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Reigning champions Mount Pleasant Football Academy reclaimed their regular position in the top two on the Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League standing, following a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Harbour View at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday.

Devonte Campbell (25th) and Shaqueil Bradford (35th) got the goals for Mount Pleasant, after Demar Rose gave Harbour View an early second-minute lead in the encounter that started at a decent pace, but lost tempo in the second half.

The win, which extended Mount Pleasant’s unbeaten run across seven games, pushed the St Ann-based team up to 39 points, one behind leaders Cavalier, on 40 points.

Tivoli Gardens (37 points), Portmore United (36 points), Arnett Gardens (34 points) and Waterhouse FC (26 points), occupy the other playoff positions. Harbour View are ninth on 19 points.

Winning coach Theodore Whitmore was pleased with his team’s recovery after conceding early.

“It was a high intensity game which is what we expected, but the problem is how we started the first half, and secondly, we played in the middle, instead of going out wide where we needed to play because that is where we are dangerous. After we sorted that, we got back into the game and got the job done,” Whitmore said in a post-game interview.

“After conceding, we didn’t panic, we maintained our focus and used the width of the pitch and that is where we were successful. So, it was a good win, but we want to take it game-by-game and just do what we have to do,” he added.

It was a frantic start to the contest, as Harbour View grabbed the early ascendancy, when Demar Rose lashed a right-footer past Mount Pleasant’s goalkeeper Shaquan Davis from deep inside the 18-yard box, after Jashaun Anglin neatly chested the ball down into his path.

The ‘Stars of the East’ continued to enjoy the better of possession and should have doubled the lead in the 11th Okeemo Jones broke down the right channel with Rose for company in a two-on-one situation. However, he was hesitant in getting the pass off and was later dispossessed by a recovering defender.

That missed opportunity proved costly 14 minutes later, as Mount Pleasant pulled level courtesy of a tidy team build up, which ended with Campbell firing home his second of the season from an angle, after Daniel Green’s initial effort was parried by Davis.

From there, Whitmore’s side took advantage of the game, as they spread the ball to the left channel, in particular, where Campbell utilized his speed and nippy footwork to rattle Harbour View’s defence.

Three minutes past the half-hour mark, the 20-year-old Campbell produced a burst of speed down the left channel and was felled inside the danger area by Jones.

Referee Christopher Mason quickly pointed to the spot, and Bradford, who was assigned responsibility, made no mistakes from the 12-yard spot to put Mount Pleasant 2-1 up.

Mount Pleasant thought they had a third when Sue-Lae McCalla got the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed by referee Mason, who spotted a handball.

They again got the ball in the net on the stroke of half-time, but again it didn’t count as Bradford’s finish was from an offside position, and the score remained 2-1 at the break.

The second half, which was marred by stoppages, offered very little to write home about where goalmouth action is concerned, as both teams nullified each other’s attacking prowess and, as such, were unable to really produce anything meaningful in the final third.

Though slightly disappointed with the outcome, Harbour View’s Head coach Ludlow Bernard took heart from his team’s performance.

“I thought we gave it our all it is just unfortunate that after two breaks, we conceded and this about the third time this has happened, so we have to concentrate better,” said Bernard, who also took a jab at the officiating.

“I wouldn’t entirely say it was down to indiscipline, but more incompetence on the part of the officials. I think they were extremely poor, but that is that my guys battled hard, I think we needed to continue being patient with our build ups and that is a positive that we will build on going forward,” he noted.

Matchweek 18 Results

Cavalier 4, Lime Hall Academy 0

Molynes United 2, Portmore United 2

Dunbeholden FC 1, Treasure Beach FC 1

Humble Lion 0, Tivoli Gardens 2

Montego Bay United 0, Arnett Gardens 0

Vere United 0, Waterhouse FC 1

Harbour View 1, Mount Pleasant FA 2

Kemar Foster, one of the most influential shot stoppers in the Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League, produced a gritty goalkeeping display to ensure Waterhouse edged Vere United 1-0 in a lively contest at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday.

Foster, who often partners Reggae Boyz captain Andre Blake on national duties, made a number of saves to shutout Vere United in a dazzling performance that pushed the Drewsland-based team over the line after Revaldo Mitchell’s solitary 24th-minute strike.

The 31-year-old Foster displayed unbeatable form, which underlined his credentials. He claimed crosses, shut down angles and even went full stretch to tip shots around and over his goal frame. Nothing was too much to ask of Foster on the day, as he flew around his box, putting his body on the line to deny Vere United.

It’s gritty goalkeeper performances like this that keep teams in the hunt for championship honours, and the shutout not only handed Waterhouse three points, but also propelled them back into the top six on 26 points, two points ahead of seventh-placed Dunbeholden, and three ahead of eighth-placed Montego Bay United, their closest pursuers. Vere United on the other hand, remains 10th on 19 points.

Foster, who required medical attention on a few occasions, felt he was exposed too often, but expressed content with his display between the sticks, which is sometimes overlooked.

“In the midfield, I think we gave Vere too much space to play and they did play. Teams will hurt you once you give them space, but I am fortunate to come out with a clean sheet,” Foster said in a post-game interview.

“It (goalkeeping duty) is rough to be honest, you have to stay focus after a game like this and not get ahead of yourself, and also ensure you recover properly and rest when possible before hitting training hard again. This is the best performance I had so far this season, it’s a long season, so I am hoping I can have many more like this going forward.” he added.

After a spirited start, it took Vere United 15 minutes to ask their first question of Foster, and the custodian proved equal to the task when he went full-stretch to his right to parry Odane Murray’s stinging right-footed effort.

That may have been the wake-up call Waterhouse needed, as they got into their rhythm shortly after, and eventually found the go-ahead goal. It came when Navardo Blair’s free kick sparked a melee, which ended with Mitchell tucking home from close range after Javane Bryan and Andre Fletcher’s efforts were desperately kept out by Javier Brown on the goal line.

Though they continued to threaten in open play, Waterhouse failed to add to their tally, as numerous half-chances were squandered and, as such, the score remained unchanged at the break.

Like they did at the start, Vere United came out more purposeful on the resumption, but unlike the first half, they didn’t allow Waterhouse a look-in on this occasion, and were only denied by Foster’s resilience.

It took two great saves in quick success by Foster to deny Vere United in the 54th, as he first blocked Kemar Beckford’s well-struck left-footed shot and recovered well to parry Justin Cohen’s acrobatic effort on the rebound.

Vere pressed the ascendancy and found a couple more openings in the latter stages of the contest from which they again tested Foster’s mettle in their probe to pull level.

Javon Smith got on the end of weighted Javier Brown corner kick with a firm header, but Foster got down well to his right to squeeze out the effort at his near post.

And even with the game nearing its end, Vere United’s substitute Lorenzo Lewin unleashed a well-struck snapshot, and Foster again came up big in time added to ensure his team secured all three points.

Waterhouse’s assistant coach Damion Gordon hailed the defensive line for holding firm as their attacking front came up short.

“The big question surrounds our consistency. I thought our first half was very good and they (Vere United) were clearly better than us in the second half, but in terms of our defensive structure, I think we did well,” he said.

For Vere United’s Head coach Linval Dixon, there is cause for concern over his team’s failure to convert a goal in five straight games, but he is also mindful that it is not for a lack of trying.

“Not scoring goals is disturbing for us because we have really been working hard in training to score, so it is cause for concern. But we are still working, and we are still fighting. It is just that we came up against a national goalkeeper and he was the difference in the game. I can’t fault the team for effort so like I said, we will continue working because when we start scoring things will change,” Dixon declared.

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