Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
After a short break to facilitate the end of second round final and parish competitions, the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) will resume today for what many consider the business round.
At the end of this round, the top-six teams, which will be guaranteed safety, will compete against each other in a half round while the remaining six will scrap for survival with the bottom two relegated.
Of the six games on today, the one which most readily catches the eye is the Harbour View/Montego Bay United clash which can be dubbed the stars of the east versus the pride of the west. For this 6:30 p.m. clash, the home team Harbour View go into the game with 45 points, eight ahead of their opponents. Overall, Harbour View have been the most consistent team this season borne out by the fact that they not only have the overall lead, but that they have been to the two end-of-round finals.
Harbour View should go into the start of this round in a very positive mood as they not only won the end of round final in convincing fashion over Cavalier which coach Vin Blaine said should serve as a nice fillip for his team this round, but the fact that they defended well, controlled the game and created many chances. The class of Jermaine Hue was already established but Evan Taylor played like a man close to his best form.
nothing for granted
Despite all that, Blaine made it clear that his charges will take nothing for granted.
"An eight-point lead is fickle, you lose two games straight and you are back to two points if the other teams close to you win.
We have to go in there with a positive frame of mind and know what our responsibilities are going into this third round," stated the no-nonsense Blaine who is in his first season as head coach of the club he co-founded.
In a bid to consolidate their lead, Harbour View have brought in the experienced national defender Xavian Virgo from Boys' Town, midfielder Nickoy Williams and the bright young forward Brian Brown from Montego Bay United.
The team shining the light for a region that boasts a proud tradition in the country's football, Montego Bay United are not to be taken lightly. Though they faltered towards the end of the second round which they ended with a loss to Savannah, Montego Bay United can beat any team when they are on song.
"The plan is still there to win the League but we have to dig in, put in some hard work and change a few things that we thought let us down in the last round and move forward," said coach Dean Weatherly in explaining his team's approach to this game and their plan for the round.
3 p.m: Boys' Town vs Cavalier - Collie Smith Complex
6:30 p.m: Harbour View vs Montego Bay United - Harbour View Stadium
3 p.m: Highgate United vs Waterhouse - Drax Hall Sports Complex
3 p.m: Humble Lion vs Sporting Central - Effortville Community Centre
7 p.m: Portmore United vs Savannah - Ferdie Neita Park
9 pm Tivoli Gardens vs Arnett Gardens - Edward Seaga Sports Complex