A day for exciting RSPL clashes - Spotlight on Portmore vs Tivoli Gardens, Cavalier vs Mount Pleasant
After a week in which five of the six games ended in draws, week eight of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) is poised to kick off today with a number of exciting matches.
In action today are defending champions and top-place Portmore United who host Tivoli Gardens, who are a point behind in the tightly packed 12-team league. Last week, the much fancied Portmore United had to come from behind, with a Rondee Smith goal, to share the points at home to UWI FC.
This week, they will again be home to the Omar Edwards-coached Tivoli Gardens and will not want to drop any more points. Tivoli Gardens themselves were held to a 1-1 draw at home as the struggling Harbour View hit back on the stroke of half-time to share the points.
Portmore United, who are guided by Shavar Thomas, a man who has represented and captained the country at all levels, will want to show that last week's performance was a mere slip-up. If this is to be achieved, then their key players such as captain Ricardo Thomas, Jovan East and company will have to support Smith, who is in rich form this season.
Tivoli Gardens have been mainly carried by Calarado Murray due to the absence of the injured veteran Jermaine Johnson and AndrÈ Moulton, as well as the departure of Elton Thompson to Harbour View. Howard Morris has been good for them and their chances will be helped by a fit Tevin Shaw and the confident Junior McGregor.
NEW PEOPLE'S FAVOURITES
Action at Stadium East should be no less exciting as the aesthetically pleasing and youthful Cavalier will host the new people's favourites, Mount Pleasant FC. The St Ann-based team, who are playing their first season among the big boys, have not looked out of place, and their third place - they sit behind Tivoli Gardens on goal difference - is evidence of that. But while they have claimed big scalps, their two losses have been at home to teams who were previously winless and in the bottom half of the table.
Mount Pleasant shopped well in the off season with Cardel Benbow, Kemar Beckford, Ricardo Campbell, Romario Campbell, Ricardo Dennis and Evan Taylor a few of the players coming in. Cavalier are led by the rejuvenated Chevone Marsh who has a return to the national set-up in his sights, and another quality performance could earn him a recall. Marsh will be partnered by the skilful Alex Marshall, Nicholas Hamilton and Leonardo Rankine, who is growing in confidence.
In their last encounter, Cavalier played to a 1-1 away draw with Dunbeholden and will want to give their fans, though small in numbers, something to rejoice about. Mount Pleasant, on the other hand, will want to banish memories of last week's loss to Humble Lion. They have been good on the road and could be looking forward to this game.
Ninth- and 10th-place Dunbeholden and Reno will continue their quest of climbing up the table when they meet today at Frome, knowing that advancement will be at the other's expense. Humble Lion and Harbour View are separated by a point, and three points today will be like a prized possession. Humble Lion, by virtue of their win last week and the fact that they are playing at home, should start favourites but the fighting spirit and quality of Harbour View cannot be underestimated.
- 5 p.m: Cavalier vs Mount Pleasant - Stadium East
- 3 p.m: Reno vs Dunbeholden - Frome Sport Complex
- 3 p.m: Humble Lion vs Harbour View - Effortville Community Centre
- 3 p.m: Portmore United vs Tivoli Gardens - Spanish Town Prison Oval
- 3 p.m: UWI FC vs Waterhouse - UWI Mona Bowl
- 8:35 p.m.: Arnett Gardens vs Montego Bay United - Anthony Spaulding Complex
Teams P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Portmore 7 4 2 1 11 5 6 14
Tivoli 7 4 1 2 7 4 3 13
Mt Pleasant 7 4 1 2 7 5 2 13
Cavalier 7 3 2 2 12 8 4 11
UWIFC 7 3 2 2 8 5 3 11
Arnett 7 3 1 3 9 10 -1 10
Waterhouse 7 2 3 2 9 6 3 9
M.United 7 2 3 2 6 10 -4 9
Dunbeholden 7 2 1 4 6 8 -2 7
Reno 7 2 1 4 3 8 -5 7
H. Lion 7 1 3 3 7 9 -2 6
H.View 7 1 2 4 6 13 -7 5