New champions to be crowned in Jamaica Premier League as Portmore eliminatedSaturday, September 11, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
The Jamaica Premier League will crown new champions for the 2020/2021 season after Waterhouse FC dumped defending champions Portmore United from the competition yesterday.
A 1-0 win for Waterhouse was enough to send the champions packing as their final tally of 13 points left them in eighth place at the end of the day.
The match, which was the first in a triple header at the The University of the West Indies-Jamaica Football Federation Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence saw Portmore United begin the game needing a win to make the play-offs, and they were all over their opponents from the first whistle but failed to create any real goalscoring opportunities.
Waterhouse, who had lost to Portmore in the last two finals of the competition, were willing to allow their opponents possession of the ball and play on the counter-attack, but failed to trouble Kemar Foster in the Portmore goal in the first half.
A different Waterhouse reported for the second half as they took the game to the champions and were rewarded for their efforts when Shaquille Bradford produced an exquisite finish, after getting in behind the over committed Portmore defence to chip Foster in the 61st minute.
Portmore threw everything they had at Waterhouse after that, but two brilliant saves from Zemioy Nash late in the game ensured that the team from Drewsland kept a clean sheet to secure a spot in the semi-finals, while condemning their nemesis to an early end to their season.
Mount Pleasant Football Academy became the third team to secure play-off football when they hammered Dunbeholden FC 5-2 in the second game to go to 18 points, one behind league leaders Waterhouse FC.
Two goals from Jourdaine Fletcher helped seal the win for the Wally Downes-coached team.
Dunbeholden got off to the perfect start when they took the lead through Mark Miller in the 13th minute, but Mount Pleasant responded two minutes later. A thunderous free-kick from distance from Alwayne Harvey crashed against the crossbar and ricocheted off goalkeeper William Benjamin and into the goal for 1-1 in the 15th minute.
Dunbeholden restored their advantage in the 21st minute when Atapharoy Bygrave slotted home calmly from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.
But just as they did when they went behind the first time, Mount Pleasant had a quick response, this time through another beautiful long-range strike from Kevaughn Isaacs in the 26th minute.
They then went ahead for the first time in the contest when Jourdaine Fletcher scored to make it 3-2 in the 35th minute.
Dunbeholden shot themselves in the foot in the second half when a mix-up between Captain Shaquille Dyer and substitute goalkeeper Damion Hyatt allowed Kesslon Hall to stroke the ball into an empty net to make it 4-2 to Mount Pleasant in the 62nd minute.
Fletcher then rounded out a good performance for himself and his team when he blasted home from just inside the area to make it 5-2 in the 75th minute.
The result left Dunbeholden hoping against hope that they would still advance to the play-offs, providing Arnett Gardens could do them a favour in the final game of the day.
After spurning a few early chances, Harbour View could count themselves lucky not to go into the half-time break trailing after Arnett Gardens saw three efforts in succession cleared off the line by a defender in a matter of seconds.
Harbour View began the second half desperate for a goal, but failed to create anything of meaning on offence.
With the minutes ticking away and Arnett Gardens continuing to produce an honest effort, it appeared that the chances of qualification for Harbour View were slipping away until an inspired substitution from Coach Ludlow Bernard became the key moment in the game.
Veteran Lovel Palmer was brought into the game in the 64th minute and he found the go-ahead goal from a free-kick six minutes later, blasting the ball through the wall and into the net from the edge of the area. Arnett Gardens goalkeeper Amal Knight was left grasping at air as the ball flashed past him.
Harbour View goalkeeper Tafari Chambers was called upon a few times late in the game, but was able to keep a clean sheet as the team that began the day in eighth place squeezed into the sixth spot on 15 points and extended their season as they now await the start of the quarter-final round.
There are two matches left to play to end the regular season, which will determine the final placings of the other teams in the top six.
Tivoli Gardens will face Molynes United at midday today before Vere United and Cavalier FC play the final game of match day 11 starting at 2:30 pm.