Mount Pleasant, Harbour View to begin road to JPL finalSaturday, September 18, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
After safely navigating the shortened 2020-2021 Jamaica Premier League regular season, Mount Pleasant FA and Harbour View FC will now get down to the real business, when they contest the first game of the quarter-final round at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the UWI, starting at noon today.
Mount Pleasant ended the regular season in third position on 18 points, edged out of second place by Cavalier FC on goal difference, while Harbour View squeezed into the play-offs in sixth place on 15 points, after Dunbeholden FC and Portmore United, who were in better positions ahead of match day 11, both lost their final games of the season.
The teams will begin the play-offs with a clean slate and lots of ambition and will be looking to get the early advantage ahead of the return leg next week Wednesday.
When the teams met earlier this season Harbour View came away with a 2-0 victory, courtesy of the league's leading scorer Oquassa Chong and Lennox Russell. Since then, Harbour View have had an uneven season, while Mount Pleasant have grown from strength to strength.
Ludlow Bernard will be happy with the way his team has responded to the late season pressure, winning their last two games to make the play-offs, after being on the fringes with three games to go. Those two games were both 1-0 wins, showing that they have the tenacity to grind out results. They will need to display that type of character against a Mount Pleasant team that has rounded into form over the last few match days.
While Chong has carried the goal-scoring responsibility for the “Stars of the East” so far this season, Bernard will be hoping that his other young strikers, Tyrese Williams and Ronaldo Robinson, will start assisting in that area at this critical point in the season.
Goals were at a premium for Mount Pleasant early in the season, but they have plundered eight goals in their last three games, much to the delight of Technical Director Wally Downes.
The Englishman has finally put his stamp on the team after taking over full responsibility in the third game of the season, and will be confident that his team can get the better of their opponents this time around.
Jourdain Fletcher, who had issues at the club before the start of the season, has returned to the fold and has found his goal-scoring form, netting three goals in three games, to end the regular season. A lot will rest on his shoulders, along with fellow striker Kesslon Hall, who has also found the back of the net three times so far this term.
Both coaches like to play an attacking brand of football which should make for an exciting game as they both go in search of a first-leg advantage.
Mount Pleasant will likely try to impose themselves on the game, while Harbour View with their young, quick wingers Williams and Robinson will be happy to play on the counter. The contrasting styles should set this game up nicely for the fans at home to watch.
Calling a result in this game is difficult, but any advantage going into the second leg for either team could prove vital to the outcome of the two-way tie.
Neither team will want to lose the game, but that will not stop either of them from going for the win this afternoon.