Sport

Harrison leading from between the sticks

...Cavalier goalkeeper hails teammates for guts, commitment

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Monday, February 05, 2018



According to his coach Rudolph Speid, goalkeeper Peter Harrison is not yet back at his best, but the Cavalier SC shot -stopper was in splendid form last Thursday.

He produced a couple of magnificent saves to help earn his team a deserved point in their Red Stripe Premier League game against Montego Bay United, at Stadium East Field.

Cavalier played 65 minutes of the game with only 10 players after Davontae Francis was sent off for a rash challenge, but rarely in the game did they look to be conceding against the former champions.

In fact, they remained on the front foot for the 20 minutes of the first half that they played with a man short, and ruled that particular period.

It was only late in the game that the one-man advantage started to tell, but that was quickly countered with smart coaching by Speid who brought on the pair of Chevonne Marsh and Alex Marshall, who nearly helped them earn all three points.

Undoubtedly, there were moments in the game that the Cavalier defence was tested and Harrison was “Johnny on the spot” when called upon. First he tipped over a Nicholas Stewart header that was destined for the top right-hand corner, then he produced a blinder of a save to deny Nicholas Amponsah after the midfielder had controlled nicely on his chest before firing a thunderbolt on target.

The modest custodian did not make a fuss over his personal contribution to earning his team a point at the end of the game.

“That is what I am there to do,” he said simply. “Anytime the team falls short I am there to help them out. Going down to ten men early in the game really pushed us back, but we ended up getting a nil-all draw. That is a positive sign for the team.”

Harrison was able to pull off the second save, which was his best effort of the match, because of his experience between the sticks.

“To be honest, I saw the ball from it was being crossed and that it was beating the defender, so I knew that I was gonna be called upon — so I was in the right spot at the right moment,” he explained.

The 28-year-old admitted that the team has grown significantly since the start of the season.

“We are far better now than early in the season. Earlier in the season we were making a lot of simple mistakes, but right now the guys are more mature and can handle themselves right about now,” he stated.

Like a number of his teammates, the former Arnett Gardens keeper feels that Cavalier are true title contenders.

“The team can achieve great things this season. Our mind is on the title, which we believe we are going to win.it's just for us to put in the work and we will get there. I believe we can go all the way this season and years to come because it is a fairly young team,” Harrison insisted.

Winning a title such as the Red Stripe Premier League is never easy to do, but the goaltender knows just what it will take to achieve such a feat.

“Discipline, discipline... we are inexperienced. most of these guys just leave Manning Cup and daCosta Cup, so the key is discipline,” Harrison reasoned.

The player also had high praises for his teammates Marsh and Marshall, who arrived in the island from Europe just about 12 hours before kick-off.

“Coming off a flight and coming to play... to me they are players that always give their all. It's not easy to come off a plane and come right here to play,” said the goalie.

Harrison's defenders also came in for some amount of praise as well.

“We kept a clean sheet, so that tells the full story about the performance of the defenders tonight — a clean sheet is the key.”

Speid was also thankful for the performance of the team after going down to 10 men.

“When we realised that we were down, we had to change our tactics. The guys really stood up. I think our team is slowly becoming a unit that can fight to the end,” he said.

The Cavalier coach was thankful to have his number one goalkeeper back in the starting line-up.

“He was always our number one keeper. He was away so he took a little while to get back into his own, but we couldn't have asked for anything better than him. He is not back to his best as yet, but he is our number one and he showed it tonight,” noted Speid.

Cavalier have 39 points and currently sit in third place in the league, two points and a place ahead of Tivoli Gardens, who have a game in hand against defending champions Arnett Gardens.

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