Former champions Harbour View have had a less-than-impressive start to the 2018-19 Red Stripe Premier League and have been stuck in the relegation zone for much of the 15 match days.

Their performance against defending champions and leaders Portmore United on Sunday, however, told a different tale from what their league position suggests.

The “Stars of the East” battled bravely, and a better scoring ratio to chance created may have seen them leave with all three points instead of one which would have taken them out of the cellar for the first time in a lengthy spell.

Harbour View have drawn four out of their last five games and have slowly closed the game on the teams just above them, as they are now separated from 10th-place Reno FC by goal difference only. Both teams have 13 points from 15 games played, but while Reno have a goal difference of minus 9, Harbour View’s situation is even worse at minus 12.

The former daCosta Cup winner believes the right elements are coming out in training, and are starting to show on match days.

“I guess the guys are putting in some nice work in training and [they] come out match day and do the same thing. It’s just hard work and dedication and maintain the discipline,” said Vassell.

Currently the standing does not make for good reading for his team but the national representative is very optimistic about the rest of the season, stressing that things will be okay come the business end.

“Harbour View will make it into the top six,” he insisted.

Ricardo Gardner has continued to look on the positive side of things and continues to show faith in his troops.

“We just have to continue to work in front of the goal and continue to push these players that we have confidence in. We just have to work a little bit harder and keep pushing ourselves,” he opined.

For the coach, his team’s current problem is easily defined.

“We have to learn to stick the ball in the back of the net. When you create so many chances in a game and not score, this is the result that we get.”

Gardner, who was pleased with some aspects of the team’s performance, is looking to build on what he saw on Sunday.

“It’s still good to get one point from the game. There are a lot of positives to take away from today’s game — we put the ball down and we moved it a little quicker, especially in the second half,” said Gardner.

While the performances have been better on the pitch, it is now time for Harbour View to start getting some wins if they are to achieve the main objective of making the play-offs, instead of battling relegation.

Both Harbour View and Portmore United were guilty of misses in an entertaining game at Spanish Town Prison Oval, but the most glaring of all was the one by striker Shemar Nairne late in the game that certainly would have sealed all points for the visitors.

Despite not winning the game and also remaining in 11th place in the 12-team league, attacking midfielder Peter Lee Vassell insists that his team will be able to climb out of their current predicament and make it into the top six by the end of the regular season.

Vassell was the one who earned a point for his team, replying to a strike from Portmore’s Chavany Willis just eight minutes after his team had gone behind. The goal appeared to be a bit fortuitous though the player himself admitted as much.

“It was just a cross and I so happened to get a goal from it,” he said when questioned about whether or not it was a deliberate attempt at goal.

Source: The Jamaica Observer