Tue | Oct 16, 2018

UWI take aim at Portmore - Race for top six spots hits high gear

Published:Sunday | February 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMNodley Wright

Portmore United are sitting pretty at the top of the Red Stripe Premier League table with a lead of 12 points and six matches to go. With that lead, their form and the composition of their squad, it seems improbable that any team will catch them, but that has not prevented UWI FC from setting their sights on cutting them down.

Now in their third season among the top-flight teams, UWI FC are in danger of finishing out of the top six - a first - which would rule them out of the playoffs, and this is something that does not sit well with coach Marcel Gayle. The man who led them to the promised land of the RSPL and who has seen them finish higher each season, will be pulling out all the stops today against the leaders and favourites, Portmore United.

"We all have flaws, and Portmore United are no different. They are an excellent team, but they have flaws, and we intend to exploit them," the positive Gayle told The Sunday Gleaner.

"This is a very important game for us. As you can see, we are one of three teams on 36 points, and Montego Bay United are just a point above us on 37, so the top six is within reach.

"What we have to do is to take care of our business and let everything else fall into place. Yes, Portmore United are the leaders and their qualities are obvious, but we have been playing good football, but we have not been finishing as we should. We are working on it, and the results will come," Gayle promised.

Portmore United's Shavar Thomas acknowledged the quality of the UWI FC team and the value of the game to them.

"We are coming up against a tough team. It is one of the few teams with quality in every position," Thomas said of UWI FC.

He added: "At this point, they are chasing to get into the top six, and that being said, we are ready for the challenge and are, in fact, looking forward to it."

Despite the fact that they have a comfortable lead, Thomas said that all his players have remained focused and sharp and that nothing will be taken for granted. His squad, which includes national representatives Ewan Grandison, Ricardo Morris, goalkeeper Shaven-Sean Paul, Jovan East, and Maalique Foster are all fit and ready for battle.

 

KNIGHT TO LEAD

 

UWI FC, on the other hand, will be looking to national goalkeeper Amal Knight to lead them, and he should be supported by Andre Bernal, Fabian McCarthy, Ryan Miller, and Patrick Brown.

In another battle for a top-six position, the rejuvenated Montego Bay United will play away to third-place Tivoli Gardens. A win for the fifth-place visitors will strengthen their hand on a playoff spot. Harbour View, another contender for a top six position, will visit Barbican to take on the already relegated Boys' Town. With Boys' Town reputation as fighters, Harbour View should not expect them to fold.

Reno are also in with a chance of making the playoffs, and they will be looking to make their home advantage count when they host second-place Arnett Gardens, while a win for 10th-place Humble Lion over the visiting Cavalier will all but put the final nail in Sandals South Coast's relegation coffin.

 

Today's Games

 

- 3:30 p.m. Boys' Town FC vs Harbour View FC at Barbican Stadium

- 3:30.p.m. FC Reno vs Arnett Gardens FC at Frome Complex

- 3:30 p.m. Humble Lion FC vs Cavalier FC at Effortville Community Centre

- 3:30 p.m. Tivoli Gardens FC vs Montego Bay United FC at Edward Seaga Complex

- 3:30 p.m. UWI FC vs Portmore United FC at UWI Mona Bowl

 

Tomorrow's Game

 

- 8:35 p.m. Waterhouse FC vs Sandals South Coast FC @ Drewsland Stadium