Harbour View’s new recruit Michael Lutas repaid his coach Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner’s faith in him when he scored the all-important goal in his team’s 1-0 win against the University of the West Indies FC (UWI) at the UWI Mona Bowl yesterday.
The young striker latched onto a left-sided cross and fired home from close range, propelling Harbour View to their second-consecutive win and consolidation of fourth spot with 13 points.
UWI, who were losing their second game of the season, remain in second spot on 14 points.
The Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner-coached Harbour View came out flying from the opening whistle and were all over UWI. When the goal came, it was no surprise.
A neat build-up started from the back and when Andrew Allen’s cross was missed by Daniel Green, Lutas was on hand to side-foot home from close range.
The “Stars of the East”, led by Captain Kemar Bennett pulling the strings in midfield alongside the imposing Sheldon McKoy, the skilful Allen, and overlapping wingbacks Kereen Manning and Damarley Oliver, had UWI on the ropes and never relented.
Lutas, who is a rookie in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), scored in the 14th minute. It was the former Bull Bay United player’s first goal, in his second start.
The slim-built attacker was naturally elated to score the winning goal that pushed his team to 13 points in the 12-team league. He picked up an injury and was substituted during the second half.
“I feel great. I feel great. I have been putting in the hard work in training. The coach keep on asking me to find it, and I did that,” the 23-year-old former Donald Quarrie Manning Cup player told The Gleaner.
“This is my first goal and I am looking forward to more opportunities to score goals and help the team win the league. I am a midfielder, but Coach asked me to play forward today, and it paid off,” he added.
Harbour View have been unbeaten in the last four games, with two wins and two drawn games, with a youthful aggregation.
“I will use players who have passion for the game. The age of a player does not matter,” said Gardner, who replaced Ludlow Bernard as head coach.
It was a dominant display from the Harbour View team, which pushed back the under-strength UWI team and scored the early goal.
Coach of UWI, Marcel ‘Fuzzy’ Gayle, said he had only four reserve players because of “bank commitment by some players”.
Winning Coach Gardner was pleased with the win as Harbour View seem to have found their stride in the league.
“We got an early goal and coming in the last 15 minutes we soaked up the pressure from UWI — and unfortunately we didn’t catch them on the counter and get a second goal. But it was a good performance again, keeping another clean sheet,” said Gardner.
The usually proficient UWI never showed up for battle and lost for the second time in three games.
Head Coach Marcel Gayle was clearly disappointed.
“Congrats to Harbour View; I thought they just did what it takes to win the game. We were slow out of the blocks and took too long to settle down,” noted Gayle.
“It was a game of two halves.but we should have been a little bit more potent in front of goal, so we just have to come again,” he added.
The Call Up
When quizzed about how he made the move to the Stars of the East, Lutas said it came as a result of a call from Gardner.
Gardner revealed that he saw Lutas on the sands at Bull Bay Beach and invited him to trial at Harbour View.
“I was at Bull Bay Beach doing some personal training on the sands and saw him (Lutas) working out. I saw this youngster just doing some running on the sands, but I did not say anything to him that day,” he said.
“Then I went there another day and saw him again, so I took a number, and called and invited him for trial. I was impressed with him, and he was selected in the squad,” the former Reggae Boyz World Cup player and captain added.
UWI— Nickolas King, Rochane Smith, Taniel McKenzie, Deno Schaffe (Daniel Gilzene 46th), Ryan Miller, Oshane Jenkins (Jerondy Henry 74th), Stephen Barnett, Dravian Williams, Fabian McCarthy, Girvon Brown (Anthony Greenland 10th), Kemoy Atkinson.
Subs not used: Taffarell Crosdale.
Booked: Taniel McKenzie 11th, Deno Schaffe 33rd.
Harbour View— Joel Johnson, Ryan Wellington, Ajeanie Talbott, Kereen Manning, Damarley Oliver, Hugh Evans, Sheldon McKoy, Andrew Allen (Evan Taylor 81st), Daniel Green (Thorn Simpson 72nd), Kemar Bennett, Michael Lutas (Peter Lee Vassell 69th).
Subs not used: Christian Kluvi, Jaleel Chamberlain, Christopher Harvey, Rosario Harriott.
Booked: Kereen Manning 73rd, Joel Johnson 90th
- Referee: Kevin Morrison
- Assistant referees: Jassett Kerr, Kemar Bailey
- Fourth official: Neressa Goldson
- Match commissary: Elaine Walker-Brown
Sources: The Jamaica Gleaner & The Jamaica Observer