Whitmore wary of Arnett’s 12th man
MOUNT PLEASANT coach Theodore Whitmore said keeping the Arnett Gardens fans quiet will be crucial if they are to win the second leg of their Jamaica Premier League (JPL) semifinal today at Sabina Park at 5 p.m. and advance to their first-ever national final.
Whitmore, who has had many matchups with the ‘Junglists’, even as a player, believes the enthusiastic and vociferous support of the Arnett Gardens faithful is a major driving force for the team and his aim is to give them very little to cheer about throughout the match.
“With the fans, we want to take the fans out of the game. Once we go behind to Arnett with their fans, it is going to be very difficult (to get back).
“We always have our crowd support but playing against Arnett, you have to get out that 12th man. So that is something we are looking to do,” he said.
After Monday’s 2-2 first-leg draw, another titanic encounter is being anticipated. Whitmore believes that with better decision-making they could have got more out of the first leg. Nevertheless, he expects another intriguing contest.
“Not taking anything away from Arnett because they created a few chances as well. But it is a game of two halves. We played the first half and it’s now 2-2. So we look forward to the second half. The next half, there must be a winner, so it should be interesting. It should be as entertaining as the first,” he said.
Leonard Rankine has emerged from the wilderness to be Whitmore’s trump card since the start of the playoffs with four goals in three matches. But Whitmore has placed no expectation on the player, other than for him to give his best.
“What you get from Rankine is honesty. He is going to work. If it’s 60, 70 minutes he is going to work and that’s what Leonard does,” he said.
His counterpart and former Seba (now Montego Bay) United teammate, Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis, insists he holds no grudge against his former employers who sacked him in 2021, and that it is not added motivation.
However, he said his players are on a mission to lift the title and are playing with their hearts on their sleeves.
PLAYING FROM THE HEART
“Mount Pleasant have a lot of experienced players. We have a team of youngsters willing to fight, with a few experienced ones.
“But when you are playing from the heart it’s one of the greatest things and my team is playing from the heart. They really want the cup this year and they are going to go all out on Sunday,” he said.
Like Whitmore, Davis expects another thrilling match but said they must make use of their chances this time.
“It’s a tug-of-war game. They are getting chances and we are getting chances. When you reach this stage you have to take your chances. Two good teams are playing so you have to take your chances.”
In the second game at 7:30 p.m., Cavalier take a 1-0 lead over Harbour View, whose coach Ludlow Bernard is confident of overturning the result.
“It’s a 1-0 setback. I am not perturbed. It is a lead that can be overhauled and we just have to apply ourselves. I am not saying it’s not going to be difficult, but it is achievable. We can overhaul this lead,” he said.
Cavalier’s Rudolph Speid said they do not intend to change much from what they did in the first leg, though he believes they need at least one more goal to seal the deal.
“When teams have to hunt goals there are certain characteristics they use. We are going to figure out what we can do to make life hard for them and hope that we get the first goal in the second leg.
“But I think we need another goal. I don’t think one is enough. They are not going to lie down, they want to retain the title,” he said.