Sport

Montego Bay United's day of judgement

...Former champions relegation fate all but sealed as they face Waterhouse

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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THE last rites will be read to Montego Bay United when they travel to Waterhouse FC, knowing only an act of God can save them from relegation from the Red Stripe Premier League today.

In the other games, all starting at 3:30 pm, Portmore United host Dunbeholden; Arnett Gardens tackle Harbour View; Cavalier play Tivoli Gardens; Reno take on Humble Lion, and The University of the West Indies (UWI) face Mount Pleasant.

Former champions Montego Bay are in dire straits sitting in 11th spot on 30 points, and only an act of God can prevent them from being relegated for the second time in 11 years, following their demise in 2008.

Founded as Beacon in 1972 before switching its name to Seba United a few years later, they won the Premier League twice in 1987 and 1997. Then in 2011 the club was rebranded as Montego Bay United and won twice in 2014 and 2016. Now, three years after, they will be relegated despite the efforts of some senior players returning to save the club.

The promoted Dunbeholden in 10th spot on 33 points is the only team Montego Bay can surpass on goal difference if they win and Dunbeholden loses. But with a goal difference of minus 23 compared to Dunbeholden's minus seven, it will take a mammoth task by Montego Bay, firstly, to beat a tough Waterhouse team and, secondly, by a wide enough margin, and then they will need to pray that Dunbeholden also losse heavily.

Waterhouse are in second spot on 59 points, and with Mount Pleasant breathing down their necks for that second spot which would guarantee a bye into the semi-final, Waterhouse will not be giving anything away.

With things not in their favour, Montego Bay must start preparation for parish football in what turned out to be a terrible year for football in western Jamaica, as Reno of Westmoreland were also relegated.

Meanwhile, the promoted Dunbeholden in 10th spot on 33 points just need a point to secure top flight football when they tackle fellow St Catherine team and leaders Portmore United on 63 points. With the $1 million safely in their pockets, Portmore United might use the opportunity to rest some players.

The promoted Mount Pleasant in third spot on 57 points are still eyeing a top two finish that would push them into the semi-final of the play-offs, and they travel to the Bowl to play The University of the West Indies (UWI) sitting in fifth spot on 46 points. Mount Pleasant are unbeaten in their last 10 games and have won seven of their last eight. They will enter the play-offs as one of the hottest teams. Having lost twice to Mount Pleasant this season, UWI must be seeking to turn things around, but will find the visitors a tough nut to crack.

With most games having little meaning or impact, teams like Arnett Gardens will enter their match against Harbour View to fine-tune their preparation for the play-offs and could rest some players. With that in mind, Harbour View could seize the opportunity for a rare win. Arnett Gardens are sixth on 45 points, while Harbour View are ninth with 35 points.

Fourth-place Cavalier on 51 points have not won in their last five games, and will be looking to turn their form around as the play-offs loom when they tackle a deflated Tivoli Gardens team that missed the play-offs sitting in seventh spot on 39 points.

What a torture it should be for the relegated Reno to be hosting Humble Lion! If it wasn't their home game no one would blame Reno for not showing up. But they will honour their fixture as, despite relegation, they battled hard for a 1-1 draw with Harbour View on Sunday and could finish their season with a rare win.

They are rooted at the bottom on 24 points, while Humble lion are eight on 35 points.


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