'We were determined' - Harbour View coach says they were hungry for all three points
Gareth Davis Sr., Gleaner Writer
Now firmly on course to win the coveted Digicel Premier League title, Harbour View's coach, Donovan Hayles, left Lynch Park bubbling with confidence on Sunday, following his team's come-from-behind 2-1 win over Saint Georges Sports Club.
With Tivoli Gardens dropping three points against Village United, also on Sunday, the win against Georges now puts Harbour View four points clear of the west Kingston team.
"There are those who want to win, but tonight we were determined to secure all three points," said Hayles. "Georges played very well and got an early goal, but I gave instructions for the guys to make use of the flanks and this really paid off.
"It is good to see a substitute player coming off the bench and scoring the clincher. As I told them, only you guys can make a coach look good," Hayles added.
It was Georges which took the early attack to their opponents through Leon Irving, Romeo Parkes, Dwayne Holmes and Richardo Watson, forcing Harbour View on the back foot.
In the 10th minute, the relentless attacks from the home team paid off when Watson received a ball from Holmes close to the centre circle and dribbled past a player, before firing a powerful right-foot shot from about 25 yards out, beating Michaud Barrett in goal, for a one-nil lead.
Harbour View clawed their way back and the combination of Jermaine Hue, Jahmali Spence, John Ross Edwards and Kavin Bryan threatened the St Georges defence. Only the efficient work of Jermaine Taylor, André Thomas and Omar Davis, along with the brilliance of Ralston Robinson in goal, kept them off the scoresheet.
Georges squandered the golden opportunity of going 2-0 when Parkes received a through pass and with only the goalkeeper to beat, stumbled, but managed to get off a shot, which was saved by Barrett.
At the start of the second half, the homesters again squandered an easy chance, but Watson fired a shot that shaved the crossbar when he had only Barrett to beat.
With Georges squandering chances, Harbour View went close with two powerful free kicks by Hue in the spate of four minutes - one of which hit the crossbar, while the other was brilliantly saved by Robinson.
When Marcelino Blackburn was introduced, Harbour View's game changed for the good.
Blackburn came close to scoring in the 49th minute, but only the brilliance of goalkeeper Robinson, who skillully plucked the ball from off his feet, saved the day.
Curling corner kick
However, in the 50th minute, a curling corner kick from Hue found the head of Dicoy Williams at the near post, and he scored to put Harbour View level.
Having drawn level, Harbour View took up residence in their opponents' half for the better part of 10 minutes, with Hue, Blackburn and Richard Edwards distributing the ball along the flanks. And when Rafeik Thomas was brought in to replace Bryan in the 85th minute, the St Georges players, with the exception of the outstanding Robinson, were running on tired legs.
Three minutes after coming on, Thomas received a ball from another substitute, André Fagan, near the 18-yard box, went by two defenders, then fired past Robinson, who had no chance.
Raymond 'Munzie' Gordon, St Georges' assistant coach, said Harbour View were hungrier for the win, but admitted that poor finishing robbed his team of victory.
"It was a high-level game," he said. "We should have scored a second goal in the first half, and that came back to haunt us."
He added: "Yes, we were too laid back in the second half and that really cost us the game. We hope to secure all three points in our next encounter against Tivoli here at Lynch Park on Sunday."