Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Surprising leaders Humble Lion will step into the spotlight this weekend on a day of important matches on this the third week of action in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) when they go up against preseason favourites Waterhouse at Drewsland.
Last season's strugglers find themselves at the top of the table following victories over former champions Arnett Gardens and Portmore United and will want to knock off a third former champion to remain at the top of the table, and what will add a little spice to that is the fact there are a number of former Waterhouse players in their line-up and that they are coached by Geoffrey Maxwell, the man who rejuvenated the Waterhouse Football Club.
Nothing would mean more to Maxwell than to lead an unfancied team to victory over Waterhouse. Forwards and cousins Roberto and Jermaine Fletcher, who have previously represented Waterhouse and have this season both scored for Humble Lion, will be harbouring similar thoughts.
It will not be an easy task as Waterhouse will not want to lose their second successive match and especially at home. Marvin Morgan should be back in contention for a start, and the talismanic Jermaine Anderson must be thinking that his opening goal is overdue, while Romario Campbell will want to keep his name in national coach Winfried Schäfer's head and only a fine performance will do that.
Like Humble Lion, Cavalier are sitting at a place where very few expected them to be, but while it is still early, victories over Portmore United and Waterhouse are nothing to sniff at. A win away to the historic battlers Boys' Town will have football fans looking at them differently.
Boys' Town have managed to remain competitive since their return to top-flight football and based on coach Andrew Price's projections, they should have been ready to win the league. With limited funds to spend, they have been unable to keep some of their better players and attract new ones, but they will be counting on their fighting spirit. Renae Lloyd, captain Michael Campbell and company will be confident that they can get the better of Cavalier.
lacking in leadership
Portmore United appear anything but united and purposeful on the field, and anything but a win today against the promoted August Town could spell crisis. In their game against Humble Lion, the second of their two losses, Portmore United looked a team lacking in leadership and conviction until the veteran Damion Williams entered the game in the second half. His introduction fuelled the team with the lacking ingredients and had Humble Lion coach Geoffrey Maxwell worried. The former national coach spent the rest of the half barking out instructions for Williams to be marked.
If Paul Wilson and Ricardo Morris are fit enough to be involved, their presence could also improve the Portmore United team. With them in the mix, the attacking pair of Romeo Parkes and Levaughn Williams could get the service they need to be effective.
August Town, while not blessed with the biggest budget, have big hearts as evidenced by their performance against the more fancied Arnett Gardens last week. Richard Orrett was a good off-season signing and if his teammates rally around him, they could come away from the Ferdie Neita Park with something.
Of the two Gardens, Arnett and Tivoli, things look rosier for Tivoli. Despite failing to secure a win in their second game against Rivoli, Tivoli Gardens started the season with a win over Montego Bay United and look very positive in their approach. On the other hand Arnett Gardens have earned just one point after losing their first game and drawing the second, a game they were fancied to win, at home.
While Arnett Gardens lost Lamar Nelson to Waterhouse, they also acquired the dangerous Carlos Barrett and the powerful Andre Clennon who when integrated could be dangerous. Rohan Reid, a man loved and hated perhaps in equal measure in his time at Arnett Gardens, is now at Tivoli Gardens and will want to show them what they are missing.
Rivoli United have not looked out of place in the league having drawn both their matches so far. An away win over Sporting Central, today's opponents could raise their level of belief in themselves. Devon Hodges, their most known player, has not shown his sharpness in front of goal so far, and they will be hoping he gets going today.
Sporting Central started strongly before falling to Montego Bay United away from home. They will be viewing their return to their home, the site of their opening-day victory, as back to business.
3:30 p.m.: Humble Lion FC vs Waterhouse FC - Effortville Community Centre
3:30 p.m.: Sporting Central FC vs Rivoli United FC - Juici Patties Park
3:30 p.m.: August Town FC vs Portmore United FC - UWI Bowl
4:30 p.m.: Cavalier SC vs Boys' Town FC - Stadium East
5 p.m.: Tivoli Gardens FC vs Arnett Gardens FC - Edward Seaga Complex
6:30 p.m.: Harbour View FC vs Montego Bay United FC - Harbour View Stadium
P W D L GF GA GD PtsHumble Lion 2 2 0 0 3 0 3 6Cavalier 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 6Tivoli 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4MoBay Utd 2 1 0 1 2 1 1 3W'house 2 1 0 1 2 1 1 3Sporting 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3August Town 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2Rivoli 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2Arnett 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1Boys' Town 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1H View 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1Portmore 2 0 0 2 0 3 -3 0