Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Having passed the Waterhouse test, joint leaders Sporting Central could face a tricky examination when they host the promoted Savannah at Brancourt in one of five Red Stripe Premier League matches on today.
A win today would give the Clarendon team sole leadership of the competition as leaders on goal difference, Arnett Gardens, lie idle until tomorrow night when they travel to face the struggling Waterhouse. The last time Sporting Central had the opportunity to take over sole control of the League they lost away to Boys' Town in a below-par performance.
Playing at home, the now standard-bearers for the parish's football would be expected to do much better, especially with the talented Francois Swaby now seeming to be finding his shooting range. He should take some of the goalscoring pressure off Levaughn 'Country' Williams, the team's leading scorer. Midfield stabiliser Kadian Wynter, who suffered a concussion in his team's last game, could be missing but in Keith Kelly and his able assistants, Sporting have midfielders who will create goalscoring opportunities but finishing has been a problem for them.
Run out of steam
With a game in hand, the refreshing Savannah are sitting in sixth position despite being just three points off the leaders. Following their blazing start which saw them winning their first three matches, Savannah have run out of steam a bit after losing at home to Tivoli Gardens, before drawing their next match away through a goal from Fabian Blake.
In perhaps the match of the day, Boys' Town, who held the lead for a day, will host neighbours Tivoli Gardens, in the west Kingston derby at the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex.
Boys' Town go into this game with the record of winning all their home matches, and technically the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex is not their home, and the last time they played on it they gave up a 2-0 lead to Arnett Gardens and ended up losing 3-2.
"It is a home fixture, and whenever we play at home we are definitely looking for three points, and we will be looking for three points come Sunday, despite not actually playing at Collie Smith Drive," Boys' Town coach Andrew Price said of the fixture.
Tivoli Gardens' form is almost the opposite of Boys' Town, in that they have travelled very well this season, winning all their away matches. To get the better of them, Boys' Town will have to end that streak. Ending that streak will mean the shackling of Dane Kelly, the man who has emerged as their main goalscoring threat, even with Navion Boyd around. Boyd's presence in today's game is dependent on his recovery from a back complaint.
"Our team has been improving and I expect us to continue along that path, and I think you are going to see Tivoli at their best come Sunday," said Tivoli's assistant coach Alvin Shaw, whose team suffered an opening-day defeat at home to Arnett Gardens.
Tivoli's chances of victory will be greatly improved if the competition's leading scorer, Rafiek Thomas, can be kept quiet. Like his strike partner Romeo Parkes, Thomas previously played for Tivoli Gardens and likes scoring against them. Parkes shone for Tivoli Gardens in the second half of last season but is yet to get close to his best so far this season.
3:30 p.m.: Highgate United vs Humble Lion - Drax Hall Sports Complex
3:30 p.m.: Sporting Central vs Savannah - Brancourt
5:00 p.m.: Cavalier vs Montego Bay United - Stadium East
6:00 p.m.: Boys Town vs Tivoli Gardens - Anthony Spaulding Complex
7:00 p.m.: Portmore United vs Harbour View - Ferdie Neita Park
9:00 p.m: Waterhouse vs Arnett Gardens - Drewsland Stadium