Portmore spoil Waterhouse Premier League homecoming
Portmore United Captain Emelio Rousseau (right) tackles Waterhouse FC's Shaqueil Bradford (left) as Lester Joseph looks on during the Jamaica Premier League football match at Drewsland Stadium on Sunday. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

After not playing a home game in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) since COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020, fans and players alike were in high anticipation when Waterhouse FC welcomed Portmore United to their Drewsland Mini-Stadium on Sunday in a mid-table clash of importance.

After a goalless first half, Jevick McFarlane gave Portmore the lead in the 69th minute when he headed home from a corner kick, but that advantage was wiped out late on when Shaqueil Bradford pounced to equalise two minutes from time with a tap in from a rebound from three yards out.

At the end of the day, the two teams had to settle for a point each as they played out a 1-1 stalemate in front of a near capacity crowd.

Waterhouse Head Coach Marcel Gayle thought that if his team had been more efficient in front of goal, they could have come away with all three points.

"In front of goal, we could have been a little bit more clinical, and I think that stopped us [from] taking three points, but kudos to Portmore, I thought they defended stoutly and forced us to go in the wide areas.

"If you are not clinical in front of goal, if you don't take your chances, you won't win the game," he noted.

Having seen his team struggle in terms of performance and in terms of goal scoring at the beginning of the campaign, Gayle is happy to see that his boys are now turning the corner in both areas.

"We want to improve on our performance each game and as long as we improve on each performance in each game, we can live with that."

He also had high praises for the impact his substitutes made in helping Waterhouse regain a foothold in the match after going behind midway the second half.

"I must applaud the bench. The changes off the bench was magnificent. The youngsters came on and put in a good shift and if we were a little bit lucky late in the game probably, we would have gotten all three points," he said.

Gayle was also heartened by the turnout of the fans on Sunday and is hopeful that they will keep coming in their numbers for the remainder of the season.

"When I looked in the stands, it was almost filled to capacity, so we are grateful for that, and we want to play good football and keep them coming out on a Sunday or a Monday night."

But while Gayle was upbeat about gaining a point from the game and the performance of his team, Portmore United Head Coach Phillip Williams was left cursing his luck after letting it slip so late in the contest.

"I am very much disappointed not being able to see out the game. One-nil is a slender lead, but in terms of how confident we are in our defensive unit, we should have and could have seen out the game to get all three points," he mused.

He spoke highly, however, of the way his players coped in a hostile Waterhouse environment.

"Three points would very much set us in terms of our movement up the table but to come into a hostile environment like this in terms of how the fans are into the game and come away with a point, I must take my hats off to the guys.

"Coming into an area like this, you know you have to take the crowd out of the game and the only way to do that is to stop the opponent from playing and control the game as much as possible when you have the ball and I think we did that for the entire game. It's just unfortunate the goal that we gave up. I think it was rather poor."

Waterhouse and Portmore remain in seventh and eighth place, on 17 and 16 points, respectively.

— Dwayne Richards

Dwayne Richards

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