Waterhouse, Portmore in mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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A mammoth top-of-the-table clash between leaders Portmore United and Waterhouse FC will highlight match day 17 of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) today.

The contest, scheduled for a 7:00 pm kick-off at Waterhouse Stadium in Drewsland, is one of three late fixtures on the day, with Arnett Gardens set to host Reno FC at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex also at 7:00 pm.

In the other late-evening matchup, Cavalier FC welcome Dunbeholden FC to Stadium East at 5:00 pm.

The early fixtures will see University of the West Indies (UWI) FC hosting Humble Lion FC at the UWI Mona Bowl at 3:00 pm, while Mount Pleasant FA will also be at home to Tivoli Gardens at Drax Hall in St Ann.

Meanwhile, former champions Montego Bay United, in ninth position on 16 points, and the struggling Harbour View FC, who are in 11th on 13 points, are set to bring the curtains down on the 17th-round fixture in Monday night action at Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall tomorrow at 8:35 pm.

It will be a battle of the in form teams when Portmore United, on 32 points, lock horns with second-placed Waterhouse FC (30 points), in a repeat of last season's final.

Both teams are currently unbeaten in their last eight fixtures, with Waterhouse sitting pretty on five consecutive wins and will be bubbling with confidence of making it six in a row at the expense of their conquerors from last season.

For Portmore United it will be a hunt to resume winning ways, after they let a five-match win streak slip as they were held to back-to-back 1-1 stalemates by Harbour View FC and Humble Lion FC, respectively.

When Waterhouse and Portmore last met earlier in the season they failed to separate themselves in a 2-2 stalemate; but both have gained significant momentum since then and another close and entertaining encounter could well be on the cards today.

Following a 5-1 whipping of Harbour View on last, Marcel Gayle and his Waterhouse troops will be hoping to continue their blazing form at home. As such, much will be expected of Kenroy Howell, Rafeik Thomas, Denardo Thomas and Tramaine Stewart, among others, at the forefront of the battle line.

Shavar Thomas's rallying cry remains the same: “Winning is a habit.” And after dropping points twice, captain Ricardo Morris, Javon East, Rondee Smith and Chevany Willis are four influential players expected to inspire a turnaround of that form.

Third-placed Cavalier are snapping at the heels of the top two on 27 points and could close the gap even further with victory today over the promoted Dunbeholden FC, who are at the bottom of the barrel on 12 points.

Like the top two, Cavalier are currently enjoying a good vein of form being unbeaten in their last seven fixtures, with their latest performance being a 1-0 win over Tivoli Gardens — and Dunbeholden could very well be their next victim.

But Dunbeholden recently secured a rare win – their third of the season and first in almost two months – by clipping Montego Bay United 2-1, which increased their chances of avoiding relegation.

That victory would have given Dunbeholden a great deal of confidence, and another win will be in their line of sight against an opponent they played out a 1-1 scoreline with on last.

After having their four-match unbeaten run snapped by UWI FC on last, fourth-placed Arnett Gardens, on 26 points, will be hoping to shake off that disappointment and get on with the business against 10th-place Reno FC on 14 points.

With Reno having not tasted victory in their last eight fixtures, Arnett Gardens are favoured to come away with all three points following a 2-0 win when the two teams last met. The Westmoreland-based Reno will be hoping for a complete performance to break a lengthy drought and, by extension, pull away from the red zone.

It should also be another good clash between fifth-place Mount Pleasant FA on 26 points and sixth-place Tivoli Gardens on 21.

Both teams have been somewhat struggling for consistency, particularly Tivoli Gardens who have lost two of their last five games and will be hoping for a turnaround on their way to Drax Hall.

However, Mount Pleasant, who came away 1-0 winners when the two teams last met, are seeking to extend an unbeaten run to five games and could well achieve the feat if they are able to reproduce a similar or better performance.

Finally, UWI FC and Humble Lion FC, who sit in eighth and seventh positions, respectively on 20 points each, will be in a battle that could go either way based on their current form.

UWI FC recently snapped a five-game losing skid with a 3-1 win over Arnett Gardens and will be confident of securing another at home, while Clarendon-based Humble Lion have gone winless in their last five fixtures and will be aiming to make amends on this occasion.

Today's games

3:00 pm Mount Pleasant FA vs Tivoli Gardens FC @ Drax Hall Sports Complex (St Ann)

3:00 pm - UWI FC vs Humble Lion FC @ UWI Mona Bowl

5:00 pm - Cavalier FC vs Dunbeholden FC @ Stadium East

7:00 pm - Arnett Gardens FC vs Reno FC @ Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex

7:00 pm - Waterhouse FC vs Portmore United @ Waterhouse Stadium

Tomorrow's schedule

8:35 pm - MBU FC vs Harbour View FC @ Montego Bay Sports Complex

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