Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Waterhouse have been more like firehouse since the return of coach Donovan Duckie to the touchlines following illness towards the end of the first round of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).
Having scorched almost every team in their way to remain the only unbeaten team in the second round of the competition, the major or only worry for coach Duckie at this time is to guard against overconfidence when they host another team on the rise, Montego Bay United. Following their most recent win, a 4-2 beating of Arnett Gardens at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, Duckie was like a child who got all he needed for Christmas. That is how pleased he was.
"We have to be mindful of being overconfident, that will hurt us," Duckie said ahead of today's clash.
"For us, playing against these in-form teams is more psychological, we have to deal with the mental aspect of the game," he added.
What would make Duckie a fine Christmas present would be for his team to put on a similar display against Montego Bay United and preserve their unbeaten run.
"We just want to be grounded; we are doing well and it is important not to lose the game against Montego Bay. We are home and it is a league format, so we will definitely be playing to win," added the man who has made his three forwards, joint-leading scorer Jermaine Anderson, captain André Clennon and Gary McIntosh happy.
The Dean Weatherly-coached Montego Bay United should be no pushovers either in terms of the quality of football that will be played in their physicality. Weatherly is regarded as one of the best shapers of talent in the country, with a number of players graduating from his coaching at Cornwall College and making their way to the national set-up. The band of youthful players at Montego Bay United with a few experienced players is perfect for him.
"I have no problem with the physical aspect of their (Waterhouse) game, as in football that is a part of it; where you find teams that try to bully their way through.
"If you make them get on top of you and allow that, as with any bully, you definitely will be in a lot of problems. It is a game that we can't allow ourselves to be bullied by them. We can be bullies in our own right and will definitely have to stand up to anything they come up with," stated the man who has steadied the Montego Bay United ship after they looked like going under Brazilian Neider dos Santos.
What could also be seen as a disadvantage for Montego Bay United is the fact that their most prolific scorer, Lesley St Fleur, has returned home before the league's Christmas break for holidays. But while St Fleur is away, Dino Williams, who recently returned from the United States where he played in the 'A' League, will definitely play.
Williams, who represented Village last season, scored frequently for them but had little help in the fight to keep them up. At Montego Bay United, the likes of Allan Ottey and Brian Brown should help to shoulder the goalscoring burden until St Fleur's return.
Overall leaders Harbour View sitting on 37 points, seven ahead of Waterhouse and three behind them in third in the second round, appear to be finding their rhythm once more and should be favoured to get the better of Cavalier and set themselves up for their second successive end-of-round final. While Harbour View should win, a similar scoreline to the first-round 4-0 mauling should not be expected.
Cavalier are a battling team but they appear to be just a little bit short in the manpower that would be needed to get the better of Harbour View even though Stadium East is their home ground. In fact, the quality Stadium East surface should suit Jermaine Hue and Harbour View's passing game. Former Harbour View representative Claudious Blackburn will give his all for Cavalier but he will need the likes of Mitchily Waul, another former Harbour View player, to support him.
Defending champions Portmore United could be considering themselves unlucky after their heart-breaking final-minute loss to Harbour View last week. They should, however, not hang their heads as they held their own in a very good match. Coach André Waugh has them playing a good brand of football and if the experienced head of Damian Williams can steady the likes of Andrew Vanzie and Ewan Grandison around him, then even the improved Tivoli Gardens will find it tough at Ferdie Neita Park.
Tivoli Gardens are in with a good chance of setting themselves up for the end-of-round final with Dane Kelly finding the net once more and Navion Boyd looking back to his best, but Portmore United will offer much more than Savannah, Humble Lion and Highgate did, especially at home.
That Sporting Central Academy have talented players is not in question. What is, is their desire. Home advantage should be on their side today and with Levaughn Williams showing an appetite for goals again, once the chances are created, and this seems likely with Arnett's woeful defending, they could finish positively. Arnett Gardens, but for their defending, have been playing well under Calvin Lewis and in order for them to return to winning ways or not to lose, that aspect of their game will have to be tightened.
At Drax Hall, the Michael Smith-coached Highgate United should continue their fight to keep their slim chances of survival alive when they host the sinking Savannah, who despite the best efforts of Everton Tomlinson, president of the Westmoreland Football Association, appear destined for the drop. Savannah are still winless in the second round and have shown no signs of winning anything this round. If they manage to pull off the upset win, they would only succeed in pulling Highgate closer to them and possibly help them to fall together.
3 p.m: Boys' Town FC vs Humble Lion - Collie Smith Complex
5 p.m: Cavalier vs Harbour View - Stadium East
3 p.m: Highgate United vs Savannah - Drax Hall Sports Complex
7 p.m: Portmore United vs Tivoli Gardens - Ferdie Neita Park
3 p.m: Sporting Central vs Arnett Gardens - Brancourt
6 p.m: Waterhouse vs Montego Bay United - Waterhouse Stadium