Crucial clash for Red Brigade
The 'Red Brigade', as Boys' Town Football Club were dubbed in their heyday, were known for their fighting spirit and refusal to die. Those qualities are what they will have to call on today and the rest of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season if they are to survive and remain in the top flight of local football.
Today, the team, which shares geographical space with leaders and defending champions Arnett Gardens, as well as fourth-place Tivoli Gardens, faces 10th-place Waterhouse in a game they can scarcely afford to lose. They are rooted at the foot of the table on seven points, two below the promoted Sandals South Coast and perhaps the other relegation favourites.
"We have been really unfortunate," club stalwart and coach Andrew Price said of his team's results and current position.
"We have lost games that we should not have lost, not for one particular reason, but for a myriad reasons, but we cannot, and will not, dwell on those. We have a barrage of injuries right now, but we have to fight and will keep working hard until we turn things around, and we are confident that we will," the former tough-tackling central defender said.
The injuries that Price spoke about are to some of their most influential players.
"We have a rash of injuries, which include Michael Campbell, Phillip Peddie, Jameil Hardware, Daemion Benjamin, and defender Kirk Thomas," Price disclosed.
The above situation could plunge the average coach or supporter into a bout of depression, especially when looked at in the context of Boys' Town earning just one point from a possible 15 in their last five matches. That translates to four losses and one draw. The next worst record over that time belongs to Harbour View, who won one and lost four.
Attacker Peddie was supposed to at least partially make up for the departure of Shamar Nicholson, Boys' Town main supplier for the past three seasons, who now plays professionally in Europe. Recent national player Hardware emerged as the team's most valuable player, but Price, displaying the spirit of his club, believes in a positive outcome.
GOING ALL OUT
"The last time we played them, just recently, in the first round, it was an entertaining 1-1 draw. We will be playing with all-out might in this game to achieve a better, if not similar, result.
"We know that we are going to be playing a very confident Waterhouse team, especially with them beating UWI recently. We are ready for the task and will put the best team that we have available out there," added Price, whose team pulled off the great escapee of surviving the drop last season.
As Price said, they will be coming up against a truly motivated team, guided by Donovan Duckie, who took over after the departure of Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey. After having a number of close shaves, including the 1-1 first round draw with Boys' Town, Duckie must now be confident that his team is ready for take-off.
Last week's goalscorer, Kemar Beckford, should play a big role as will Tremaine Stewart, Andrae McFarlane, and, possibly, Rodico Wellington. Boys' Town, on the other hand, will look to Xavian Virgo, Rafeik Thomas, and Wayne Ellis.
At Frome, Reno will be looking to make home advantage count this time around, while Portmore United will be aiming to go one better in this rematch with Montego Bay United.
Tivoli Gardens should be fancied to get the better of Sandals South Coast at home, while UWI will be looking to avenge their first-round loss to Harbour View. Harbour View, for their part, will be seeking to end their losing run at four.
- 3 p.m.: Boys' Town vs Waterhouse - Barbican Stadium
- 3 p.m.: Reno vs Cavalier - Frome Complex
- 3 p.m.: Portmore United vs Montego Bay United - Prison Oval
- 3 p.m.: Tivoli Gardens vs Sandals South Coast - Edward Seaga Complex
- 3 p.m.: UWI FC vs Harbour View - UWI Mona, Bowl
- 8:35 p.m.: Arnett Gardens vs Humble Lion - Anthony Spaulding Complex