ON a cool Monday night and in a charged atmosphere of fun and frolic, leaders Harbour View and fifth-placed Waterhouse battled to an exciting 0-0 draw in a top-billed Red Stripe Premier League game at the Harbour View Mini-stadium.
Though there were no goals, both teams lit up the Monday Night football extravaganza with a fast-paced, high-intensity match that proved a crowd pleaser.
Both coaches were largely satisfied with the delivery of their teams, but still not everything went according to plan.
Harbour View coach Vin Blaine rued the early forced substitutions of three key players who he believed negatively influenced the final outcome.
"I think we did pretty well, but the loss of (Jermaine) Hue, (Eric) Vernan and (Jermie) Lynch didn't do us any good as those were forced changes of key players, so it affected our game plan," he said.
"In the first half we had them on the go as we were knocking around the ball pretty well, but I think they (Waterhouse) defended very well... we also had some chances to score, but in the end I thought it was a pretty even game and I believe the result was fair," said Blaine, the technical co-ordinator of the national women's programme.
Meanwhile, Waterhouse boss Donovan Duckie said not losing the game kept a short-term goal alive.
"We didn't want to lose the game as we want to make the end-of-round final as one of our short-term goals... also we want to consolidate our position in the league," he told the Jamaica Observer at game's end.
Duckie, a former national youth and a much-travelled Premier League coach, said though his team lacked the killer instinct in the final third, the performance was one worthy of commendation.
"I thought we played well... in terms of transition, I thought we were good and that caused them (Harbour View) not to hurt us... From defence to offence I thought we were explosive, but the difference is that we were not clinical, because if we were, it would have been different," declared Duckie.
The result keeps Harbour View on top of the overall standings with 39 points, five more that closet rival, defending champion Portmore United. The point earned on Monday keeps the 'Stars-of-East' in midpack of round two with 14 points after nine matches.
Waterhouse, for their part, are on 31 points in fifth place on the overall grid, but remain very much in the round two race with 16 points and third.
On Monday, Harbour View appeared more organised going forward with a fluency masterminded in the main by Hue, Lynch, Vernan, Nicholas Beckett, Ranique Muir and Kemeel Wolfe.
They came close to breaking the deadlock as early as the 11th minute, but the bombardment lacked teeth in the final delivery.
In the 27th minute, the slender and towering Lynch had a chance when he burst down the right side, but his 20-yard shot trimmed grass on its wayward track.
With 38 minutes on the clock, Harbour View looked certain of breaking down a stubborn Waterhouse defence. With a searching pass from the belly of midfield, Beckett found Donovan Edwards sneaking into the 18-yard box, but the latter's firm diving header lacked deception and Richard McCallum gleefully handled.
Waterhouse responded a minute later through team elder Weston Forrest, whose swerving and dipping shot from just
outside initially troubled goalie Michaud Barrett.
The charismatic, Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson, soared to the spotlight with a clever swivel, but the resulting shot crashed into the horizontal to bring the half to a close.
In a haze of swift, fanned out attacks, the crowd was kept hooked, but still they hungered for goals.
In a promising move in the 54th minute, Ranique Muir's lunging help-on from eight yards went straight to McCallum.
Anderson, the league's leading scorer, had a couple of forays forward but it was not to be his night as his efforts throughout have gone either high or wide.
Harbour View — Michaud Barrett, Eric Vernan (Romario Campbell 45th), Christopher Harvey, Kemar Lawrence, Montrose Phinn, Jermaine Hue (Jaron Richards 17th), John-Ross Edwards, Nicholas Beckett, Kemeel Wolfe, Donovan Edwards and Jermie Lynch (Ranique Muir 45th).
Subs not used: D Haughton, R Dean, C Waugh, K Brissett
Booked: Beckett (82nd), Edwards (30th)
Waterhouse — Richard McCallum, Rohan Amos, Nicholi Finlayson, Jameel Thompson, Hughan Gray, Troy Reid, Jason Watson, Weston Forrest (Damion Powell 89th), Hugh Howell, Andre Clennon (Juvaune Benjamin 81st) and Jermaine Anderson.
Subs not used: Silvera, Brown, M Ricketts, V Thompson, R Edite, P Keys
Booked: Gray (4th), Amos (10th)