Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Waterhouse held in Women’s League opener

Published:Monday | August 26, 2019 | 12:19 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Waterhouse’s Jessica Johnson leaps to avoid a challenge from Olympic Gardens defender Stephanie Morgan during their JFF Women’s Premier League fixture at the Drewsland Stadium on Saturday.
Waterhouse’s Jessica Johnson leaps to avoid a challenge from Olympic Gardens defender Stephanie Morgan during their JFF Women’s Premier League fixture at the Drewsland Stadium on Saturday.

Waterhouse’s title defence got off to a slow start as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Olympic Gardens in their Zone A encounter of the JFF Women’s Premier League on Saturday at the Drewsland Stadium.

Although Waterhouse had the better of play in the opening exchanges, it was Olympic Gardens that took the lead through Stephanie Morgan in the 11th minute. Morgan caught the Waterhouse goalkeeper, Tiana Schroeter, off her line and unleashed a ferocious shot from the halfway line that found the back of the net.

Waterhouse managed to recover from the setback and were rewarded with their equaliser nine minutes later as Rochell Gray’s pass in the penalty area found Jessica Johnson, who slotted home from close range.

Push ahead

From there, the hosts were on the offensive as they had the majority of the chances to push ahead. They will be baffled as to why they weren’t able to capitalise on the many opportunities that came their way, especially in the second half. Midfielder Nevillegail Able, notably, had multiple chances on goal that forced Olympic Gardens goalkeeper Tashell Welcome into many saves to keep the score level.

Waterhouse head coach Xavier Gilbert expected the season opener to be a challenge but lamented the lack of quality to finish the numerous chances that his team created throughout the 90 minutes.

“I think it was a good game,” he said. “I think we dominated the game and should have got three points, but such was the nature [of the game]. We knew that the test was going to be difficult.

“What was missing today was that killer instinct to finish off the game. We should have put the game to bed from in the first half, to be honest. And second half, we still got a lot of opportunities. I think we were unlucky. The goalkeeper] made some good saves, and I think faulty finishing and poor decision-making up top cost us three points.”

Despite being under pressure for most of the second half, Olympic Gardens coach Adrian Kitson felt that his team could have won the match.

“I’m not satisfied with the point, but I give thanks for it,” he said. “But I know the potential of my team, and I know we could have won the game.

“Waterhouse is a good team, but I know the quality of my team, and [we] haven’t been training as how [we] are supposed to be training, so with the weeks to come, I don’t think any team has a chance of beating us.”

In the day’s earlier game, last year’s beaten finalists, Cavalier, began their season with a 3-0 victory over Frazier’s Whip FC in action in Zone B. Rena Gordon scored in the 32nd and 33rd minutes, and Suen Gregory added another in the second half.