardens players could have suffered a similar fate after openly challenging decisions face-to-face with referee Thomas.
Tivoli's assistant coach, Alvin Shaw, says the red cards were not justified, and noted its contribution to their frustration.
"Frustration probably caused some of the reaction that you saw because it has been plaguing us all season and nothing has been done about it," said Shaw.
"I didn't think they (red cards) were justified and this is something that has been plaguing us all season. I'm really not surprised because the officiating has been very poor to us all season," he pointed out.
"It was a tough defeat for us," he added. "But as we all saw that officiating was very poor and it is one to be desired, and I think it destroyed our game."
Arnett's Fabian Reid was the first player sent to the showers by Thomas, hit with a straight red in the 51st minute, after striking Tivoli's Anderson. At that time, Tivoli had rallied to tie the scores at 2-2.
The expulsion of the Tivoli players did not go down well with their teammates and supporters, who insulted the match officials and prevented them from leaving the field after the game.
Police formed a ring around the officials after the game, as they stood in the middle of the pitch for nearly 20 minutes, waiting for the angry backlash to subside.
But the supporters held their ground, settling themselves on the other side of the fence like forces lined up ahead of an impending battle.
Fighting for order
There were also skirmishes between the home team spectators, with some begging and literally fighting for order, as others hurl plastic bottles and stones at the officials at the end of the game.
"A weh unnu a do, unnu want dem fi ban wi field," pleaded one of several men busy shoving back some persons who appeared agitated by the decision making of the officials.
The Gleaner also saw persons throwing stones at the Arnett Gardens team bus, for which passage out of the venue was cleared by the police.
Sterling stunned the home crowd with a rasping 30-yard left-footed shot, which rocketed past custodian Edsel Scott and into the back of the net. The lanky striker doubled the lead when he cleverly pulled away from two Tivoli defenders inside the area to head home a free kick from live wire Jonathan Williams.
Tivoli, for the most part, lacked fluidity in putting together their attacks, but forward Parkes reduced the deficit in the 37th minute, tapping home a goalmouth rebound after a Navion Boyd shot was palmed by goalkeeper Damion Hyatt into his path. Arnett led 2-1 at half-time.
Tivoli dominated the early exchanges of the second half and were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 56th minute when they were awarded a penalty, this after Shawn McKoy was fouled inside the box by William Richards. Boyd fired home the spot kick to make it 2-2.
Reid restored the visitors' lead 10 minutes later, when he collected a pass out of midfield from Leon Strickland and then proceeded to hit a beautiful, low, curling shot, which beat Scott's outstretched hands.
Lijyasu Simms, assistant coach of Arnett, had expected a tough match.
"I knew that it was going to be a tough game because an Arnett Gardens and Tivoli (Gardens) game was never going to be easy. But we fought to the end and so we were able to come out victorious," said Simms.