Rebounding Tivoli target Boys' Town scalp
Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Defending champions Tivoli Gardens will seek to continue their revival in the Red Stripe Premier League when they take on neighbours Boys' Town in another western Kingston derby at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex. Game time is 7 p.m.
Last Thursday night, Tivoli Gardens took care of business with a 2-0 win over Arnett Gardens, also neighbours and a team that had previously beaten them in their last two meetings - once in the league and the other in the knockout, both away from home.
Thursday's victory put them back on the winning track and saw them close the gap on leaders Portmore United to just six points, while second-place Waterhouse are just three points ahead.
After a poor run in the first half of the second round, Tivoli Gardens regained the footing towards the end and have carried that over into the third round which, according to assistant coach Alvin Shaw, is the business round.
"The third round is where you really make your mark. Today's game is another derby game coming after Thursday, and it will be another hard one, but we expect that (a victory), as at this stage, one expects nothing less," said Shaw who stood in for head coach Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey in their last game.
Expecting tivoli to deliver
Shaw expects his team to deliver once more, even though they will be without key players Mario Swaby in midfield and defender Damion Gordon.
"Swaby and Gordon, both key players, will be out, but as you know, we have good replacements. We have a deep squad to call on and the good thing is that the players are really motivated right now," added Shaw, who also stated that Bailey will be back on the bench today.
Expected to lead the charge today for Tivoli Gardens are the impressive Romeo Parkes, who has found the back of the net five times in five games, and Navion Boyd, both of whom are expected to battle for places in Jamaica's squad to face Cuba in a friendly international on February 22. Dane Kelly and the rejuvenated Christopher Nicholas could also be called on from the bench.
Andrew Price's Boys' Town have battled their way back to respectability in the league, but unlike Tivoli Gardens, they have not been able to find one standout goalscorer, with captain Michael Campbell their best producer so far with six. Their next best is Jermaine Allen with three. But while they may not hit the back of the net regularly, the likes of Renae Lloyd and O'Neil Thompson could pop up at any time to deliver.
National defender Xavian Virgo has also returned to full fitness, and the likes of Marvin Morgan Jr and Anthony Bennett are also expected to improve Boys' Town's chances of a victory. The last time both teams met, Tivoli Gardens emerged 3-1 winners, but their first encounter of the season was a 2-2 draw.
Leaders Portmore United should be fancied to get the better of a fighting Highgate despite the latter's handsome 3-0 victory over Harbour View in midweek on the strength of strikes from veterans Roberto Fletcher and Steve Green.
Reno suffered at the hands of one of their former players in midweek, which pulled them into the relegation zone. Harbour View are not in danger as yet, but another loss to less-fancied opponents could really get them thinking.
Village United claimed one scalp from Clarendon in midweek with a strike from Dino Williams, the competition's leading scorer, but the relegation zone-rooted team will come up against a more cohesive and focused unit in Humble Lion, who have eyes on the title.
Both Sporting Central and Arnett Gardens have repair jobs to do, and without a change in focus, they could both find themselves in the struggle for survival once more.
Monday night's sole game should be a football treat if both teams play to their ability. Montego Bay United, on a 14-game unbeaten run, are fighting to cement themselves in the top half of the table, while Waterhouse, under the guidance of coach Donovan Duckie, are gunning for the top spot.
7 p.m. - Boys' Town FC vs Tivoli Gardens FC at Anthony Spaulding Complex
7 p.m. - Portmore United FC vs Highgate United FC at Ferdie Neita Park
6:30 p.m. - Harbour View FC vs Reno FC at Harbour View Mini-stadium
3 p.m. - Village United FC vs Humble Lion FC at Elliston Wakeland Centre.
3 p.m. - Sporting Central Academy vs Arnett Gardens FC at Brancourt
9 p.m. - Waterhouse FC vs Montego Bay United FC at Drewsland Stadium.
Standings in the National Premier League (Tabulated under Teams, P-Play, W-Win, D-Draw, L-Lose, GF-Goals For, GA-Goals Against, GD-Goal Difference, Pts-Points and T/PTS-Total Points.