Mount Pleasant hold champions Portmore to begin final round of RSPL

Portmore United ..........1 Smith (39th) Mount Pleasant FA .......1 Beckford (70th)

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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A determined effort from promoted team Mount Pleasant FA saw them come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with defending Red Stripe Premier League champions Portmore United at Drax Hall on Sunday.

A goal from the league's leading scorer Rondee Smith shortly before half time had put the visitors ahead, but a goal midway the second half from Kemar Beckford earned the hosts a deserved share of the spoils.

It took both teams a while to settle down, with Chavany Willis firing high from a free kick and a wild effort from an off-balanced Craig Foster, being all there were to show from the first 15 minutes of the game.

The visitors came under sustained pressure but were able to maintain their defensive shape and keep out the Mount Pleasant strikers, who had plenty of the ball on the edge of the Portmore goal area.

Portmore picked up two quick yellow cards in two minutes, Damano Solomon in the 30th and Roshane Sharpe in the 32nd, as the pressure increased.

A brief respite saw Smith get a sight of goal for Portmore, but his effort went wide of the target.

The next chance he got, Smith did much better. Venton Evans, who was the main attacking threat for Portmore down the right flank in the first half, whipped in a cross to the unmarked striker who had a simple job to side-foot home his ninth goal of the season in the 39th minute.

The Shavar Thomas-coached team then took the game to the hosts early in the second half and had two glorious chances to extend their lead.

Smith should have done a lot better with his header when unmarked inside the box, and Javon East chose to shoot from a very acute angle when an unmarked Carlos Barrett was dead centre the goal.

Beckford was the first Mount Pleasant player to get a chance in the second half when the ball rolled kindly to him, but he failed to get enough purchase on the shot and it was an easy save for Shaven Paul.

The former Waterhouse FC striker made no mistake in the 70th minute, however, as he brushed off his marker before firing low into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal from outside the area and just beyond the dive of Paul.

The last real chance of the game fell to an alert East who got in just ahead of his marker, but his delicate flick went just wide of the near post.

The hosts had to play most of the four minutes of added time a man short, after their captain Ladale Richie was given a straight red card by Referee Doyen Tummings for a blow to the face of Portmore substitute Emilio Rousseau in the first minute of added time.

A grateful Donovan Duckie, coach of the hosts, was pleased with the response of his players in the second half.

“It wasn't the result we were looking for but we are grateful. I thought our transition was key in the second half. Beckford got his second goal in two games for us and it is still a work in progress for us.”

Meanwhile, Thomas said his team had been confident of getting something out of the contest ahead of the game.

“We have been the best away team all season…so we were very confident coming here. We started pretty good, had a very good first half, controlled the game. Mount Pleasant came out in the second half, they pushed the tempo, and they got back a goal.”

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