Tivoli Gardens desperate for turnaround in form
Former champions Tivoli Gardens are looking up at everyone else in the Red Stipe Premier League, but if coach Philip Williams has his way, that situation will change soon.
That change could begin as early as today when they host sixth-place Dunbeholden, who, with 21 points, are nine ahead of them from 15 games. Tivoli Gardens’ 12 points came from 15 games, at least one less than the other 11 teams.
“We are hoping to launch a winning streak, and this we consider to be a good opportunity,” said coach Williams, who double, as the coach of St. Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) in the Urban Under-19 football competitions.
Two Mondays ago, Tivoli Gardens came from a goal down to win 3-1 over Arnett Gardens away from home. That big win, it was thought would have given them a bounce, but it was not the case.
“We have looked at the possible reasons why we have not had the consistency that we require. We train well but are not able to stay true to our game plan for the duration of the game on game days. One of the possible reasons for this could be the absence of fitness as we really did not have a pre-season due to the uncertainty surrounding the club following the passing of Mr Seaga.
“We saw glimpses of what we can do in that game against Arnett Gardens, but playing two matches back-to-back on Monday and then Thursday was probably a bit too much for us at the time,” Williams added.
They have not had a game since that 0-4 loss to Mount Pleasant, and Williams is expecting his charges to rise to the tough challenge.
“Dunbeholden are a tough unit. They can play. They are very physical but we are now in the position where we can consider these games as winnable games,” said Williams, who will be looking to the likes of Kemar Flemmings, Jabeur Johnson and Ranike Anderson for defensive leadership.
On the offensive side, national Under-22 invitee Trayvon Reid, the veteran Jermaine ‘Teddy’ Johnson and Newton Sterling should figure prominently.
Dunbeholden can now consider themselves the pride of St. Catherine as not only did they beat their much more highly-regarded neighbours and defending champions Portmore United 2-1 last week, they now sit three places and two points above them in the 12-team table.
According to manager Paul Christie, that result and the current position of today’s opponents will not mean much on the day.
“I can say that our players are gelling nicely and responding to the work of the coaching staff, and we are happy about that, but at the same time, we are aware that we can’t take any team lightly. They are just as good as their performance on the day,” said Christie.
With that understanding in mind, Christie said that Tivoli Gardens will be respected.
“We are not approaching the game with the idea that they are at the bottom of the table. We know their quality.
“Yes we know that they are not getting the desired results at the moment, but on any given day. they can get it right,” added Christie, who made it clear that this being their second year in the competition, they will not be making the same mistakes they did last year.
Among Dunbeholden’s key players are leading scorer Dean-Andre Thomas, Andrae McFarlane, who came over from Waterhouse in the off-season, and midfielder Nickoy Christian. Defensively, they will be looking to captain Shaquille Dyer, Andre Dyce and the overlapping Saneekie Burton.
At the Wembley Centre of Excellence fellow relegation battlers Vere United will host third-place Arnett Gardens, while UWIFC and Harbour View will try to pull each other close to the bottom of the table like crabs.
Calvert Fitzgerald would have had more time to assess his players in his bid to arrest the negative development at Molynes United, as they go into battle against fellow strugglers in defending champions ninth-placed Portmore United. Molynes United sit in seventh position on 20 points, two more than Portmore United and have not won in nine games.
n 3:00p.m.: Molynes United FC vs. Portmore United FC @ Constant Spring Stadium
n 3:00p.m.:Dunbeholden FC vs. Tivoli Gardens FC @ Royal Lakes Complex
n 3:00p.m.: UWI FC vs. Harbour View FC @ UWI Mona Bowl
n 3:00p.m.: Vere United FC vs. Arnett Gardens FC @ Wembley Centre of Excellence
n 8:00p.m.: Cavalier FC vs. Humble Lion FC @ Stadium East Complex
Teams P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Waterhouse 15 10 3 2 31 12 19 33
Mt. Pleasant 16 8 4 4 23 15 8 28
Arnett 15 7 4 4 25 20 5 25
H. Lion 15 5 7 3 15 13 2 22
Cavalier 15 5 6 4 24 19 5 21
Dunbeholden 15 6 3 6 14 14 0 21
Molynes FC 15 6 2 7 16 18 -2 20
H.View 15 5 4 6 15 23 -8 19
Portmore 15 5 3 7 13 19 -6 18
UWIFC 15 2 7 6 16 22 -6 13
Vere United 15 2 6 7 12 20 -8 12
Tivoli 14 3 3 8 11 20 -9 12
- 3:00p.m.: Molynes United FC vs. Portmore United FC @ Constant Spring Stadium
- 3:00p.m.:Dunbeholden FC vs. Tivoli Gardens FC @ Royal Lakes Complex
- 3:00p.m.: UWI FC vs. Harbour View FC @ UWI Mona Bowl
- 3:00p.m.: Vere United FC vs. Arnett Gardens FC @ Wembley Centre of Excellence
- 8:00p.m.: Cavalier FC vs. Humble Lion FC @ Stadium East Complex