Muir pushes H'View towards end-of-round final
Harbour View..........................1 Muir (54th) Arnett Gardens......................0
Ranique Muir's 54th-minute strike made the difference as Harbour View turned back rivals Arnett Gardens 1-0 in their crucial Red Stripe Premier League game at Harbour View mini-stadium on Sunday.
With both teams needing to win to have any hope of securing the second spot in the second end-of-round final, the young striker netted the game's only goal in a highly charged encounter to all but put the Vin Blaine-coached team into the incentive final.
Harbour View now have 20 points in the second round and are one point adrift of second-round leaders Cavalier, two ahead of Arnett Gardens and Montego Bay United, and three infront of Waterhouse and Portmore.
However, only Portmore remain with a chance of unseating the 'Stars-of-the-East', as they were down to face Boys' Town in their final game of the round last night.
Portmore will need to beat their opponents by four clear goals if they are to oust Harbour View from second place and secure a place in the final against Cavalier.
The game started at a brisk pace with the visitors looking slightly more purposeful and dangerous, and after 14 minutes they did have the ball in the net, but Elton Thompson was ruled offside.
Minutes later Jermaine Hue produced Harbour View's best effort of the half when he spun and unleashed a shot on the volley, but Damion Hyatt did well to parry for a corner.
Leon Strickland then came close for Arnett Gardens on 35 minutes, but his toe-poked effort from 30 yards just went wide of the upright.
A few moments later, Ricardo Oldham, curled a free kick from the edge of the box that Michaud Barrett had to push for a corner.
Nine minutes into the second-half Rohan Reid lost possession just outside the area, and when the ball was played back inside, Muir stole in and fired a rocket past Hyatt at his near-post.
The goal knocked the wind out of Arnett Gardens sails for a while, but after some substitutions, they regained the ascendancy, although Harbour View never gave in and were always a threat.
Arnett Gardens' best chance for an equaliser fell to Kemal Malcolm 12 minutes from time, but he could not redirect Marcelino Blackburn's cross on target.
Winning coach Blaine said they had some problems containing Arnett's attack in the first-half, but he thought they adjusted well in the second period.
"And we got a good goal from Ranique Muir and in these types of games, one goal is all you need," he said.
He's now confident they can snatch the last spot for the end-of-round final. "If they (Portmore) can beat Boys' Town four zero, they deserve to be in the final," he added.
A dejected Arnett Gardens' coach Calvin Lewis said they were unlucky to lose after having the better of their opponents.
"But the guys gave it their all, they really tried hard because they knew how important this game was to them, but it is just tough for us to take," he said.
Teams: Harbour View — Michaud Barrett, Kemar Lawrence, Montrose Phinn, Christopher Harvey, Jaron Richards, Richard Edwards (Joel Senior 67th), Evan Taylor, John Ross Edwards, Jermaine Hue, Donovan Edwards (Jeremie Lynch 55th), Ranique Muir (Kemeel Wolfe 87th)
Booked: Lynch (64th), Lawrence (37th)
Subs not used: N Beckett, C Waugh, R Campbell, D Haughton
Arnett Gardens — Damion Hyatt, Desmond Breakenridge, Anthowe Dawkins, Shawn Lawes, Lamar Nelson (Kemal Malcolm 72nd), Ricardo Oldham, Leon Strickland, Fabian Reid, Ricardo Smith, Rohan Reid (Marcelino Blackburn 63rd), Elton Thompson (Newton Sterling 56th)
Booked: Lawes (66th)
Subs not used: W Richards, A Phang, K D. Brown, J Johnson, J McLeish.
Referee: Kevin Morrison
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Reader, Damion Williams
Fourth Official: Karl Tyrell
Match Commissary: Maureen Chin