Cellar dwellers in big Premier League clash
Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
While the newly-promoted Savannah are flying high and fellow newcomers Cavalier have shown that they are not out of place in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), second-year teams Montego Bay United and Highgate United are finding the going much tougher.
Montego Bay United, one of the most entertaining teams last season, especially in the second half of the season, are winless and rooted at the foot of the table without a point while Highgate, their opponents today, are a place above them on two points after two draws, but are still to score a goal. Both camps contend that today is the day that things will turn around.
"One could look at us and say that not much has changed in the way we started, as last year we started slowly as well. This year, there has been a lot of distractions, some of them outside of football, which have caused the players to not perform to their best," club president Orville Powell said.
"We have come over here (Catherine Hall) to train and have been turned back, which could not have been good for us. Catherine Hall is a different surface to what we are used to training on and even the game against Tivoli Gardens, we were touching the surface the same time as they did. We were like strangers on our own home ground and that cannot be," Powell said, pointing to possible reasons for his team's slow start this season.
All that is in the past now and Powell expects a much better showing today.
"It is sorted out now so things can only get better. The real work has started and this game is a critical one, and it is just for us to go and take care of business now," he added.
Besides the speedy Bahamian Lesley St Fleur, who first lit up the League at Sporting Central in the first half of the season, Montego United will be counting on the services of players from the wider Caribbean.
"In addition to St Fleur, we have two Guyanese players - Sean Devonish, a central midfielder, as the coach felt we needed improvement in the central midfield and goalkeeper Richard Reynolds," Powell said.
These players, along with new captain Fabian MacCarthy, Allan Ottey, Omar Gordon, national goalkeeper Jacomena Barrett and his national teammate Keneil Moodie, could play key roles for the Montego Bay-based team.
"We expect a tough game. We need a win and MoBay need to get off the mark also. The most important thing for us is to go there and get a result," said Highgate United's Calvin Lewis.
Carlos Barrett and Roberto Fletcher are expected to feature, but Lewis revealed that he will give the unknown at this level, Dennis Neish, another run-out.
"Neish was our leading scorer in the Super League when the team was promoted. Maybe other coaches did not have faith in him, but I know what he can do; he started against Arnett last week and will start again," Lewis said of the man he described as a two-footed goal poacher.
At Frome Sports Complex Savannah could cement their place at the top of the table with a win over seventh place Tivoli Gardens, while Portmore United will seek to continue their winning run when they travel to Clarendon to face Sporting Central in an "unofficial derby".
3:30 p.m: Savannah vs Tivoli Gardens - Frome Sports Complex
3:30 p.m: Sporting Central vs Portmore United - Brancourt
6 p.m: Waterhouse vs Cavalier - Drewsland Stadium
6:30 p.m: Harbour View vs Humble Lion - Harbour View Stadium
6:30 p.m: Montego Bay United vs Highgate United - Catherine Hall Complex
9 p.m: Arnett Gardens vs Boys' Town - Anthony Spaulding Complex
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