Reno, Rivoli set for hot contest
Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Having dispatched one promoted team last week, Rivoli United will be aiming to do the same this week when they play away to the second, Reno, at Frome Sports Complex in one of three games on today in the Red Stripe Premier League.
One game was called off because of the chikungunya affliction while the other was due to Waterhouse having a number of players away on national duty.
The Spanish Town-based team, which has remodelled itself since the loss of their top player Devon Hodges in the off season, blanked 11th-place Barbican 4-0 in a poorly supported double-header at the National Stadium. Unlike Barbican, first-time entrants to top-flight football, Reno can be considered senior campaigners, having won the League on more than one occasion.
Both teams have already met for the season with Reno coming out on top.
"We played them in the Flow Champions Cup on Thursday and lost 2-1. I thought we had the better possession but we finished poorly and made some errors defensively," said Calvert Fitzgerald, coach of Rivoli.
Despite that loss, Fitzgerald is confident his team has what it takes to win today.
"We are backing ourselves to win and this is based on our performance on Thursday and what we saw in the game. It is the flow of the game and the opportunities we created. We will not be as complacent in this game as I think complacency was an issue, having won comfortably in the previous game, Fitzgerald opined, adding that this game will bring them back down to earth.
Reno themselves were brought down to earth by Tivoli Gardens last week after riding reasonably high. It was their first loss of the season and one that saw them fall to sixth place in the 12-team table.
"It affected us in the sense that the confidence was riding high, but we see it as a minor setback. We know the space that we gave Tivoli and we know what we have to do come Sunday. We are ready for this game and looking at that loss I don't see it as something to affect us. I see it as something to improve us as we can only learn from it," coach Patrick Graham, himself a former Reno player, explained.
The fact that Reno had the better of Rivoli last Thursday is of little significance to Graham as he says it is a different ball game.
"It is two different competitions so we expect them to come to us with even more determination, having lost the first game against us. They would have seen how we play, and we would have seen how they play so both teams will be in a better position to assess each other, but what I will say though is that when we play at Frome we go for maximum points," a confident Graham said.
Both teams possess offensive talent, with Rivoli scoring the most goals in the league with 10. Reno do not fall far behind with eight and they also have the competition's leading scorer in Craig Foster. Rivoli's new-found fluency in front of goal despite the absence of the man they relied on, especially over the past two seasons, was still credited to him.
"Hodges was very good for the side. A lot of the players learnt a lot from him. We are reaping the fruit from Hodges being here last season. I always encouraged the players to watch how he moved, how he received the ball and how he used it," said Fitgerald.
Observing Hodges paid off as the goals are now distributed mainly among Cory Burke who has scored three in four games and Kemar Beckford with two.
League leaders Cavalier will be aiming to show that they are the true Stars of the east when they host Harbour View at Stadium East. Cavalier sit at the top of the table with 11 points but have only scored four goals in five games for three wins while Harbour View have scored seven for just one win and two draws.
Ranique Muir hit a hat-trick for Harbour View last week and should be expected to lead the line for them while Chevaughn Marsh and Girvon Brown should lead the way for Cavalier.
3:30 p.m: Barbican vs Montego Bay United - UWI Bowl
5 p.m: Cavalier vs Harbour View - Stadium East
3:30 p.m: Reno vs Rivoli United - Frome Complex
9 p.m: Boys' Town vs Arnett Garden - Anthony Spaulding Complex
P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Cavalier 5 3 2 0 4 1 3 11
Rivoli 4 2 2 0 10 5 5 8
Arnett 4 2 2 0 5 2 3 8
Waterhouse 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7H
View 4 1 2 1 7 5 2 5
Reno 4 1 2 1 8 8 0 5T
ivoli 5 1 2 2 5 7 -2 5
MoBay U 4 1 1 2 5 5 0 4
Boys' Town 5 1 1 3 4 12 -8 4
Sporting 2 1 0 1 3 1 2 3
Barbican 3 0 2 1 1 5 -4 2
Humble 5 0 1 4 3 8 -5 1