Coaches unimpressed as Dunbeholden, Mt Pleasant end 1-1
DUNBEHOLDEN had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Mount Pleasant in their first-leg Jamaica Premier League quarter-final match against Mount Pleasant at Sabina Park on Monday evening.
Substitute Leonardo Rankine gave Mount Pleasant a lifeline in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time after Stephen Barnett put Dunbeholden, last season’s runners-up, ahead in the 53rd.
Dunbeholden’s itinerary featured a Lynk Cup semi-final last Friday and then this game — and that exertion may have been why such a late goal came after a momentary lapse in defending.
Assistant Coach Craig Richards admits that tired legs may be affecting team performance but does not seem too worried, with second legs in both tournaments to come.
When asked if fatigue played a part in the equaliser Richards said, “It could’ve, honestly.
“Having played on Friday and then to come back less than 72 hours later to come and play, yes it would’ve taken a toll on us — given that the squad is not as deep as we would’ve liked — [so] then yes, naturally,” he said. “We’ll look into our squad and see how much we can rotate. And, based on our rotation, we’ll see where we go Friday and Monday.
“We don’t have a very deep squad but, nonetheless, we believe in our players and we’ll recover well. Tomorrow we’ll do some recovery work and prepare for Friday and come again.”
But Richards was pleased with the overall performance in spite of the final score.
“Today we defended well and attacked well,” he said. “We prepared for this game and knew what Mount Pleasant offered, and [we] didn’t give them much today. We allowed them to play on the flank and we stopped them from really creating chances against us. We did well today.
“It’s just unfortunate that we were not able to have converted much more. In the last minute of play we didn’t hold our composure and they equalised. But, nonetheless, it’s the first half [of the tie] and we have seen what they’re made of.”
While Richards is pleased, Mount Pleasant Head Coach Theodore Whitmore was underwhelmed by his team’s performance.
“I didn’t see a Mount Pleasant team who wanted it this afternoon,” he said. “We let the Dunbeholden team in and we had to fight back. Come the next leg we have to do things differently.”
Like Richards, Whitmore is now focused on recovery ahead of the second leg. He will have the advantage of a whole week off while Dunbeholden have to first concentrate on their second-leg Lynk Cup game against Cavalier on Friday.
The game had a cagey first half with few chances created in front of goal. It, however, came to life soon after the break, with Mount Pleasant having a shot from the edge of the area tipped over by Dunbeholden goalkeeper Damian Hyatt.
Dunbeholden went ahead in minute 53 when a cross from left winger Stephen Williams found Barnett unmarked at the backpost. Although he met the cross with a mishit shot goalkeeper Shaquan Davis, who should’ve done better to keep it out, was beaten at his far post.
Ricardo Morris came close to equalising for Mount Pleasant about four minutes later but his free kick was curled wide.
Dunbeholden almost doubled the lead in the 82nd minute but Peter McGregor watched his powerful shot clip the crossbar before going over.
Mount Pleasant, who had the luxury of bringing in attackers Atapharoy Bygrave, a former Dunbeholden striker, Devonte Campbell, and Jourdaine Fletcher off the bench, pressed and pressed but could not find the breakthrough until Rankine, much like Barnett, found himself unmarked at the backpost to fire in the equaliser after a ball was played across the face of goal.
Whitmore describes Dunbeholden as a “tricky opponent” and said Mount Pleasant will not focus on whether the fixture congestion may work in their favour.
The teams meet again next Monday.
In the late game of a double-header, champions Harbour View and Humble Lions were down to meet.