Reno hope for turnaround in 2015
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:A precipitous slide made worse by their seeming inability to stop opponents from scoring against them has seen early pacesetters Reno FC drop to ninth in the Red Stripe Premier League table and in serious danger of crashing out of the league once again.
The Westmoreland-based club has been unlucky towards the latter half of the just-concluded year, as injuries to several key players have taken a toll, while coaching duties has changed hands, albeit forcibly, after Patrick Graham, who marshalled them at the start of the campaign, resigned recently to take up a teaching job.
Technical director Wendell Downswell has been charged with the unenviable task to guide the club away from danger and, if possible, a top-six finish.
"Fifteen points is not what we would like to have at this point in the season, but we have been having a bad run lately and that has been made worse as some of our better players are injured," said Downswell.
Sunday's 4-2 loss to Tivoli was galling to Downswell. He described the loss as the worse he has seen from a Reno side, but is hoping for a turnaround of fortunes in the New Year.
Strong start, sudden fall
After a positive start to the campaign, Reno are dropping faster than a lead ball, racking up six straight defeats to be on the edge of relegation and with precious little time to get things right.
Things started going bad after their dramatic 4-3 victory over Montego Bay United in the final of the Flow Champions Cup. Since then, they have not tasted victory.
There were rumours that players were upset over the protracted time it took them to be presented with the money from success in the Flow Cup and that this had carried over into the league.
Downswell brushed aside suggestions the players were not fully mentally prepared for subsequent games because of money issues, telling The Gleaner, the club's woes are as a result of bad luck and injuries.
It is in defence that they are struggling, conceding 26 goals. Downswell points out that with injuries to key central defender and captain Alburn Facey and Linval Wilson Jr, it has left them weak in critical areas.
Top striker Craig Foster also is carrying a niggling thigh injury, but continues to play through.
"We are not strong in defence and that is where we are struggling the most. We keep scoring the goals, but just cannot keep a clean sheet at the moment, so that is what we need to address," added Downswell.
"Getting the players fit is paramount to the success of the team. Plus we are waiting on these two very important players to return to full fitness," he said.
Downswell is being assisted by the returning Michael Graham, the man who won them promotion back to the Premier League after taking them to the Western Confederation Super League crown.
Reno are just above the relegation zone; marginally better off than Barbican (14), Humble Lion and Boys Town, 13 points respectively.
"There is no infighting as some would want to believe. We are just struggling because of injuries and nothing else. Once we get things sorted out, we will be fine," Downswell said.