Sun | Nov 28, 2021

Relegation battle takes spotlight in RSPL - Last-place Reno only a point behind MoBay United and could drive a nail in each other’s relegation coffin with a win

Published:Sunday | March 3, 2019 | 12:00 AMNodley Wright - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Luciano Gama, coach of Montego Bay United.
Reno FC coach Godfrey Drummond

Another exciting series of matches will be on offer in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) today with the lower end of the table generating the most interest.

At that end of the table are situated former western Jamaica powerhouses-turned-relegation-battlers FC Reno and Montego Bay United. Last-place Reno are only a point behind Montego Bay United, and they could drive a nail in each other’s relegation coffin with a win.

Reno, despite their lowly place, have shown a lot of fight and quality, especially on the road. Attacking player Renorio Downswell has been coming up with important goals of late, but they just have not been enough. Montego Bay United recorded their first win in many moons and have given the Brazilian ‘messiah’, Luciano Gama, hope that he pull off the near miracle of saving them from the drop,

Godfrey Drummond has demonstrated that he is a top-quality student and educator, but he will have to find a way to get more out of his charges if Reno are to not only win today, but to stay alive. Over the past two seasons, they have, like Boys’ Town in the past, learnt the art of surviving against the odds, but this season has a different look to it.

Dino Williams, Montego Bay’s most influential player over the last five years, struck a brilliant goal in Montego Bay’s win, but he will need support of the plucky youngsters Deshane Beckford, Johan Weatherly, and Nazime Matalie-Grant to carry the weight of his team.

Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) kingpins Harbour View, who are perilously close to the relegation scrap, and Tivoli Gardens, who still harbour thoughts of making it into the top six, meet in a potential heart-breaker. A win for one could damage the dreams of the other.

Harbour View were overtaken last week by the promoted Dunbeholden and now sit just three points above 11th-place Montego Bay United, and a loss cannot be on the cards for them. Goals in their last two games from Rennico Clarke and Jorgino James, both back from sojourns in the United States, have not been enough so far.

Tivoli Gardens have lost their last three games, a record coach Phillip Williams would not have wanted. They have been hamstrung by injuries, but even the most loyal supporter will start to question the team and advocate for a coaching change if Tivoli were to suffer a fourth successive loss. There could be tears at the end of this game.


At Effortville, Humble Lion, the club taken to the brink of success a few years ago, will see the man who pulled the strings then return to his former home with his new cash-rich club Mount Pleasant and a number of players he raided from them. Duckie’s return could be more pleasant than the result for the Lions, who are humbled by turmoil and slip from top-six aspirants to ones fighting to stay above the relegation crab-in-barrel situation.

Mount Pleasant appear to be hitting the right strides heading into the playoffs with a four-game winning streak, a record only matched by Portmore United, while Humble Lion are trying to regain their bite.

Cavalier FC appear to have achieved their season’s goals of both flying above relegation and being among the playoff fighters even though the latter is still to be confirmed. So secure have Cavalier been that they could afford to part with assets, even temporarily, such as Jamoi Topey, Alex Marshall, and Nique Daley, at a time when the fight will be intensified. Their business model is working.

Portmore United are a class apart, and the league table shows just that. Their willingness to cash in on assets such as Chavany Willis and Maalique Foster, resting other senior players while unleashing the youngsters such as the gifted Lamar Walker with much success is evidence of this. Today’s game against UWI FC could be another one where they again experiment. Though UWI FC would welcome that, it does not mean that Portmore United will be any weaker.

There is no doubt that UWI FC’s Andrew Peart has come to grips with the RSPL, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the mind games of Portmore United’s Shavar Thomas.

Monday night’s Arnett Gardens-Waterhouse clash should be a treat if only to see how the Junglists respond to the spanking issued by Portmore United on Sunday last. Both teams are very competitive and will raise their level for each other. Waterhouse’s Tramaine Stewart always packs something special for these games, and that should also be something to look forward to.

Today’s games

- 5 p.m.: Cavalier vs Dunbeholden – Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex

- 3:30 p.m.: Reno vs Montego Bay United – Frome Complex

- 7 p.m.: Harbour View vs Tivoli Gardens – Harbour View Stadium

- 3:30 p.m.: Humble Lion vs Mount Pleasant – Effortville Community Centre

- 3:30 p.m.: UWI FC vs Portmore United – UWI Mona Bowl

Tomorrow’s game

8:35 p.m.: Arnett Gardens vs Waterhouse – Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex