Bernard pleased Harbour View advance to JPL play-offsThursday, September 16, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Harbour View FC were the last team to qualify for the play-offs of the Jamaica Premier League this season when they squeezed past Arnett Gardens FC 1-0 in the final game of a triple-header at The University of the West Indies (UWI)-Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at The UWI last Friday.
The win, coupled with a loss by champions Portmore United and Dunbeholden FC, which both played earlier in the day, meant that the “Stars of the East”, who started the day in eighth place, moved up to sixth spot on 15 points, the same as fifth-placed Vere United, who have a better goal difference.
It took Harbour View until the 70th minute to find the goal that would prove to be the game winner and, ultimately, the most important goal of their season so far. Their Head Coach Ludlow Bernard did admit that there was a little bit of concern on the sidelines as the game wore on.
“We had a bit of concern, but the last game we played I don't think we scored until the 75th minute. I think these players were willing to go the full distance, and I would have trusted them to really find something,” he said.
He praised the initiative demonstrated by his most experienced player, Lovel Palmer, whose blistering free kick won the game and propelled them into the top six.
“The moment when Lovel scored, it wasn't really his kick, but I saw him take charge of the situation and I didn't intervene. It wasn't his kick. Harding was the one who was practising and would have taken it, but he took the responsibility because he is the professional. He knows the pressure situation, he knows how to deal with it and he converted it,” Bernard said.
Harbour View boast one of the youngest teams in the premier league, and Bernard believes that they have been truly tested over the 10 games of the regular season.
“It is still a team that is a work in progress, because there have been many scenarios and situations throughout the season – pressure situations – and I think the mentality of these boys have been questioned throughout the time.
“There have been some unfortunate situations with us throughout the time but, at least, they showed quite a bit of resolve to bounce back.”
According to Bernard, the team would have fallen short of their projections after their draw with Portmore United match week six, but they will now focus on what is in front of them.
“We really wanted 21 points after playing Portmore United, but I guess they realise now that three points aren't ordained to you.
“I think we could have catapulted ourselves into a better position from earlier, but the mere fact that we would have achieved this status of being in the top six, I think it's very significant for them right now. There is a bigger picture which they have to attack which is the championship,” he noted.
Bernard insists that playing the final game on Friday was not an advantage for his team since there was only one thing that they needed to do to advance to the play-offs.
“I don't think it really mattered because there were already two teams that played before who would have wanted some kind of a result and any result would have favoured us. All we needed to do was win. Had we even played the first game we needed to win and that was the important thing,” said the veteran coach.
Based on how the teams finished the regular season, Harbour View are now set to face third-placed Mount Pleasant FA in one quarter-final matchup, while Tivoli Gardens will play Vere United in the other.