Reported by Sports Analyst Clyde Jureidini
Photo: The Jamaica Star
Harbour View FC lost to a motivated Arnett Gardens FC, who played at their home stadium at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex. With this win, Arnett Gardens retained the pinnacle position in the Jamaica Premier League on 52 points during a well-attended Monday Night Live TV game broadcasted globally. Harbour View FC remained in 4th position on 43 points and are now out of contention for 1 of the top 2 spots which guarantees a bye to the semifinals. The Harbour View FC Technical Team, led by Coach Bernard, before and after the game believe “This result may not have mattered much” considering results from games with other teams topping the league. Cavalier FC is now on 49 points after they defeates Molynes United 4-1 in the evening’s curtain-raiser.
Jamaica Premier League Round 2: Harbour View FC vs Arnett Gardens FC
Gate entrants flowed in, as anticipated, as the host club Arnett Gardens FC were quite rightly granted a switch of initial fixture schedule from Sunday to Monday night. This likely helped build the awareness and excitement around the remaining preliminary games, with the playoffs arriving in a couple weeks (May 15th). Many supporters of ‘the Junglists’ responded to the adverts and poured into the stands, highly motivated by their energetic team’s good performances all season. Arnett Gardens FC, under the management led by Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis, Assistant Coach Eric Rademakers, and former Reggae Boyz Defender Dicoy Williams, are a favourite to win the 2023 Premier League title.
At the onset of the penultimate game of this preliminary round, it was Arnett on the offensive. They had a high-pressing stature that seemed to unsettle the ‘Stars of the East’. Yellow cards were being flashed early by FIFA Referee Oshane Nation to Harbour View FC’s attacking pair of Cristojaye Daley and Jahshaun Anglin after failed attempts to win individual battles. An errant cross, deep in midfield, by Anglin resulted in an easy tap in for Arnett Gardens. Rushike Kelson intercepted his loose pass to set up forward Marlon Allen, who rounded the advancing Harbour View goalkeeper David Martin left stranded around the penalty spot. The score was 1-0 Arnett Gardens FC after just 18 minutes.
Not long after, another Harbour View error was created on the left as defender Odorland Harding chose to dribble out amongst 2 attackers. He turned over the ball and a quick counterattack inside the penalty area led to Kelson being gifted a shot at goal. GK Martin blocked from close range but young attacker Shai Smith was lurking in the area and placed his well-taken shot inside the far corner to open the lead to 2-0 in minute 29.
The listless display continued from Harbour View FC; not many constructive plays were coordinated as Arnett Gardens was clearly the superior team up to the break. Harbour View’s joint leading scorer Colorado Murray was substituted midway in the first half to be replaced by Demar Rose who showed signs of midfield authority. Phillon Lawrence exhibited enterprise when not being fouled regularly. His saved header from Oshane Staple’s cross was probably the best show of attacking energy from Harbour View FC all night.
Rojay Smith added life and possession in combination with Rose, so too did Garth Stewart with effort and industry. Timar Lewis’ movement and Casseam Priestley’s ball handling seemed positive but the game was long lost as Arnett Gardens FC sat deep defensively. This allowed Harbour View more possession in midfield areas but not able to threaten the goal. A lone, late shot by Arnett’s Rupert Guthrie at the top of the box was well-placed beyond the diving effort of goalkeeper Martin to bounce off the upright and made it 3-0 in time added on.
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The statistics at the end of the game showed Harbour View FC took 16 shots with 6 on target. Arnett Gardens FC may feel satisfied in continuing their winning head-to-head victories against Harbour View in the Premier League over recent years, but still rues being knocked out of last season’s quarterfinal playoffs by them on penalties. Harbour View FC eventually went on to become 5-time champions, and may yet meet Arnett Gardens FC again this season, when the win really matters. We look forward to the 2023 playoffs.