Photo: Montego Bay United coach - Carlos Garcia
Montego Bay United leads the Red Stripe Premier League at the beginning of the New Year solely on goal difference but will be looking to create breathing room between themselves and second place Arnett Gardens when they host bottom club Barbican at the Wespow Park at 3:00pm on Sunday.
The defending champions who have 32 points, have shown good consistency after overcoming a sluggish start to the season and have held on to top spot for the past few weeks despite being pushed by the red hot Arnett
Gardens. With the Jerome Waite coached team inactive until Monday night when the play Boys Town in yet another Collie Smith Drive derby, Carlos Garcia’s men will look to steal a march in their first game of 2015.
Barbican has struggled to find the back of the net and have not done so in their last three games picking up a single point in that period. Their poor run has coincided with the sudden departure of Junior Francis as head coach and they will be hard pressed to get any kind of a result against a quality team boasting a strike force of Dino Williams and Allan Ottey who have twelve goals between them so far this season.
Mobay will start favourites for the game as they look to benefit from the comforts of home.
Former league leaders Waterhouse have hit a bad patch since the start of the second round and will be hoping that the New Year will bring a change of fortunes. They travel to the Edward Seaga Sports Complex to take on Tivoli Gardens who have been patchy at best themselves.
This 3:00pm encounter sees two teams struggling with confidence in front of goal. They will both be looking to set the tone for the rest of the season with this game. Tivoli threatened to push into the top four but have remained in mid-table after failing to build on some good results and will looking to start fresh in 2015.
Weston Forrest has looked a new player since his move from Waterhouse and will be looking to have a good game against his former club in his first game against them since he traded in the “Blue and Yellow Stripes” for the “Orange”. Keammar “Dada” Daley will need to report in tip top shape if he is to help his team push up the tables as the second round nears its mid-point.
Juvaune Benjamin is suspended for Waterhouse after he received a straight red card in the 3-1 loss to Arnett Gardens on Monday Night. Jermaine “Tuffy” Anderson who has stuttered in front of goal, scoring in patches will be asked to carry the burden in what many see as a must win game for “Firehouse”. He will need to get out of his slump if Waterhouse are to get the desired result. Having slipped from first to third, Anthony Patrick must be concerned about his team’s form in front of goal. Their return if 21 goals from 16 games is the lowest of all the teams in the top four.
Rivoli Gardens scores goals and boast the second best goal return and second best goal scorer in the league in Corey Burke. His ten goals has helped to push his team to 5th in the league. They host Reno at the Prison Oval at 4:00pm and will be chomping at the bit for the three points.
Reno has fallen from grace and sit in 11th position only a few months after crowning themselves all-island knock out champions. Reports of internal problems precipitated the firing of coach Patrick Graham but the struggles have continued since his departure as they are yet to record a win since November.
New coach and former national coach Wendell Downswell has his work cut out if he is to prevent the club from being relegated after just one season back in the premier league.
Calvert Fitzgerald has his team playing good attacking football and will be looking to heap even more pressure on the team from Westmoreland. A top four position is in the offing as they sit a point out of fourth on 25 and he will be preparing his troops to pounce if the chance presents itself.
Humble Lion is finally heading in the right direction and edged their way out of the relegation zone at the end of 2014. Currently in 9th position, they will be looking to build on that in the New Year and a win the Clarendon derby against Sporting Central is the perfect way to start. Donovan Duckie is the new man at the helm and has apparently been working with the team unofficially since November. He and Linval Wilson will be hoping to guide the team away far away from the relegation zone.
Sporting has not been able to click into gear this season. They have flattered to deceive on a couple of occasions but have remained in the lower reaches of the table for the most part this term. A win in the Clarendon derby could be just the tonic they need to wake up out of their slumber. This game could go either was as neither has been totally convincing to date. The Effortville Centre should be packed to capacity come the 5:00pm kick-off.
Harbour View let the chance to move into third place slip when they lost away to Boys Town and instead find themselves stuck in fourth place where they have been for just over a month. They host former league leaders Cavalier whose strikers have gone on a hiatus which has caused a slide all the way down to sixth position.
Harbour View will be hunting three points and have the fire power to get the job done. Captain Beckett and John-Ross Edwards drives a midfield that should provide enough goal scoring opportunities for Jermie Lynch and their leading goal scorer Ranique Muir.
The goal drought that has plagued Cavalier is astonishing and must be very worrying for Technical Director Rudolph Speid. The transfer window is now open and he will be hoping that he can bring in two or three players of quality to lift his club’s slumping fortunes.
Earlier this season Claudius Blackburn and captain Gironv Brown were getting the job done but their form in front of goal has deserted them to leave the club struggling to get points on the board. They will be hoping for a turnaround as they must still be harbouring a finish in the top four to qualify for the semi-finals from where anything can happen.
The first Monday Night fixture for 2015 will also be the first Collie Smith Derby for 2015 when second place Arnett Gardens hosts 10th place Boys Town at 8:30pm.