Arnett, BT in big clash

Published: Sunday | October 18, 2009

LEFT: Boys' Town's Calvin Escobar
RIGHT: Kevin King of Arnett Gardens

Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sport

HAVING been jolted by the tragic passing of national and Tivoli Gardens midfielder/defender Oraine Simpson at midweek, fellow footballers and clubs will be looking to refocus in their hunt for maximum points, in today's Digicel Premier League.

Understandably, Tivoli Gardens have asked and got a deserved postponement for an away fixture at Harbour View, as the players battle to come to grips with the passing of their teammate, who succumbed to a knife wound in a domestic dispute within his community.

Among the remaining five fixtures, there are a couple of high-profile match-ups among traditional rivals Portmore United and Waterhouse; and neighbours Arnett Gardens and Boys' Town, who will be involved in a Trench Town derby.

Portland's St Georges Sports Club, too, will get a chance to regain the lead when hosting Rivoli at Lynch Park where they have been so deadly.

Best results at home

Humble Lions have also produced their best results at home, but should face a stern test against a Village team looking to rebound from a huge loss - 0-4 at Tivoli last Sunday.

August Town have been poor home and away and will hope the change of venue to Barbican playing field will bring some luck. Frankly, they will need more than good fortune to deny Sporting Central Academy.

Both Waterhouse and Arnett Gardens are looking to continue their resurgence, following horrible openings. Waterhouse were pointless after their first five matches, losing four on the field and the other in the boardroom. Arnett, in the meantime, lost all their four opening fixtures.

Since then, both teams have notched two victories.

Waterhouse scored back-to-back successes over fellow strugglers Arnett (2-0) and last week at debutants Humble Lions (2-1), who, incidentally, also have six points.

Arnett Gardens, too, have earned wins against teams in the lower half of the standings, 3-1 at Rivoli and 4-1 over bottom-placed August Town in their last fixture.

The fact that the duo have won against teams not exhibiting great form does not mean that they cannot win this afternoon.

However, the prospects are much steeper.

What must be noted is that all four teams registered wins on their last outing as Portmore United, who were dethroned last season by the narrowest of margins, netted a 1-0 success at Sporting Central Academy, a team full of youth and quality.

After drafting a balanced slate in their first four matches, and even a loss at Humble Lions, Boys' Town got on the board with a huge victory, toppling defending champions and leaders Tivoli Gardens 2-0.

For the most part last season, the Red Brigade had the better of exchanges between the teams whose home grounds are located just a minute apart, if you're driving, on Collie Smith Drive.

Bragging rights

It speaks loudly to bragging rights, as well as the crucial points they are seeking to close a wide early-season gap held by Tivoli, who have nine more than Boys' Town and 10 above Arnett, with only seven rounds gone.

Both teams have many players capable of winning matches. For Boys' Town though, the cast of Michael Campbell, Peter Keyes, Renae Lloyd, Shawn McKoy and Co. have not been hitting the target often, resulting in a meagre four-goal tally in six outings, as their fixture last week was rained out.

Contrastingly, Arnett Gardens have done a fair bit of scoring, netting nine goals in its seven matches, a tally bettered only by Tivoli's 15.

However, the Junglists have been woeful defensively, conceding 11 goals. Tightening up on ball-winning and attempts on goal must surely be Arnett's major goal, though they will be hoping to get an extension on the type of finishing displayed by Kevin King last week, when he bagged a hat-trick. Leon Strickland, Kevin Wilson and Kwame Richardson are all capable strikers in their right and they will be looking to make a mark too in this tough contest.

Degree of difficulty

The degree of difficulty is just as steep for winning the other big match-up. Portmore, who are handily placed at 12 - just four points off the lead - have not hit their stride yet, with just six goals on the cards. However, they have generally been efficient and will be trying to make that advantage count, mainly through contributions from Roen Nelson, Steve Morrissey, Wolry Wolfe, Kevin Deerr and Anthony Modeste.

Waterhouse's scoring has not been hot, the four goals in their past two matches numbering among six in seven games this season. Their defending had been off in the earlier matches also, but if they continue to improve in both areas, with quality players like Kevin Lamey, Jermaine Anderson, Irvino English, Damion Williams and Desmond Breakenridge on call, they are sure to make the match worthy of its top billing.

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