Mount Pleasant going for the jugular against Harbour ViewWednesday, September 22, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
MOUNT Pleasant Football Academy are no doubt the form team in the Jamaica Premier League.
Their 5-2 demolition of Dunbeholden to guarantee play-off football was followed by a 3-1 whipping of Harbour View Football Club in the first leg of their quarter-finals last Saturday.
Their eight goals in two games in fact equal the number of goals they scored in their previous nine games.
The message from Technical Director Wally Downes is that his team is now on the front foot, a position he plans to remain in when they face Harbour View in the return leg today.
According to Downes, he has no intention of trying to protect the two-goal lead.
“We won't be protecting it. We will just come out as we always do, looking to win the game.”
That may not be such good news for Harbour View who have scored just one goal in each of their last three games and must now score two goals just to draw level in the tie.
Teenager Devonte Campbell has made a huge impact in his last two appearances for the club, even scoring his first Premier League goal when he got the first in their 3-1 win last Saturday. He has added a different dimension to the Mount Pleasant attack, which has coincided with their improvement in front of goal.
Kevaughn Isaacs was immense in midfield, breaking up plays and starting attacks, while the link-up play of Alwayne Harvey with the attackers allowed Mount Pleasant to have their way for just about the last 60 minutes of the game.
Their joint-leading scorers, Kesslon Hall and Jourdain Fletcher, were both on the scoresheet on Saturday and will be looking to add to their four goals and steer their team into the semi-finals.
When quizzed about the quick turnaround time between both quarter-final games, Downes insisted that they had enough time in-between games to recover.
“Footballers, when they are playing and they are winning, they want to keep playing — and we are looking forward to the next two games and hopefully the streak can keep going. We approach every game separately and Wednesday will be plenty of time for us to recover and prepare.”
But while the odds are in favour of Mount Pleasant advancing to the semi-finals, Harbour View will be giving it as much as they have got, according to Assistant Coach Sean Fraser.
“We got a goal, which is good, and we are going to get back. We definitely can do it. This is Harbour View…we are a championship team,” he promised.
The late goal from Tyrese Williams deep into added time has given Harbour View a lifeline and something to build on during their preparations for this key game.
Their leading scorer Oquassa Chong, who also leads the Premier League, was a non-factor in the first leg as he was kept in the wide areas by the Mount Pleasant defence and failed to impact the game. He will need to find a way to goal today if his team is to make a dramatic comeback.
Harbour View are filled with quick, dynamic, young players — which Fraser is banking on to regain a foothold in the tie.
“We have a young team who are very energetic and we are going to work on it, so we will be back.”
Cristojaye Daley was very lively for Harbour View and was unlucky to not get on the scoresheet, denied twice by Akel Clarke in the Mount Pleasant goal. He will need more support from his fellow midfielders.
Regular Captain Ajeanie Talbott has moved on to Europe and Gerald Neil left the game with a dislocated shoulder, which deepens the problems in defence for Harbour View. That is a big gap that they will have to fix today.
But the “Stars of the East” will be clinging to the hope provided by that late goal on Saturday as they try their best to overturn the deficit and advance to the semi-finals.
“It's very important, because now you're down 3-1. You can score two goals, a two-goal lead is always very dangerous, but a three-goal lead is like a mountain to climb. For us it is a good lifeline and we are positive,” he said.
This will be the feature game at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence and is slated to start at 3:30 pm, provided the first game between Tivoli Gardens Football Club and Vere United Football Club is decided inside 90 minutes.
Waterhouse Football Club, who finished at the top of the table at the end of the regular season, are patiently awaiting the winner of this quarter-final tie.