Willis bags brace in St Catherine derby
Chevany Willis was Portmore United's unlikely goalscoring hero as the defending Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) champions came from behind to beat Dunbeholden 3-2 in a St Catherine derby at the Royal Lakes Complex in Spanish Town yesterday.
The lanky defensive midfielder netted the visitor's equaliser 62 minutes into the contest with a vicious free kick from 30 yards after Clayton Pusey put Dunbeholden ahead after 28 minutes.
Roshane Sharpe gave Portmore a 2-1 advantage in the 64th minute, and although Nicoy Christian made it 2-1 from the penalty spot, Willis popped up in added time to secure the three points that keep Portmore atop the RSPL standings with 21 points at the close of the first round.
"From the first half we were down, but we played the second half as champions and put it away. I am happy with my performance. I know I am capable of kicking free kicks, so I went up and took that one. This is my first two goals of the season. I am not a regular goalscorer. I am more of a deep-central midfielder," Willis told The Gleaner.
Despite his strong defensive presence for the St Catherine unit, Willis, believes he still has to improve in that department.
"My performance has been generally good this season. I would like to include more goals, but defensively, that is where I think I am a bit lacking. I need to work on my tackle and being stronger on the defensive," he said.
He also thought the team was a bit flat in the first half but said they did well to make the adjustments in the second period. "We came out [in the] second half and gave our best. We pressed from the start right to the end, and we got the victory," he said
"The aim now is to get into the national team and from there, a contract, and I am working on it. But I'm just looking to have a good season and help Portmore retain the title," he added.
His coach, Shavar Thomas, believes with a bit more consistency, Willis, can become a top player.
"He is one of the guys who has been getting major minutes from last season. His issue is consistency. We know he can hit a good ball, he can make a long pass, he has all the qualities to be a good player, and today, he showed up," Thomas commented.
He added that he also anticipated a tough St Catherine derby from their Spanish Town opponents. "From the onset, we knew we would have to work very hard to get any form of result, even a tie against Dunbeholden. The derby lived up to the hype. It was end-to-end action. But it was one of those games we knew we would have to stick together and work for each other. Scoring that goal in the last minute of the game made me very happy," he added.
Dunbeholden stay at the bottom of the table with seven points.