‘Stars of the East’ survive Humble Lion’s pounce to make JPL semis
Harbour View players celebrate scoring a goal against Portmore United during the Lynk Cup football match at Stadium East on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

HARBOUR View FC Head Coach Ludlow Bernard is relieved to have guided his team into the semi-finals of the Jamaica Premier League but was not pleased with the performance on Monday evening.

The "Stars of the East" endured a nervy second-leg quarter-final against Andrew Price's Humble Lions who won 3-2 on the day but lost 3-4 on aggregate.

Bernard described their second-leg performance as indisciplined.

"We always sometimes try to serve up these things for the spectators which, for the neutrals, it's good but for us as coaches, I thought there was some element of indiscipline in our defence at the time," Bernard said after the game.

PRICE...I think we played well and this is the first time we have actually beaten Harbour View all season in a game, but I think we just left it a bit short (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

"We had people around there that would have been making it difficult but I think it was just too easy for Humble Lions to penetrate us as they did."

Bernard's intention going into the game, with a 2-0 lead from the first leg, was to not only ensure his team did not concede but also to get a goal, thus making their task more manageable. This was also to ensure they did not have to introduce Colorado Murray as a substitute unnecessarily, as he is just returning from injury. Things did not go according to plan.

The first half was an even and open one although Harbour View put more of their shots on target.

They should've taken the lead early on but Cristojaye Daley shook off a Humble Lions defender and found himself one on one with goalkeeper Prince-Daniel Smith, but shot straight at him.

BERNARD...I think it was just too easy for Humble Lion to penetrate us as they did (Photo: Observer file)

He made up for that in the 10th minute when he latched onto an Odorland Harding pass across the face of the goal. Unmarked, he made no mistake this time, tapping in to put Harbour View up 1-0 and 3-0 on aggregate.

But Humble Lions refused to give up. Mark Rodney turned his corner kick into a short pass for Dasha Satchwell who whipped in a cross that was met with a powerful leap and header by Andre Clennon, to equalise in the second minute of first-half stoppage time. That took the score to 1-1 and 3-1 on aggregate.

Roshane Sharpe was introduced from the bench at the start of the second half, and it proved to be the right decision for Price.

After receiving a pass down the left side from Ricko Edwards, Sharpe brought the ball on his inside and curled a shot to the far post with his right foot to put Humble Lions up 2-1 on the night, although they now trailed 3-2 on aggregate.

Price was made to look like a wizard again in minute 66 as Andrew Vanzie collected the ball in the middle of the park and played it down the left to Javon Smith, who was also substituted in with Sharpe. Javon drove with the ball, again down the right side of Harbour View's defence, and his run created panic among the Harbour View defenders. Seeing goalkeeper Anthony Bennett rush off his line, Javon decided to try a shot from an acute angle and it paid off. That took the score to 3-1 on the night for Humble Lions, 3-3 on aggregate.

"We had it all to go for," Price said in his post-game interview.

"Whenever we saw that people were tiring we decided to make changes, and the changes came on and they were very effective."

Bernard says he was unconcerned with the scoreline at this point, especially as he describes his team as being "great at set pieces all season".

The stalemate lasted only 12 minutes as a corner by Daley was met with a powerful header by Harbour View Captain Ryan Wellington who made the score 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

Humble Lions' hill became too steep to climb when Satchwell received his second yellow card and was dismissed in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time for mouthing off to Referee Steffan Dewar.

"When athletes are out there and the pressure is on, especially in the dying moments when you just need a win, sometimes psychologically you just lose it," Price said. "I think we played well; and this is the first time we have actually beaten Harbour View all season in a game but I think we just left it a bit short."

Price says he does not view the season as a disappointment as he sees development across his squad, which comprises many young players.

Harbour View now face 2021 champions Cavalier who received a bye from their preliminary round finish.

Rachid Parchment

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