Maxwell admits Harbour View may be out of reach
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
GEOFFREY MAXWELL admitted on Sunday night that 10 points might very well be too much ground for his team to make up on Harbour View, after crashing to a 3-1 home defeat against the Digicel Premier League leaders at Waterhouse Mini Stadium.
"Our only saving grace was that Boys' Town lost, so we still have third place. But Harbour View have extended their lead by 10 points, which could be too many," said Maxwell, whose team was losing at home for the first time in 11 games.
Still with a game in hand, Harbour View maintained their three-point lead over Tivoli Gardens by going ahead in the 23rd minute off Rafeik Thomas' unmarked goalmouth header, which was cancelled 20 minutes later by a good shot on the turn in the 18-yard box by Vincent Earle.
Deadly stoppage time
However, deadly stoppage-time goals in either half - a guided missile of a free kick by Jermaine Hue to end the first and substitute Andre Fagan's last-gasp steal - left Maxwell pondering his team's chances of lifting the trophy with 12 games to go.
Goalie Richard McCallum got the brunt of Maxwell's fury. The custodian looked out of sorts from early in the first-half, misreading crosses and corners from the left flank. One was headed back across goal by Dicoy Williams for Thomas to open the scoring.
"Our disappointment tonight was our goalkeeper," he said. "In the changing room he was told every time Hue gets a free kick he will put it in that exact spot ... and to build a wall like that was ridiculous," he said.
It got even more ridiculous for Waterhouse while their supporters were streaming out of the ground, soaking up what appeared to be a 2-1 loss when sweeper Keneil Moodie collected a throw-in inside the box from Roger Rodney and was dispossessed by Fagan, who easily booted past McCallum.
Waterhouse enjoyed possession for huge chunks of the game and seemed to be playing 'the beautiful game', snappy short passes, only going for the long ball diagonally, one flank to the other, flawlessly.
However, they were taken out by set plays, Thomas' goal, which came off a corner and Hue's stunner, which had the Harbour View midfielder thumping his chest in glory.
Harbour View coach, Donovan Hayles, downplayed Waterhouse's ball possession.
"The possession we allowed Waterhouse to have, it was non-productive," he said.
"It was over-possession and we allowed them to lull themselves into that belief. We didn't panic when we didn't have the ball," he pointed out.
However, he admitted Harbour View came with a no-frills approach.
"We have a way to play Waterhouse ... shut them down and not allow them to play. We tried otherwise once and paid the price," he said, referring to a 2-0 home loss in the second round.
"We just went back to the old thing," he added.
Harbour View's three-point lead and game in hand, Hayles said, is no comfort zone.
"One can never be comfortable until the league is over and you're crowned champions," said the Harbour View coach whose team blew a 13-point lead three seasons ago and surrendered the title to Waterhouse.