Harwood double vaults H'View into final
HARBOUR View turned back a spirited Sporting Central Academy (SCA), 2-1, at the Compound on Monday night and booked their spot in the Red Stripe Premier League's first End-of-Round Final set for November 12.
The hosts, with their seventh win from 10 matches, have regained top spot with 22 points, one ahead of Boys' Town, with Portmore United in third with 19.
Both Boys' Town and Portmore will meet next week and only one has the chance of surpassing Harbour View, who are scheduled to play Arnett Gardens.
Vinimore Blaine, head coach of Harbour View, said the momentum shift in the game gave his team victory with two well-taken goals from set pieces.
"My objective coming into the season was to reach the End-of-Round Final and we have met our objective, so we have to go and win...," said Blaine.
SCA came out full of running and were quicker to the ball while pushing Harbour View on the backfoot for most of the first half. It was no surprise when Francois Swaby gave them a deserved 34th-minute lead heading into the break.
Swaby, Keith Kelly, Dwayne Campbell, Camaal Reid, Levaughn Williams, Linval Lewis and Ackeem Annakie never allowed Harbour View time and space on the ball.
However, Blaine rallied his troops and they responded well by notching two second-half goals for a good win. Damion Harwood headed both goals ion the 58th and 84th minutes, one from a free kick and the other from a Jermaine Hue corner.
"We scored two goals from set plays and that's a part of the game. Sixty per cent of goals scored are from set plays and if we can win all our games from set plays, I am proud of that," said Blaine.
He added: "In the first half we didn't have any rhythm at all as we came up against a young Sporting Central team that was running and we were just chasing the game a bit. At half-time I told them we just have to settle and play ball. It was nothing tactical, really."
Sporting, with their fourth loss of the season, remain in fifth spot on 16 points and saw their hopes of sneaking into the final dashed.
"We are disappointed because that was one of our goals and not being there in the final, we are disappointed, but there are positives that we can take from the game," said head coach Nigel Stewart.
He was clearly disappointed after a promising start to the game, probably hampered by two forced substitutions to Kavin Bascom and Swaby through injuries in the 22nd and 71st minutes, respectively.
"We were having a good run and he (Swaby) was the one who got the goal for us," Stewart told the Jamaica Observer.
"I didn't think we played that badly. We had a very good first half and got a couple of chances and took one. In the second half we came out a little bit flat," he added.