Reported by Sports Analyst Clyde Jureidini
With 3 critical rounds of games remaining in the Jamaica Premier League preliminary round, game #166 pitted the ‘Stars Of The East’ to challenge Montego Bay United at the Catherine Hall Stadium. This featured game was preceded by Faulkland FC losing to Arnett Gardens FC by 2-0 in a western double header affair across the island. The 1st game’s result confirmed the relegation of the 2nd western Jamaica-based club, Faulkland FC. Harbour View FC has had far too many experiences in the 2nd city to know that when you go to Montego Bay the aim is to keep the crowd out the game, always be professional, and be in control of your own destiny. The usual fair-sized crowd trekked in to watch the attractive afternoon matches.
Jamaica Premier League Round 2: Harbour View FC vs Montego Bay United
It was the speedy Montego Bay United striker Allan Ottey who exploded first, into the left side of the penalty area. Strangely he then chose to pass diagonally instead of shooting, probably because it was not on his preferred right foot. Harbour View FC escaped that near chance by Odorland Harding expelling the ball from the area.Harbour View FC’s 1st appearance into the opponent’s area was created by inter-passing from Colorado Murray and Oshane Staple. Murray overlapped and put his shot on goal which was well-handled by goalkeeper Davonnie Burton. Midfielder Rojay Smith may have felt he was the better option with a pull back, as he looked wide open beckoning at the 6-yard line.
Ottey never needed a 2nd invitation to shoot when moments later he popped up to the right, outside the box, to shot directly on goal. An alert defender muzzled his effort and the deflection fell kindly for Goalkeeper Romario Palma to catch comfortably. Critojaye Daley was busy trying to bore holes in a stubborn Montego Bay United defensive organization. They were not falling for his tricks; he coordinated with Smith, Staple, Jahshaun Anglin, and Casseam Priestley to dictate the slow pace of the game, much to the displeasure of the home team patrons.
As the midfield battle progressed to command the game, Priestley made a timely interception that deflected quickly up field to Montego Bay’s Captain and central defender Nevaughn Turner. The ball was stuck under his boots while trying to control, allowing the nifty Colorado Murray to steal it and march goalward from 24 yards. Clear and alone, he lifted his head to see his target and best space available as goalkeeper Burton chose his defensive position to save. Burton crouched low to cover his left, Murray went right inside the post to score. Harbour View now leading 1-0 after 15 minutes, a lead much needed. The early strike and silenced crowd seemed to be working perfectly to the Harbour View FC strategic game plan. Daley continued his busy plays, with Smith, Anglin and Priestley determining the direction.
As the halftime approached Harbour View FC centre-half Shamari Dyer kept close tabs on Ottey around the halfline, leading to the defender charging into the attacker’s back. What seemed like a harmless tackle at first resulted in an unnecessary reaction as Ottey retaliated, so too did Dyer, and Ottey once more for Dyer to ‘act out’ by dropping to the ground much to heckles from the patrons who found it comical. FIFA Referee Oshane Nation probably had to keep a straight face while correctly issuing yellow cards to both players. When it was assumed that the drama had ended, many were surprised to see Referee Nation go to his dreaded back pocket moments later to show a red card to Ottey to dismiss him to the changing room, seemingly for something he may have said after the Referee had acted. Montego Bay United was reduced to 10 players at halftime.
The second half was much less eventful as Harbour View FC seemed determined to run down the clock. The 10 men of Montego Bay United looked braver in the second stanza and did venture forward on a few occasions. Piercing dribbles through the midfield zones by Courtney Allen got the home crowd in a cheering mode but not many threats came goalkeeper Palma’s way. No change in the scoreline was recorded after Murray’s early goal. Harbour View dominated with 56% ball-possession advantage, with 7 attempts on goal demanding 3 saves from goalkeeper Burton. Harbour View FC Head Coach Ludlow Bernard remarked in his post-game interview on Sportsmax TV with Dwight Jeremiah that “We appeared timid to attack more”.
This game concluded with an unusual occurrence of defeating of 2 newly-assigned Brazilian Coaches, Clovis De Oliviera on Wednesday with the Chapelton Maroons FC in the Lynk Cup then Neider Dos Santos at Montego Bay United. Both were urgently summoned in mid-season in effort to improve early-season team performances by replacing Lenworth Hyde and Donovan Duckie respectively. It will be interesting to see if either or both stay on to assist with long-term player development locally; it would be good.
Harbour View FC moved to 3rd place with 43 points and 2 preliminary games left against Arnett Gardens FC and Vere United.