Photo: Jorjhino James and Brian Brown kick off for Harbour View against Tivoli Gardens on Monday Night. The game ended 2-2.
Defending champions Harbour View missed a chance to at least draw level on points with league leaders Montego Bay United in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) on Monday night, when they were held by a 2-2 draw by Tivoli Gardens at the Harbour View Mini-Stadium.
In what was the latest edition of Red Stripe Football Mondays, the champions knew that a victory by two clear goals would have given them sole leadership of the league but in the end ,were denied all three points by a late strike from Tivoli Gardens talisman Keammar Daley.
With the hunt on for vital points in the third and final round of the RSPL, the home team was on the front foot from the opening whistle. It took less than five minutes for Harbour View midfielder Keith Kelly to call the Tivoli custodian Edsel Scott into action, with a good shot from the edge of the area, which the keeper tipped over for a corner kick.
But the visitors, who are in fifth position and desperately seeking the fourth and final semifinal spot were in no mood to be pushed around and the Harbour View captain Montrose Phinn had to be alert to clear a ball off the line after Tivoli forward, Navion Boyd out jumped Michaud Barrett in the Harbour View goal, six minutes later.
Kevaugh Frater almost gave Harbour View the lead in the 20th minute when he headed a Xavian Virgo corner goal ward. He and his teammates looked on in agony as the ball rebounded off the upright and back into play with Scott rooted to his goal line.
Tivoli were ahead just three minutes later when the home team failed to clear their lines and Andre Morgan pounced on the loose ball in the area to blast home from close range.
The goal seemed to spur the champions to life and they went hard in search of the equalizer. They were rewarded in the 36th minute when their leading goal scorer Brian Brown rose highest to head home a Dejani Isaacs free kick as the teams went in 1-1 at the break.
Just five minutes after the resumption, the hosts took the lead from a Christopher Harvey penalty. The big centre half drove the ball straight down the middle for what was his first goal of the season, from Harbour View’s first penalty of the season.
The second half lacked much goal mouth action but as the clock ticked down, the visitors pressed the home team back as they went in search of the equalizer. In the 76th minute, Tivoli captain Christopher Jackson had a glorious chance to level the game when he found himself face to face with Barrett, but drove his fierce left footed effort straight at the advancing keeper. It was a brave effort from the shot stopper to help maintain his team’s one goal advantage.
But just when it looked like Harbour View had done enough to secure all three points, Daley popped up to lash home a loose ball from the edge of the area after Barrett had failed to deal with a left sided cross. This skipped just in front of the keeper and his effort parried the ball into the path of Daley who made no mistake as he made the score 2-2 with nine minutes left to play.
The sound of the final whistle meant honours even and a fair result in the end, but not one that would have pleased either coach at a time when three points from each game is most needed. The result leaves Harbour View on 42 points, two points behind Mobay United with a game in hand; while Tivoli are now, just three points behind fourth placed Arnett Gardens on 35 but have played a game more.
Arnett Gardens will host Harbour View at 6:00pm on Thursday in a make-up game and this will give the champions another chance to go top of the league. Arnett Gardens will be seeking all three points however, as they try to ensure their place in the final four.