Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
Harbour View FC head coach, Vin Blaine, was still a confident man at the end of his team's 1-1 draw with Tivoli Gardens on Monday night in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).
The win improved the leaders' points tally to 63 points, seven more than their closest rivals and only realistic challenger, Waterhouse, with just four sets of games remaining.
Waterhouse, on Sunday night, cut Harbour View's lead to six points when they thrashed Portmore United 3-0.
With the one point earned from Monday's game, their seventh without a win, Blaine felt that his team was now just three points away from the title.
"We are still very confident of winning. We just have to break this streak and once we win one game, we are the champions," Blaine responded to questions about Waterhouse's challenge.
Questioned further about whether or not he was worried about his team's form in this vital stretch, Blaine said that was the place of the challengers.
"It is no worry. They have to play the same teams. They have to overtake us, we are in the lead," Blaine stated.
In one of the better games of the season, things started out positively for the leaders as they created a number of chances and should have taken the lead early with one of the best chances falling to John Ross Campbell. However, the midfielder could not make the chance count.
Despite that, the home team found the lead in the 23rd minute through Jermie Lynch.
Harbour View enjoyed the better of play, but Tivoli Gardens were never far behind with Shawn McCoy, especially, looking like a quality player. McCoy would have had the goal of the season if his left-footed drive from nearly 50 yards had not struck the goal frame before rebounding into play.
Tivoli Gardens' equaliser came in the 76th minute from the penalty spot when Navion Boyd converted, after Rafiek Thomas was taken out by a Roland Dean high boot in the 18-yard box, leaving referee Courtney Campbell no choice but to award a point to the spot.
Seven minutes later, Boyd had the chance to score a second and make the league more interesting, when he dismissed Christopher Harvey while cutting inside from the left, but took his shot too early and missed the target.
Harbour View also had a number of chances in the dying moments, but were unable to get past goalkeeper Edsel Scott.
"We decided that we were going to try to finish as strong as possible," Tivoli's assistant coach, Alvin Shaw, said of his team's performance in the latter part of the third round of the competition and the fourth round.
That conviction, Shaw said, was evident in his team's performance on Monday night, especially in the last 15 minutes of the game. Prior to that, he said their performance was lacklustre.
The competition continues today with three matches. Waterhouse could reduce Harbour View's lead to four points if they are able to get the better of Boys' Town when they travel to Collie Smith Drive, while already-demoted Savannah may attempt to sign out of the league with another win, when they host Sporting Central Academy at Frome.
Cavalier could cause Humble Lion some amount of worry if they come out victorious when both teams meet at Stadium East. Cavalier are safe from relegation, but Humble Lion could still be caught.
Montego Bay United, the ones who hammered the final nail into Savannah's coffin of relegation, could play a major role in the construction of Highgate's coffin, should they defeat them at Drax Hall.
3:30 p.m. Boys' Town vs Waterhouse at Collie Smith Complex
3:30 p.m. Savannah vs Sporting Central at Frome Sports Complex
5 p.m. Cavalier vs Humble Lion at Stadium East
3:30 p.m. Highgate United vs Montego Bay United at Drax Hall Sports Complex
7 p.m. Portmore United vs Tivoli Gardens at Ferdie Neita Park
7 p.m. Harbour View vs Arnett Gardens at Harbour View Stadium
(Tabulated under Teams, P - Play, W - Win, D - Draw, L - Lose, GF - Goals For, GA - Goals against, GD - Goal difference, Pts - Overall points)