MBU rally to edge Harbour View

Montego Bay United 3 Williams (41st), Amponsah (50th), Richie (73rd pen) Harbour View 2 Green (25th), Vassell (28th)

Observer Writer

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

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CATHERINE HALL, St James — Montego Bay United (MBU) staged a gallant comeback from two goals down inside 30 minutes to beat Harbour View 3-2 in their Red Stripe Premier League second-round game, at Montego Bay Sports Complex on Sunday.

The win was MBU's fifth of the season and they jumped two places to ninth on the points table with 19 points, just two from a play-off spot, while Harbour View lost for the seventh time and dropped two spots to ninth place with 17 points.

It was an exciting game in most parts, with more goals than was expected between two teams that had combined for just 20 goals coming into the game — less than Arnett Gardens' 31 and Portmore United's 28, and just ahead of UWI FC's 18 goals scored.

It was the second time Harbour View were scoring more than one goal in a game, in their 16th outing this season having been shut out nine times, while Montego Bay United were scoring three goals in a game for only the second time this year, getting two goals only once.

Harbour View were flying after 28 minutes, up 2-0 with goals from Daniel Green and Montego Bay native and former Cornwall College star Peter-Lee Vassell in a three-minute span.

MBU roared back, however, to spoil Vassell's homecoming party and his first RSPL goal with goals from Dino Williams, Nicholas Amponsah and Ladale Richie.

MBU were also rebounding from a big loss at Arnett Gardens four days earlier, but Head Coach Roderick Underwood told the Jamaica Observer he never lost faith in the players.

“I have never, ever stopped believing in this group,” he said. “I believe in the players who we selected and some of the younger players got their chances tonight and matured, and I told them from half-time I hope this is the start of something special.”

Underwood, who was forced to make two changes after Johann Weatherly in the 32nd minute and Lesly St Fleur in the 58th minute both limped off holding their hamstrings, said they did not have to make any adjustments even when they trailed by two goals.

“After being two down we never had to do anything to adjust,” he said, explaining that both goals came from mistakes they made. “We just had to continue playing and the results would come.”

Ricardo Gardner, the Harbour View head coach who protested MBU's first goal during the game, continued even after the game. “The referee cost us the first goal. I think it was a blatant handball and that was the turning point,” he said. “We went in at half-time and discussed about keeping our cool but conceded in the first five minutes, and that put a little bit of pressure on us.”

Harbour View hit the same post twice in the span of a few minutes and Gardner said “it was unfortunate not to have scored, but we have to keep our heads up and keep fighting”.

The home team got off to the better start but Williams missed two good scoring chances inside the first 15 minutes, while Vassell had a shot in the 14th minute blocked by a defender on the goal line.

Minutes after Williams saw his shot blocked at the goal- post by Harbour View's goalkeeper Joel Johnson, Harbour View took the lead on a swift counter-attack.

Daniel Green was allowed space on the left side and dribbled to the edge of the 18-yard box before curling the ball high into the far corner of the goal.

They were 2-0 up three minutes later when Vassell, who had taken over the midfield, was left unmarked and his shot beat goalkeeper David Swaby at the near left post for his maiden goal at the Premier League level.

A minute after Swaby was forced to tip a savage free-kick from Evan Taylor for a corner, Williams pulled one back for MBU after he picked up a ball midway the Harbour View half, raced up the right wing, and beat Johnson to the far corner.

Keniel Kirlew just missed pulling his team level as, after controlling a corner kick just on the left of the 18-yard box, he blasted the ball high over the goal.

Centre back Amponsah, who is developing a reputation for scoring timely goals, got his third of the season — a header at the far post, just like this previous two, to pull MBU level.

The goal tipped the scales in favour of MBU, but Harbour View came within inches of scoring in the 60th and 62nd minutes but for the upright. Taylor hitting the bar with another savagely hit free kick and Green with a low hard shot from the right channel, respectively.

MBU completed the comeback when Richie blasted a penalty past Johnson after Kareem Manning handled a vicious, long-range shot from Nicholas Stewart.

Teams: Montego Bay United — David Swaby, Dwayne Ambusley, Ladale Richie, Nicholas Stewart, Nicholas Amponsah, Anthony Drummond, Keniel Kirlew, Lesly St Fleur (Jermaine Woozencroft 58th), Johann Weatherly (Anthony Marks 32nd), Donovan Carey, Dino Williams (Odane Nish 82nd)

Subs not used: Jacomeno Barrett, Winston Wilkinson, Javoy McLeod, Hietolah Gardner

Booked: Richie (46th), Marks (85th), Nish (90th+3)

Harbour View — Joel Johnson, Kemar Bennett, Ryan Wellington, Ajeanie Talbott, Kareem Manning, Dario Stewart, Hugh Evans (Andrew Allen 79th), Evan Taylor, Peter-Lee Vassell (Akeem Priestly 91st), Richard Anderson (Jelani Nicholson-92nd), Daniel Green

Subs not used: Christian Klunis, Nicholas Beckett, Christopher Harvey, Michael Lutas

Booked: Stewart (38th), Anderson (45+1), Manning (69th)

Referee: Daneon Parchment

Assistant referees: Nicholas Anderson, Ojay Duhaney

Fourth official: Sean Wright

Match commissary: Gavin McNeil

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