RSPL teams safely navigate way to semis of 'Bell' KO

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Friday, March 16, 2018

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Red Stripe Premier League teams Tivoli Gardens FC and Harbour View FC safely navigated the quarter-final round of the JN/Jackie Bell KSAFA Knockout football competition with contrasting wins over Super League outfits Rockfort FC and Browns Town FC, respectively, in a double-header at the Harbour View Stadium on Wednesday night.

While Tivoli Gardens cruised to a comfortable 3-0 over Rockfort, Harbour View had to work hard against a plucky yet unlucky Brown's Town to carve out a 2-1 win.

In the feature game of the night, hosts Harbour View started brightly and had the visitors on the back foot for the first 10 minutes. But having overcome the initial onslaught, the visitors gained in confidence and soon had the home team against the ropes.

Tevin Scott, who was in the middle of it all for Brown's Town, had the first real chance of the night with a free header, but failed to make proper contact.

George Pinnock and Scott also missed chances for Rockfort, with Pinnock dragging his effort wide from the edge of the area and Scott failing to make contact with his head for a second time from a cross.

Nine minutes before the break, the Harbour View captain Nicholas Beckett made the visitors pay with a peach of a free kick that left goalkeeper Mark Bryan rooted to the spot. Beckett produced his trademark free kick, curling the ball into the far corner of the goal from the edge of the box to give his team a 1-0 half-time lead.

Brown's Town were not to be outdone and got right back into the game only six minutes after the restart when Bryan English headed home the equaliser.

Five minutes later, Harbour View were back in front when Kareem Manning headed home what turned out to be the winner with a back post header from a Daniel Green free kick that Bryan could do nothing about.

Harbour View coach Ricardo Gardner was fairly pleased with the effort of the young team.

“Whichever opponent we play we always try to limit their chances at our goal, I think in that case we could have played the game a little bit better tonight but it's still a work in progress and I think we are gradually getting there,” said the former Jamaica international.

The response to their opponent's drawing level was exactly what the coach wanted from his charges.

“I think it was a great response from the team. It was an excellent delivery from Green and I think it was an excellent finish from Manning as well. It's good to see that response so quickly as well and that's a plus going forward,” Gardner added.

Winning the competition has now become a priority for Harbour View.

“Definitely, we have both competitions (Jackie Bell KO and Red Stripe Premier League) to play and we take each game as seriously as it comes. Whichever opposition it is we have to prepare ourselves on and off the field for those games,” he stated.

Match winner Kaheem Manning said the players had been mentally ready for a tough challenge from their Super League opponents.

“It's always great to play a game and to win, to progress further in the competition, and worse it's a knockout game, so we are always focused and ready for it. During the week, we knew we would come up against a Super League team so we tried to put our minds to it and be ready for the challenge because at the end of the day we need it and now we are ready to move forward,” said the player.

Brown's Town coach Karumie Humie lamented conceding the goals, especially from set pieces.

“I congratulate them, but I am disappointed because last night the last thing I said to them was that we had to be switched on from the whistle blow (and) right through the game and we didn't switch on at the set plays,” he bemoaned.

“If it was on the run of play I wouldn't mind, but a dead ball...last night, the night before, we worked on it. It hurts because we prepared properly, mentally, physically, but at this level you have to know that you are playing a quality team and you have to switch on right through. I am proud of them, but I am disappointed,” Humie stated.

In the opening encounter, Tivoli Gardens made light work of Rockfort, thanks mainly to a three-minute brace from Andre Moulton. The striker put his team ahead in the fifth minute and doubled the lead in the eigth minute to virtually kill off the tie.

Young Trayvone Reid then added the insurance goal six minutes before the final whistle, but did manage to get himself sent off in the 87th minute as Tivoli ended the game with 10 players.

Tivoli coach Omar Edwards was delighted with his team's performance, especially with two-goal hero, Moulton.

“It was a good performance overall Andre Moulton has managed to score two good goals in the first ten minutes of the game. His display today was pretty encouraging,” he said.

Retaining their title is now paramount, especially with just two wins now required to complete that mission.

“The win is very important because we want to win it back-to-back and hence the players have been working twice as hard. They understand the importance of it and they are giving it their very best,” Edwards said.

The semi-final pairings are determined by a draw.

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