Nodley Wright, Freelance Writer
AFTER A two-week break from the full schedule of the Wray and Nephew National Premier League, play resumes today with five matches and the usual teams battling for top positions with four rounds to go.
Today, there are no real top clashes but instead matches of interest. The matches of interest see the top two teams, Harbour View, ahead on goal difference, and Waterhouse playing away from home to Wadadah and Reno respectively. Both home teams have surprised top teams when they visit and today could be just right for such results.
If Harbour View and Waterhouse come out with similar results, then the latter will fancy their chances more as they host Harbour View in the final game of the season.
Harbour View are no longer the team they were in the first and second rounds of the season when they led by as many as 15 points and it appeared that victory for them was just a formality.
STILL A SERIOUS TEAM
On paper, they still have a deeper team than Wadadah despite the departure of their top striker, Luton Shelton. In Fabian Taylor, Kevin King, Kemar Peterkin and Richard West, they have capable forwards. Lovel Palmer has also produced from midfield.
Just being above the relegation zone should provide Wadadah with enough motivation to take the game to Harbour View and if Daniel Ricketts plays and does so at the top of his game and the likes of Rojan Reid, Jermaine Anderson and Markeino Gillings, follow suit, then Harbour View could be in trouble.
Reno, while their form has been patchy at best this season, have a good record at home. It is that pride in their record and that of staying in the Premier League that could see them putting the brakes on Waterhouse. This even without head coach Eaton Bruce.
Bruce's deputy, Aaron Lawrence, who has now taken charge has indicated that his charges will not be distracted.
"Bruce's absence will not affect the team," Lawrence said. "We have players who understand the importance of keeping their heads and performing on the day. We are focused on what we want to achieve and we will. Yes, Bruce will be missed, but we have to do what we have to do," Lawrence said.
Of the opposition he said: "We always play a tough game when we play a tough team. We always rise to the occasion and we will do no different against Waterhouse."
Reno, Lawrence said, made a vow not to lose any more matches at Frome for the season and intend not to break it.
Among the players who have stood out for Reno this season is defender Keneil Moodie and he will have to be at his best to keep Kevin Lamey, the competition's joint leading scorer, in check. Moodie should get good support from schoolboys Duwayne Kerr (goalkeeper), defender Dwayne Williams and midfielder Josimar Crooks.
Waterhouse's coach, Wayne Fairclough, will not change the offensive approach of his team for today's game.
"Playing Reno at their home where they have had a good record simply means that we have to play positive attacking football, while at the same time not let up defensively if we are to get the full three points which we need," said the man who has presided over Waterhouse's whittling away of Harbour View's big lead.
The only thing to fear in a game such as today's, Fairclough reasoned, was a loss of concentration which could be brought about by the lay off from the league and Reno's lowly position. But Fairclough has no worries about that.
"The level of concentration is very high right now. For about the past two weeks we have been doing a lot of work on maintaining a positive attitude on and off the field and that psychological work has been paying off," he said.
With that being the case, Fairclough's only problem could be choosing his final 11 as, according to him, everyone is fit and ready. Whatever Fairclough decides, Lamey and Jomo Gordon should definitely see action as well as midfielders Demar Phillips, Vincent Earle and Irvino English. Defender Craig White should also be another certain starter.
TODAY'S GAMESReno vs Waterhouse at Frome 3:30 p.m.Rivoli vs Tivoli Gardens at Prison Oval 3:30 p.m.Portmore United vs Village United at Ferdie Neita Park 3:30 p.m.Seba United vs Arnett Gardens at Jarrett Park 5:30 p.m.Wadadah vs Harbour View 7:30 p.m.
|Teams ||P ||W ||D ||L ||GF ||GA ||GD ||Pts|
|Harbour View ||29 ||18 ||5 ||6 ||46 ||23 ||23 ||59|
|Waterhouse ||29 ||17 ||8 ||4 ||49 ||30 ||19 ||59|
|Portmore United ||29 ||11 ||14 ||4 ||38 ||25 ||13 ||47|
|Tivoli Gardens ||29 ||13 ||6 ||9 ||46 ||34 ||12 ||45 |
|Village United ||30 ||12 ||9 ||9 ||47 ||38 ||7 ||45|
|Boys' Town ||29 ||10 ||11 ||8 ||33 ||28 ||5 ||41|
|Arnett Gardens ||29 ||9 ||8 ||12 ||34 ||40 ||-6 ||35|
|Seba United ||30 ||9 ||8 ||13 ||38 ||42 ||-4 ||35|
|Reno ||29 ||7 ||9 ||13 ||22 ||30 ||-8 ||30|
|Wadadah ||29 ||7 ||9 ||13 ||33 ||48 ||-15 ||30|
|Constant Spring ||29 ||3 ||15 ||11 ||24 ||42 ||-18 ||24|
|Rivoli United ||29 ||2 ||12 ||15 ||22 ||49 ||-27 ||18|