Photo: Arnett Gardens midfielder Jason Moore battles with Montego Bay United striker Owayne Gordon for possession of the ball the last time the two teams met in the Red Stripe Premier League at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex. Arnett Gardens came from behind to win that game 2-1 and will need to win again today by two clear goals in order to advance to the finals in May.
Arnett Gardens face a do or die clash with rivals Montego Bay United in the return leg semi-finals of the Red Stripe Premier League today at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex starting at 6:00pm. Having lost 2-1 away to Mobay on Monday night, the defending champions face a tough task of overturning the deficit against the Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis coached team. Both teams faced each other in the finals of the competition last season, but one will watch this season’s final, while the other will contest it.
A gaffe by goal keeper Peter Harrison cost the Jerome Waite coached team in the second city as they went down 2-1 but they must be switched on from the first whistle if they are to get two clear goals to claim the tie.
The champions will not have it all their own way against a team brimming with confidence after finally getting the Arnett money of their back. Two losses and a draw in three regular season meetings had some people saying that ‘Arnett had Mobay’s ticket’, but a home win has given captain Dwayne Ambusley and his teammates renewed confidence and a belief that they can go all the way to the finals.
Heading into the game with a one goal advantage gives Mobay the edge but they are by no means safe and will they be well aware of that fact. Arnett is not a club that loses many games at home and Mobay United has been luckless there, for the most part.
Key figures in the game for the home team are striker, Kemal Malcolm, midfielder Vishnul Harris and captain and central defender Oniel Thompson, who was voted player of the season last term.
Malcolm leads the scoring charts with 12 goals for the champions, but he has gone cold of late and will need to return to form today if his team is to return to the finals in May. Vishnul Harris has not returned to full fitness since sustaining a knee injury in the first round of the CFU Club Championships and this has affected the attacking thrust for Arnett. They will be praying that his incisive passing and goals will return today. Thompson must ensure that the team remains organized at the back for every minute of the contest if they are to keep out the likes of Allan Ottey and Owayne Gordon.
For Mobay United, the equation is quite simple. Match anything that Arnett Gardens does and they are through to their third finals in as many seasons. They have grown a reputation of being a big occasion team and proved that on Monday night by seeing off Arnett Gardens and must repeat the feat in the ‘Lion’s Den’ in the ‘Jungle’ this evening.
Ottey is a hard working centre forward who keeps defenders honest and has a keen eye for goal. The Arnett defence will not get a moments rest once he is on the field. Gordon is the man of the moment for Mobay with his league leading 20 goals. He has scored against these opponents in their last two meetings, he will be the one who causes the greatest concern for Jerome Waite and his boys.
Captain Ambusley is the enforcer for Mobay, not just in his play, but in ensuring that the coach’s instructions are carried out on the field ofplay. His role in the middle of the park today cannot be over emphasized as they hunt their first win at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex this season. With Jacameno Barrett back in goal for this important period of the campaign Mobay United will believe that they are 90 minutes away from yet another final.
Arnett Gardens will need to summon up all their ‘football will’ to get the desired result today but they are very aware of the tall order they face against one of their fiercest rivals. The ‘Complex’ will be rocking come kick off time at 6:00pm but it should be full to capacity long before that.