UWI FC in Tivoli’s sights
Former champions Tivoli Gardens will have the opportunity to throw the biggest punch in the fight for a place in the top six when they host UWI FC in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) today.
Sixth-place UWI FC are the closest target for top six chasing Tivoli Gardens, being just four points ahead of them and a home win for the western Kingston-based team would reduce their rivals’ lead to just one point, with another five games to play after today’s fixture.
“It is a very important game. UWI FC are four points ahead of us, and they are the closest one to us in terms of getting a place in the top six. These are three important points, and points we are going to be working very hard to get,” Phillip Williams, coach of Tivoli Gardens, told The Sunday Gleaner.
Today’s game will mark Williams’ third in charge following his appointment with the departure of Omar Edwards. His two previous matches were 0-3 and 1-2 losses to Arnett Gardens and Mount Pleasant, respectively.
“We were very competitive against Mount Pleasant even though we went down to 10 men, and for me, there were a lot of positives coming out of that situation from a coaching perspective and a player’s perspective.
“The game against UWI comes after my second full week in charge of the team, and we will be looking to make the good things we have been doing count in a positive way. It is time for us to execute,” said the man who is also in charge of the St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) programme.
As far as UWI FC are concerned, this is the best of times for them – this season.
“I think we are finding our best form at the right time for the season,” Andrew Peart, coach of UWI FC, declared.
“Since the start of the year, we have played eight games and lost only once, and that is good momentum going into the game against Tivoli Gardens, who, like us, are fighting for a top six as well.
“This presents us with an excellent opportunity to create some distance between us, and once we get three points, it can solidify us in terms of a top-six position as we would be seven points above them,” explained Peart.
Peart was careful to state that they would be taking nothing for granted as not only would they be playing away from home at a venue where the supporters are staunchly behind their team, but they have quality players.
“We will have to come out and fight tomorrow,” Peart said of the matchup.
The visitors could have an advantage in that Tivoli Gardens have a number of wounded warriors in veteran Jermaine Johnson and national representative Tevin Shaw, who have been soldiering on with their ailments. Leading scorer Colorado Murray and Junior McGregor are in similar positions while the little midfield dynamo Howard Morris only recently returned to training.
Amal Knight, UWI FC’s first-string goalkeeper, is still abroad on trial, but Nicholas King has been an able deputy, and with all the others fit, they should be ready for the fight, according to Peart.
Royal Lakes will be the site of a clash of aspirations. Newcomers Dunbeholden FC are desperate to remain in the league, and a win will help their chances while eighth-placed Humble Lion are still fighting for a place in the top six. A win for Humble Lion and a loss for Tivoli Gardens keeps the hope alive for the former.
One point will confirm Cavalier’s position in the top six while last-placed Montego Bay United need to convert draws into wins, and Cavalier’s relative safety could give them the window they need to sneak back into the fight for survival.
Home team Mount Pleasant should be given the advantage over Harbour View FC when both teams meet at Drax Hall but, Harbour View are capable of surprising, especially with their additions in the recently closed window.
Leaders and defending champions Portmore United could use today’s game against former champions and title aspirants, Arnett Gardens, to test their strength.
n 3:30 p.m.: Dunbeholden FC vs Humble Lion – Royal Lakes Complex
n 3:30 p.m.: Montego Bay United FC vs Cavalier – Wespow Park
n 3:30 p.m.: Mount Pleasant FA vs Harbour View – Drax Hall Sports Complex
n 3:30 p.m.: Portmore United vs Arnett Gardens – Prison Oval
n 7 p.m.: Tivoli Gardens vs UWI FC – Edward Seaga Sports Complex
n 8:35 p.m.: Waterhouse vs Reno – Waterhouse Stadium
Teams P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Portmore 27 15 8 4 40 2 17 53
Waterhouse 27 13 9 5 39 21 18 48
Cavalier 27 13 9 5 31 18 13 48
Mt. Pleasant 27 12 8 7 24 16 8 44
Arnett 27 11 8 8 35 26 9 41
UWI FC 27 11 6 10 28 27 1 39
Tivoli 27 10 5 12 30 29 1 35
H. Lion 27 7 10 10 29 33 -4 31
H.View 27 5 12 10 26 41 -15 27
Dunbeholden 27 6 7 14 27 36 -9 25
Reno 27 4 11 12 20 38 -18 23
MoBayUnited 27 4 9 14 22 43 -21 21