Former champions Harbour View FC stole an uninspiring 1-0 win with a 76th minute strike from returnee Sean Fraser. The "Stars of the East" with 4 points from 2 games snatched an unlikely win as they pieced together an underwhelming performance.
One moment ended up being enough for coach Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardener's Harbour View FC against Cavalier SC last Sunday on Match Day 2 in the Red Stripe Premier League. In front of a sparse crowd at the Stadium East field, Harbour View fought with Cavalier for well up to 75 minutes. Then, in the 76th minute, an unexpected hero emerged thanks to an audacious thunderbolt by Sheldon McKoy that almost severed Omar Walcott's hand in the box. Referee Weston Castley made no mistake by pointing to the spot. Fraser buried the chance, which marked his first goal in as many starts this season.
Despite that unexpected moment, the game felt more like a practice game than an competitive Red Stripe Premier League match. The intensity level started low and only peaked in the final minutes of the match.
Harbour View began carelessly, as a turnover by ace midfielder Nicholas Beckett gave Cavalier an early look at goal. Nicholas Hamilton rushed forward to beat the off side trap, then cut back the ball expertly for what should have been an easy finish for Chevone Marsh, but his atrocious first touch gave goal keeper Joel Johnson enough time to gobble up the ball. Minutes later, the efficient Ryan Wellington was forced to clear a goal bound shot by Hamilton off the line, due to an error from custodian Johnson.
The Harbour View's defense eventually settled down, but the attack never took off in the first 20 minutes of play. Playing a 4-3-3 formation the Ricardo Gardener coached team lacked creativity. The speedy Kimarley Fray broke loose down the field, but he botched his run with a pass to no one. Rosario Harriott played a perfect ball to set up Fraser who was alone in the box, but the breakaway was ruined by a heavy first touch. In the 23rd minute, Harbour View had their first real sniff at goal when a Beckett free kick brought out an equally good save from goal keeper Peter Harrison.
The best aspect of Harbour View's game came in the 31st minute when defender Harriott weaved his way passed a sea of players before unleashing a rocket towards goal.
Miraculously the game remained scoreless at the halftime break due to the teams reluctance to put away simple chances.
The second half offered more promise and 13 minutes after the break, a perfectly weighted pass found an unmarked Marsh but he skied his chance with the keeper at his mercy. In the 60th minute, Cavalier mounted another attack when halftime substitute Nickoy Christian found the skillful Alex Marshall inside the box. Marshall's shot from near the penalty spot careened off a defender and Marsh's follow up from outside the box went high over the crossbar.
The chances began to mount with both teams going for all three points. In the 76th minute, after a bout of possession, Fraser weaved his way into the box and slotted a cross toward the penalty spot. Jelani Nicholson met the cross, but his effort was poorly dealt with by Rushawn Plummer. The ball fell kindly to McKoy who hit a ferocious strike towards goal. His effort was palmed away in the box by Walcott.
The resulting penalty kick was converted by Fraser for a 1-0 lead. The goal knocked the wind out of the Cavalier team. The Cavalier front trio should have easily gotten a goal apiece in the game, however Cavalier are yet to score a goal or pick up a point since returning to the nation's top flight.
Coach Rudolph Spied blamed the referee for the loss. "It could have easily be 5 or 6 nil but the front three misfired for the second game running. The referees starred the show, we were undone by a faulty decision. It's just one of those games, so we just need to get our shooting boots on and we will be blowing away teams".
Coach Ricardo Gardener was grateful for the three points despite his team's poor tactical display. "At the end of the day it's better get a ugly win than a pretty defeat. It's a good feeling to get our first 3 points on the road. We just need to get back to the drawing board and fix what we didn't do well today".