Mon | Feb 24, 2020

‘We’re getting there’ - Gardner confident about Portmore RSPL revival after back-to-back wins

Published:Friday | December 13, 2019 | 12:37 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Gardner
Lamar Walker (left) of Portmore United shrugs off Chevone Marsh of Cavalier as he tries to win the ball off him during their Red Stripe Premier League clash at the Spanish Town Prison Oval on Sunday, February 10, 2019.
Portmore will begin the defence of their FLOW Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship next month.
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Portmore United head coach Ricardo Gardner believes that his team is close to being back to its best after a 2-1 win over Cavalier FC in the Red Stripe Premier League game at the Spanish Town Prison Oval yesterday.

Lamar Walker opened the scoring in the 34th minute and Chelon Pryce added another early in the second half as the defending champions moved to fourth as of press time in the standings, registering consecutive wins for the third time this season. Cavalier could only muster a consolation goal from Shaniel Thomas seconds before the full-time whistle.

Portmore are in the middle of a stretch of three games in seven days and having obtained maximum points from Molynes United on Sunday combined with yesterday’s result, Gardner feels that his team are on the verge of returning to the consistency which saw them boss opponents last year.

“We just have to keep working, we have to keep pushing. [Today’s win] shows that we have been working hard getting back-to-back wins,” he said after the game. “Once we continue to [work hard], our confidence will continue to grow and we will see Portmore again like how we used to.

“We show signs of it every now and again, but consistency is key. That is something that we want to build on and that is something that we want to continue to work on as a group.”

Portmore were let off the hook in the first half when Cavalier’s Nicholas Hamilton was put through one-on-one with goalkeeper Benjamin Williams but failed to bury the chance. Portmore took the lead a minute later when Walker tapped home from close range for his first goal of the season.

Pryce’s effort in the 47th minute made things comfortable for the hosts, doubling their lead and Gardner was pleased with the way his team managed the flow of play despite giving up the clean sheet so late.

“I think we controlled the game well but it’s disappointing not to keep a clean sheet. We played well, we moved the ball well and created a lot of chances, and in the end disappointed not to score more goals,” he said.

Gardner further emphasised the need for accumulating as many points as possible between now and the new year, hoping to be in the thick of the play-off positions before diverting their attention to their Concacaf Champions League. There, they meet against Mexican Club Cruz Azul next February, after their defence of the FLOW Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship in late January. But Gardner is more focused on their next game against UWI FC on Sunday, looking to complete their three-game stretch with maximum nine points.

“It’s very important. We set long-term goals [but] the next game is the most important one. We have to continue to assess ourselves and continue to grow in our confidence,” he said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com