Relegation battle at Barbican
Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) will return in full swing today after a short break with the bottom-of-the-table clash taking centre stage in this the final game of the second round.
Promoted teams, Reno and Barbican, find themselves looking up at the teams they joined in the Premier League at the start of the season and will be out to inflict as much damage as possible to each other as they seek to save their skins. Both teams are separated by just one point and each camp knows that a loss could be detrimental to its chances of survival.
"It is a going to be a very tough game because both teams are fighting relegation. Reno need to get back to winning ways to fight relegation and, in terms of our position, we need a win even more than Reno," Barbican coach Marvin Tate said of today's matchup.
"We have not shown our best team and have not won any silverware, while Reno are the Flow Cup knockout champions," continued Tate, who recently took over the coaching role, as he compared both teams.
In his brief stint at the club, Tate has led Barbican to a win over former champions Harbour View, a draw with Tivoli Gardens before losing 1-0 to the high-riding Arnett Gardens. Barbican's biggest moment under Tate's watch, however, was their 2-0 win over Harbour View in the Jackie Bell Knockout semi-final to earn a spot against Waterhouse.
That result should improve the first-time Premier League participants' belief and confidence.
"This game is an opportunity for us to move off the bottom of the table. We will move into 11th position with a win. We will treat it as a final and will, in fact, treat every game after this as final.
"Speaking with them yesterday, they realise that if we win all our games we could sneak into the semi-finals," explained Tate.
For Reno's assistant coach Godfrey Drummond, the man who led the team back to the Premier League after another stint in the lower leagues, their current position is nothing to worry about.
"Things are looking pretty good." Drummond said confidently.
"We had a break and used that to continue our preparation, and that went pretty well. We are confident that we will do the job. One of the pluses for us is that we got back some players like Orane Warren, who was abroad, Renario Downswell, who was injured, and Jashane Foster, who, like Warren, was overseas," Drummond added.
In addition to the returning players, Reno have been boosted by the recruitment of players such as Shonor Chattan from Savannah and Peter Morris, who was previously attached to Humble Lion and Cavalier. While not necessarily 'brand name' players, Drummond said they are competent and will contribute to the group.
"If you look at our results, you will see that we have not conceded a goal in our last four games, and in our last three we beat Boys' Town away, drew 0-0 with Cavalier and Sporting Central.
"What we are working on is plugging the defensive holes and keeping our shape. We have competent goalscorers like Craig Foster, the league's leading scorer, so we are not worried about that," Drummond said.
While Foster will be leading Reno's charge, Barbican will be looking to players such as Bebeto McDonald, Lennox Russell, captain Anthony Christie and goalkeeper Ashek Taylor.
- 3 p.m.: Barbican vs Reno - Barbican Complex
- 4:30 p.m.: Cavalier vs Boys Town - Stadium East
- 3 p.m.: Montego Bay United vs Tivoli Gardens - Wespow Park
- 4 p.m.: Rivoli United vs Harbour View - Prison Oval
- 3 p.m.: Sporting Central vs Waterhouse - Juici Park, Clarendon
- 8:30 p.m.: Humble Lion vs Arnett Gardens - Effortville Community Centre
P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Arnett 21 14 3 437 22 15 45
MoBay 21 10 6 5 27 13 14 36
W'house 21 11 5 5 31 12 19 38
H'View 21 9 7 5 28 20 8 34
Humble 21 8 5 8 21 19 2 29
Rivoli 21 8 5 8 31 33 -2 29
Tivoli 21 8 5 8 27 29 -2 29
Cavalier 21 6 6 9 13 15 -2 24
Boys' Twn216 5 10 22 31 -9 23
Sporting 21 6 3 12 23 34 -11 21
Reno 21 5 5 11 25 35 -10 20
Barbican 21 4 7 10 13 29 -18 19