Sports

Hall strikes late to save day for Mount Pleasant FA

Mount Pleasant FA 1 Hall (86th) Tivoli Gardens FC 0

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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DRAX HALL, St Ann — Mount Pleasant Football Academy (FA) and coach Paul “Tegat” Davis scored their first win of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season on Sunday with a tense 1-0 result over the winless Tivoli Gardens at Drax Hall, and crawled from near the foot of the points table to the relative safety of mid-table.

Keslan Hall came off the bench in the 64th minute to score in the 86th minute after Francois Swaby had missed a penalty kick earlier, as the Mount Pleasant FA family breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Mount Pleasant FA are on four points from three games, well off the seven points they had at the same juncture last season, and the fans were restive until the goal sent them into jubilation.

It was a second-straight game where Tivoli Gardens allowed a late goal that led to a loss and they are rooted at the bottom of the table, yet to score a goal after three games.

Davis, who replaced Donovan Duckie after their team's opening day loss to Harbour View at home, was a pleased man, maybe relieved as well, as his team rebounded five minutes from what would have been a frustrating draw, to snatch victory.

“This is good,” Davis told members of the media after the game. “This is what we need to get the fans involved and happy, we have to start winning at home, the goal came late, but a win is a win.”

Davis praised the fans who turned out in their usual large numbers. “I loved the crowd support, once we get them behind us, the guys will rise to the occasion.”

He told the Jamaica Observer, however, that the team needed to “work some more on our fitness and concentration. We lapsed too much and gave them room but in terms of performance I liked that we attacked and took a lot of shots at goal”.

Tivoli's Coach Phillip Williams admitted he was “definitely disappointed”, but said his team “played well and I think we did enough to have gotten a positive result from this game (but) unfortunately we lapsed when it matters most and lost the game because of that”.

Williams, who claimed he still enjoyed the support of the club's management, added: “Overall, it was a decent game of football, both teams gave it their all and played some good football in patches and we take a lot of positives from this game.

“It's another loss, but we have been playing some good football and with some luck we think some of the results would go our way but we just continue to do the hard work and play football as how we train and results will soon go our way,” he said.

Giving up late goals in back-to-back games leading to losses was a concern. “At that stage to give up goals shows some concentration lapse and could have been caused by lack of fitness, and that is something we need to work on with the team. We need to find out what has been causing us to concede late in the games and work on it.”

He claimed there were good things despite the losses. “We have seen improvement over the three games,” he pointed out, adding that while some of his players had played in the RSPL previously, it was “a relatively new team and we need time to gel and time to start playing as a unit consistently, so we would not change much now but just to take the positives and learn from them and move on from there”.

It was a mostly frustrating afternoon for both sets of fans as the team created a number of chances but both goalkeepers — Joseph Vargas of Mount Pleasant and Davian Watkins of Tivoli Gardens played well and made some big saves.

Watkins got his fingers to the penalty kick, deflecting the ball on to the left upright and back into play and up to then would have been the hero if his team had held off Mount Pleasant FA and got even a point from the encounter.

Both teams played attacking football but were for the most parts wasteful, missing a number of good scoring chances that were created.

After central defender Barrington Pryce blocked a cross from the right side, Tivoli Gardens missed a wide-open chance at the other end when two players — Jermaine Johnson and Junior McGregor — looked on as the ball sailed across the front of the Mount Pleasant goal.

Suelae McCalla had the first real chance for the home team but the overlapping left full-back lifted a ball just over the crossbar from about 20 yards out on the left flank in the 18th minute.

Mount Pleasant took over the game and pinned Tivoli Gardens in their own area but Watkins blocked a shot in the 21st minute then easily handled a long-range shot from Kemar Beckford in the 30th minute, two minutes before Cardel Benbow's weak effort trickled past the right upright.

Vargas did well to save a chance in time added on in the first half, going to his right to palm the ball away from Jermaine Johnson, as Tivoli Gardens staged a late rally.

Mount Pleasant FA earned a penalty kick in the 57th minute after Latroy Laing was fouled inside the box, but Watkins got a glove to the shot, redirecting it on the upright and back into play.

Vargas was again in the right spot in the 63rd minute to block a powerful shot from point-blank range from Rochane Smith.

With time running out and the nerves of both teams on edge, it was Mount Pleasant FA who grabbed all three points when Hall, who had replaced Daniel Green, controlled a ball on the right side of the Tivoli Gardens defence and had time to turn and stroke the ball with his left boot into the near corner, just out of the reach of Watkins.

A minute later Vargas had to dig out a free kick low to his right to preserve his team's slender lead, and Mount Pleasant should have doubled the lead in time added, but Hall and Benbow hesitated at a wide open goal from just inside the 18 yard box.

Teams: Mount Pleasant FA — Joseph Vargas, Suelae McCalla, Ladale Richie, Ricardo Campbell, Latroy Laing, Alwayne Harvey, Jameil Hardware (Evan Taylor 74th), Daniel Green (Keslan Hall 64th), Kemar Beckford, Francois Swaby (Johann Weatherly 75th), Cardel Benbow

Subs not used: David Swaby, Kevin Graham, Shaquille Notice, Rohan Sewell

Booked: McCalla (43rd), Hardware (45th+2), Harvey (68th)

Tivoli Gardens — Davian Watkins, Kemar Flemmings, Barrington Pryce, Jabeur Johnson, Nathaniel Leslie, Rochane Smith, Dasha Satchwell, Davion Garrison, Junior McGregor (Rodico Wellington 90th), Trayvone Reid (Rushane Spence 87th), Jermaine Johnson (Stephen Barnett 75th)

Subs not used: Nicholas Clarke, Tkiven Garnett, Ranike Anderson, Dwayne Smith

Booked: Flemmings (73rd), Johnson (74th)

Referee: Doyen Tummings

Assistant referees: Jermaine Yee-Singh, Rolonzo Bennett

Fourth official: Alexi Perry

Match commissary: Garfield McDonald


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