Fans of the Red Stripe Premier League could not have asked for a better situation heading into this weekend's final set of second round games where six teams are competing for a place in the end of second round final.
Today's five games will involve five of those six teams while tomorrow night's game sees defending champions Portmore United, the other team with a chance, playing away to first round winners Boys' Town.
Of the five teams in with a chance of advancing and in action today, the promoted Cavalier are best placed as based on their goal difference, a point from their game against the embattled Highgate would be enough to see them through. A victory for Cavalier should be the result if the form book plays true. The St Mary-based Highgate have lost two of their most influential players in former captain and defensive rock Anthowe Dawkins who returned to Arnett Gardens and Roberto Fletcher who is reunited with coach Geoffrey Maxwell at Humble Lion.
Both Dawkins and Fletcher were key ingredients in Highgate's fine run at the beginning of the second round but since their departure in the transfer window Highgate have been winless from their two matches. Carlos Barrett also played a part in that run but unlike the other two he did not jump ship but stayed for the relegation fight. If Highgate are to get a positive result then Barrett will have something to do with it.
Cavalier will again look to Claudious Blackburn, who had an off night against Humble Lion on Monday last, goalkeeper Gariece McPherson and Girvon Brown. With Mitchily Waul, Gevaunie Samuda and Jeffrey Henry injured, newcomers Roy Forbes and Odaine Simpson may have to show their worth.
Despite their favourable position coach David Lalor still had a cautious outlook.
"I am confident that we have a good chance of getting there but we cannot take anything for granted," Lalor said of his team's chances following their win over Humble Lion.
beyond end of round final
While not trying to look past today's game and their opponents, Lalor said they were looking beyond the end of round final.
"We are looking at the bigger picture. I am hoping that you would be interviewing me at the end of the season, close it off as champions," he said.
Next in line for a place in the final are Montego Bay United who travel to face Savannah, who at this time will find it very difficult to beat the drop having earned their only point of the round so far in last week's game. In truth, Savannah have been unlucky in a number of their games. To come from 0-2 down away from home to draw with Boys' Town shows that there is still some fight in them but a Montego Bay United team featuring the likes of Lesley St Fleur, Leon Irving, Dino Williams and Allan Ottey should be too strong for them.
"We cannot afford to take any team for granted and the fact they drew with Boys' Town away from home shows that they are improving. They are playing at home so we will have to get our act together in order to beat them and earn that place in the final," Dr Dean Weatherly, coach of Montego Bay United, said of his team's chances following their 0-1 loss to Arnett Gardens on Sunday last.
On any other day, the clash between overall leaders Harbour View who are fourth in the second round, and Arnett Gardens, who are second in the round and a point above their opponents with 18, would be the feature game. Both teams are in with a chance of making it to the final but if both teams play to a draw, the likely result then is both could miss out providing Cavalier draw and Montego Bay United win.
Arnett Gardens chances have been strengthened by the arrival of Dawkins, Desmond Breakenridge and the return to fitness of Shawn Lawes and having not conceded a goal in the two matches that they have played but Harbour View with a number of their key players returning to fitness will be no pushovers.
6:30 p.m: Harbour View vs Arnett Gardens - Harbour View Stadium
3:00 p.m: Highgate United vs Cavalier - Drax Hall Sports Complex
3 p.m: Humble Lion vs Waterhouse - Effortville Community Centre
3 p.m: Savannah vs Montego Bay United - Frome Sports Complex
5 p.m: Tivoli Gardens vs Sporting Central - Edward Seaga Complex
9 p.m: Boys' Town FC vs Portmore United - Anthony Spaulding Complex
SECOND ROUND POINT STANDINGS
P W D L GF GA GD Pts