Top two set to continue close battle
Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
While having no chance of winning the 2009/2010 Digicel Premier League (DPL), St Georges Sports Club and Village United will be relishing their spoiler power today as they host the two contenders, Harbour View and Tivoli Gardens respectively.
With each team having four remaining games and just one point separating the top two, neither can afford to drop a point. Harbour View could have the tougher of the two matches as they journey to Portland to challenge host St Georges at Lynch Park in the battle of the east.
Lynch Park is no longer a fortress but Harbour View can expect no favours as St Georges are intent on finishing the season as close to the top as possible according to coach Braxton Hyre. Team captain, Jermaine Taylor, sat out almost an entire season because of a dispute with Harbour View and damaging their title chances could be a way of making them pay.
In the three DPL matches between the two teams, Harbour View have won twice including a 2-0 win at Lynch Park while the third was drawn. In their last meeting, the Flow Champions Cup quarter-final St Georges came out on top 2-1 at Harbour View.
Tivoli Gardens, one point behind Harbour View on 66 but with a goal difference of eight points have not dropped a point to Village all season and should be confident - even quietly - of continuing in that same vein. Coach Lenworth Hyde was, however, very cautious in his look ahead to the game.
Expecting a very good game
"Village have been playing very well of late so we are expecting a very good game from them at their home," Hyde said.
"What we have to do is to go about our job in a very disciplined manner because, as you know, the top of the table is very tight and it is very important that we get as many points as possible," he added.
In their three matches for the season Tivoli Gardens have defeated Village United 2-0, 3-0 at Elliston Wakeland Centre (site of today's game) and 4-0. In addition to improving the margin of victory in each game, Tivoli Gardens will have a fully fit squad to choose from. Roland Dean injured for much of the season is back in good shape while Irvino English who missed the last game against Waterhouse is back in contention. Both should add good support to the likes of Navion Boyd, Keammar Daley and the steady Jerry Walters who patrols midfield.
Village on the other hand while benefiting from the allround play of captain Troy Smith and the goal scoring of Dino Williams, key ingredients in their revival after the January transfer window, they will be without the very solid Ryan Cooper in goal. That could be very costly.
Fresh from defending their Flow Champions Cup Knock Out title last week in a game in which they showed character to claw their way from behind twice, Boys' Town could once again be ready to put on a show when they travel to Drewsland to face Waterhouse. Waterhouse though will not want to lose their grip on third place and a loss to fifth-place Boys' Town would not be on the cards for them. In their last game against Tivoli Gardens at Railway, Waterhouse having infused a number of youngsters in their line-up gave the home team a run for their money. They would not want to dip below that level, especially at home.
At the bottom of the table the battle is just as hot with teams fighting to beat the drop. Here, in the clash of the promoted teams, Humble Lion and August Town, will take centre stage at Effortville, Clarendon. The Christopher Bender-coached Humble Lion have improved since the January transfer window and only narrowly missed the safety of the top six. They have proven difficult to beat at home but the Onandi Lowe-coached August Town have been expressing confidence especially after winning the Jackie bell Knock Out trophy just over a week ago.
If August Town are to get the better of Humble Lion then Fabian Dawkins, who has returned to goal scoring form, will be key but in Shawn Sawyers, Humble Lion have one of, it not the best goalkeeper in the competition. The hard-running Kimroy Davis could also be influential for the home team.
- 3:30 p.m: Village United FC vs Tivoli Gardens FC - Elliston Wakeland Centre
- 6:00 p.m: Waterhouse FC vs Boys Town FC - Drewsland Stadium
- 6:30 p.m: St Georges SC vs Harbour View FC - Lynch Park
- 3:30 p.m: Humble Lion FC vs August Town FC - Effortville Community Centre
- 5:00 p.m: Arnett Gardens FC vs Rivoli United FC - Anthony Spaulding Complex
- 3:30 p.m: Portmore United FC vs Sporting Central Academy - Ferdie Neita Park