Portmore look to rebound against Montego Bay United

By Howard Walker
Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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One is the defending champions; the other is a former champion.

One striving and sitting pretty atop of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), the other in crisis and suffocating at the bottom of the league. It's the tale of two cities — Portmore United and Montego Bay United.

It's not quite the Charles Dickens best-seller A Tale of Two Cities, depicting the struggles of Paris under the French revolution and that of London, striving and blossoming in a tale of love and romance, but the backdrop is strikingly similar.

Leaders Portmore United host Montego Bay United in one of three rescheduled RSPL games today at Spanish Town Prison Oval, starting at 3:00 pm.

In the other games, Dunbeholden tackle Mount Pleasant Football Academy at Royal Lakes at 3:00 pm and at 7:00 pm, Harbour View welcome Cavalier FC to the Compound.

On Thursday, Tivoli Gardens and Arnett Gardens clash at Edward Seaga Sports Complex at 7:00 pm, and at 3:00 pm Humble Lion welcome Waterhouse to Effortville Community Centre.

Spanish Town Prison Oval hosts an interesting encounter between champions Portmore United, sitting at the top of the standing with 39 points, and former champions Montego Bay United, toiling at the bottom of the 12-team league with 19 points.

Both are coming off contrasting results on Sunday as Portmore United suffered a 1-2 defeat at the hands of The University of the West Indies while Montego Bay United ended their five-game losing streak by stopping Mount Pleasant 1-0.

Sitting uncomfortably two points from safety, Montego Bay United must play every game as if it is a final in order to avoid the embarrassing relegation situation, having won the league twice in the last five years.

The St James outfit are tied on 19 points with Dunbeholden and are two points adrift of Reno, who they must be looking to leapfrog to safety. But their task will be an arduous one as they face a wounded Portmore United team looking to rebound and maintain their slender lead atop the table.

On November 11, Portmore edged Montego Bay 1-0 with a Ricardo Morris goal and the champions missed his leadership on Sunday through injury; but he will be back and is expected to lead from the front once again.

Portmore United have drafted in St George's College player Emelio Rosseau and veteran Carlos Barrett and, along with Venton Evans, Javon East, Rondee Smith, Chavany Willis, Osani Ricketts and Rosario Harriott, should prove too hot to handle for Montego Bay United.

With player Dwayne Ambusely acting as coach, the St James outfit are struggling but scored a morale-boosting win over Mount Pleasant, and their tails will be up. With players of the calibre of Dino Williams, Owayne Gordon, Deshane Beckford, Jermaine Woozencroft, Keneil Kirlew, Orlando McBayne, Donovan Carey, John Barrett, Jourdaine Fletcher, Johann Weatherley and returning goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett, Montego Bay must be respected.

Meanwhile, third-place Cavalier on 37 points travel to a Harbour View team in ninth spot on 24 points and are desperately trying to move further away from the relegation zone. They are just five points above the bottom-placed teams and they know the consequences of a loss.

Since Fabian Taylor took charge Harbour View have turned things around and are just six points from a play-off spot, which is not beyond them. But if they intend to achieve that dream they must beat a team like Cavalier, who are playing very well and looking like real title contenders.

The third match today is a very interesting one as it pits the two promoted teams against each other — Mount Pleasant in fifth spot on 30 points and looking to secure a play-off position against a Dunbeholden outfit desperately trying to climb out of the relegation zone.

Dunbeholden seemed to have come to grips with top flight football and are hunting their third-consecutive win. They have strengthened nicely and will once again give Mount Pleasant a run for their money. In their first encounter, Dunbeholden defeated Mount Pleasant in what was their first win of the season and Mount Pleasant's first loss. They meet again and the stage is set for another epic battle.

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