Downes hails solid team performance as Mount Pleasant advance to last fourFriday, September 24, 2021
Mount Pleasant Football Academy booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Jamaica Premier League, for the second time in their brief history, when they drew 1-1 with Harbour View FC in their return-leg quarter-final on Wednesday.
They advanced 4-2 on aggregate after winning the first leg 3-1 last Saturday.
Their leading scorer Jourdain Fletcher came off the bench to grab a second-half equaliser after Harbour View had taken a 1-0 lead after only four minutes in the game to reduce the deficit to one goal.
The aggregate win means they will take on Waterhouse FC on Saturday, a task that Technical Director Wally Downes promised his team will be ready for.
“It obviously means a lot to the club to win this game and now we look forward to the next game. It's a two-legged affair and the best team will win. They finished higher up than us in the league but I am quite confident that we will go out and give it our best against them,” Downes said.
He refused to be drawn into discussion about what it would mean for his team to qualify for Concacaf club football by advancing to the final, saying his focus is not down the road, but on the task at hand.
“We have a semi-final in front of us, two hard-fought semi-finals, Saturday and Wednesday, so to look any further than that would be presumptuous. I like our boys just to focus on the task in front of them and that task in front of them is the first leg of the semi-final.”
He admitted that the return leg had gone exactly opposite to what he had hoped for but that he was happy with the overall performance of his team, nonetheless.
“In the situation you're in you're hoping that you can quell their spirit to start with. They are a very spirited side. They got the better of us for the first 25 minutes last week and I was determined for us not to do that again in this game, but…the goal was exactly what we didn't want to do. The ball was played into midfield, people charged us down, [we] turned the ball over near our goal and they capitalised on it.
“Even though they scored that goal I was reasonably comfortable with our performance in the first half. I thought we were the better side in the first half, but we gave that goal away. We didn't panic after the goal, we were solid.”
Downes believes that since he has been given full control of the team after match week two, things have started to go the way he envisioned, especially at the attacking end of the field.
“We have hit the ground running the last five or six weeks. It was about getting to know one another and getting a formula into the team and everybody being on-board with how we wanted to play. Once we did that and we had the defence and the midfield sorted out, I didn't think it would be a great problem pushing that forward to the strikers because we were creating lots of chances and getting to the final third but letting ourselves down.
“In the last four or five games, the change of personnel has given us a new lease on life up front. So, everything has come together at the right time,” he said.
Mount Pleasant lost 0-2 to Waterhouse in their regular season meeting, but will be looking to Fletcher, who has scored five goals in the last five games, to help power them into their first final ever.
— Dwayne Richards