Sport

We have a lot of work to do, admits Portmore's Gardner

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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After a lacklustre first round where they gained only 12 points from 11 games in the Red Stripe Premier League, defending champions Portmore United FC got the second round going with maximum three points on Sunday.

The 1-0 away win at Tivoli Gardens saw the club move up a place to seventh, one spot outside the play-off positions.

Head Coach Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner singled out two players in particular who were instrumental in helping the team to hit the ground running in the second round. They are goalkeeper Kemar Foster came up with a brilliant save to deny Tivoli from the penalty spot and Rondee Smith, whose brilliant free kick proved to be the decisive moment in the game.

“It was a good save from Kemar Foster, I think he came up big for us and kept us in the game and us going up to the other end and converting our chance. It was a great finish by Rondee Smith and we have to keep clean sheets,” said Gardner.

A goal difference of minusfour at this stage tells the tale of the season so far for Portmore United and Gardner has identified the area of greatest concern that requires immediate fixing.

“We haven't been keeping many clean sheets from the start of the season and I am really happy for the players that they dug deep and really went on and see out the game and it was a victory in the end,” said the former Bolton Wanderers player.

Gardner insisted that the win on Sunday was crucial to the plans of the club in this second round, where they are looking to add as many points to the tally as possible.

“It's (Sunday's win) definitely important. The first round is already behind us (and) there is nothing we can do about it, but what we can do though is prepare ourselves and take each game as it comes and put as much points on the board as possible and that's what we are working towards,” he said.

Despite the win, it was a less than a polished performance by the back-to-back league champions, but efforts are being made to return to the standard of previous seasons.

“We are working hard in the week and we are getting there. We can see as we play each game that the team is taking its shape and we just have to continue to bring good performances into the game each weekend,” Gardner explained.

When asked about the points target for the second round, Gardner was coy in his response, but indicated that targets had been set and everything would be done to achieve them.

“We have short and long term goals, but we keep that in-house and continue to work on it. We just have to take each game as it comes and try to get as many points on the table in this round as possible,” noted the former Harbour View man.

Being outside the top-six is not where the club wants to be at the moment, but they are up for the challenge of retuning to a position where they can look to defend their title, the former Reggae Boy indicated.

“It is a challenge but it is a challenge that we are up for. we are very ambitious and we are working towards achieving those goals and I think it's still possible but we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

The size of the job at the moment is a huge one; as their 15 points place them all of 12 behind league leaders Waterhouse FC, who they beat in the final to claim the title at the end of last season.


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