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Relegation beckons Reno, Barbican

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 2:00 AM
Ian Allen/Photographer Arnett Gardens' Andrew Phang (right) fights to maintain possession while being tackled by Barbican's Okive Blake (second left) and Keno Simpson, during the Red Stripe Premier League football match at Barbican playing field on Sunday. Looking on is Kenniel Hyde of Arnett Gardens, which won 3-0.

With eight rounds to go in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), the competition is shaping up into two battles - the top eight teams all have a chance to advance to the playoff round.

Bleachers Report believes Arnett Gardens is the only sure team to qualify at this point as they lead with 51 points and just need to score at a point per match for the remaining rounds, something well within their reach, with the third best squad in the league.

Waterhouse and Montego Bay United (MBU) have outstanding chances, but they are not out of the woods as yet, while there is a chasing pack where only five points separate fourth to eighth. Humble Lion, Tivoli Gardens, Rivoli United, Harbour View and Cavalier are locked in a ding-dong battle for fourth spot and not even Bleachers Report is brave enough to predict who will qualify from this hungry group.

biggest battle at the bottom

The biggest battle is at the bottom and Bleacher Report got it wrong by suggesting Humble Lion will remain near the relegation zone; but got it dead right to say Barbican, Reno, Sporting Central Academy and Boys' Town will fight to the end to avoid relegation. Bleacher Report believes 33 points is needed to avoid the drop and the four teams have being scoring at a rate of .9, .9, 1.0 and 1.1 points per game, respectively. Barbican will likely end up on 29 points or less.

There is no coming back for Barbican, as the squad's depth is shallow and talent questionable, along with questionable coaching decisions. Barbican lost 2-3 to Tivoli Gardens - after leading 2-0 with 20 minutes to go, with a brace from Steve Green. But they immediately substituted Green, then picked up two red cards after making two forced substitutions due to injury and lost.

Sporting Central have acquired a host of Phoenix players, one scoring twice in the 2-0 victory over Arnett Gardens and one-nil win over Cavalier. Sporting will acquire 12 points to reach 36 and safety.

If Boys' Town acquire points at the same rate, they will end up somewhere near 39 points.

Reno have leading goalscorer Craig Foster, but he has not scored since rumours started circulating that he was transfer-bound.

Reno won the all-island Flow Champions Cup knockout, with prize money of $1.5 million. They have only won one match since the money was paid to the club. Also, they have not won an away match, only drawn two and will struggle to even score at their current average. Reno will end up with less than 29 points, dead last in the RSPL.

The Westmoreland team will go down in the record books of achieving the unique double - winning the Flow Champions Cup and being relegated from the Premier League in the same year.

Barbican, on the other hand, are in the final of the KSAFA Jackie Bell KO and if successful will become the second KSAFA team following August Town to win that competition and be relegated from the Premier League in the same year.

do not fight it

Bleachers Report is saying to anybody associated with the two clubs, do not fight it. Do not spend $2.5m for the three months you have left in the league or run up any debt to carry forward to life outside the Premier League. Play some youth who costs less, cut your losses, fire the expensive players, sell the marketable ones on pre-contracts and rebuild for next season in your respective Super Leagues.

The JFF franchise system is not coming this year and will not save you. The Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) should look at a parachute payment for these teams as they prepare for life in the lower leagues.

Donovan Duckie was ejected from the bench of Humble Lion during his team 0-1 loss to Boys' Town. Duckie, BR warned you to cool it after your altercation with the MBU coach.

Meanwhile, Jermaine "Teddy" Johnson was spotted near the technical area of the Tivoli Gardens bench and his help coincides with their surge to fourth place. He will not be helping in the next match as he was ejected from the bench by match commissioner Tracy Reid in Tivoli's loss to MBU on Sunday. Even the police had to get involved to remove him.