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Saneekie Burton finding footing with Portmore United

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Friday, January 12, 2018

The highly anticipated clash in the second round of the Red Stripe Premier League between defending champions Arnett Gardens and last season's beaten finalists Portmore United brought out a legion of fans to the Spanish Town Prison Oval on Sunday.

Arnett Gardens were fiercely defending their 19-game unbeaten streak dating back to the start of the season, while Portmore were determined to get the better of their rivals who were fortunate to get away with a point when the two teams met at the same venue in the first round.

The game was expected to be close and exciting. It was exciting, but definitely not close. Portmore were out of the blocks like a bullet from a gun and never looked back as they inflicted one of the worst defeats on the “Junglists” in a very long time.

The 5-1 defeat of the Jerome Waite-coached team reverberated around the league as fans digested the news of the scoeline after the awesome display by Shavar Thomas' men.

One of the heroes of the game for Portmore was 20-year-old winger Saneekie Burton who scored the opening goal of the game before most of the patrons had taken their seats.

With barely more than a minute played, the former Jamaica College Manning Cup player found the back of the net, driving a shot across the face of goal and into the left corner of the goal, despite the best efforts of the Arnett Gardens captain Oneil Thompson to block the shot.

The early goal set up the contest nicely for the hosts who led 3-0 at half-time, although if both teams had taken their best chances created in the first 45 minutes, the scoreline probably would have read 5-2 in favour of Portmore.

While Waite would have hoped for an early second-half goal to pull his team back into the contest, it was not to be. Burton drove the proverbial nail into the Arnett coffin seven minutes after the restart as he showed great concentration to fire home his second of the game and his team's fourth overall to virtually hand Portmore all three points.

The two-goal man was expectedly pleased with his returns at the end of the game.

“I am really pleased with my performance because I have been working very hard this week for this game, so I am really pleased with my performance,” he said.

Burton also disclosed that his team had definitely come for the three points on the day.

“We came here to win today (Sunday), we desperately wanted these three points, we needed them,” he noted.

For Burton, the early goal was a good moment.

“I was very excited to score so early in the game, it was a good moment for me. I am very pleased.”

He conceded that he felt the second goal coming.

“I knew the second one was coming. The coach asked me if I wanted to come off (at half-time) because I was feeling some pain, but I told him I wasn't ready yet because I knew it was coming. That second goal makes me want even more,” Burton beamed.

Portmore coach Thomas is not at all surprised by the performance of his young winger.

“Saneekie is a player that we have noticed all throughout the season and he has been taking his chances and doing very well for us,” the coach noted.

Burton is only in his first season at the club but plans to be there for a while yet.

“This is my first season at Portmore and I want my career to grow here because I see football as a career for me, so I am working hard towards that,” the player explained.

The two goals on Sunday took his overall tally to three, but based on the composure shown in taking those two chances, one would not bet against the three-time Manning Cup and Olivier Shield champion finding the back of the net a few more times this term.

Burton won the Manning Cup and Olivier Shield under coach Miguel Coley in 2013, 2014 and 2015.