The hunt for play-off spots intensifies in the Jamaica Premier League with a mega clash between Dunbeholden FC and former champion Portmore United at the Ashenheim Stadium today, starting at 5:00 pm.
In what is essentially a Portmore derby, Dunbeholden are sitting in seventh spot on 25 points from 18 games, while Portmore United are just behind in eighth on 22 points from 17 games. Waterhouse hold the last play-off spot on 27 points.
Dunbeholden's Assistant Coach Jermaine Thomas believes they can get the job done firstly against Portmore United and ultimately a top-six play-off spot with eight rounds remaining.
"The objective is for us to get into the top six and then to the play-offs of course, so we would want to do as best of possible and then take it from there," he said.
Dunbeholden went to the final last year, but the team has changed somewhat as they lost top striker Atapharoy Bygrave to Mount Pleasant and their strike force has not been the same.
For Portmore United Coach Phillip Williams, it's the same scenario — they must start winning to get into the top six.
"Our objective is to make it to the top six. Currently, we are out of the top six," he pointed out. "The difference between our team and the teams above us are they are very efficient in putting away their chances, and that's an area we definitely need to work on to move up the table and give ourselves a good shot at making the play-off," he noted.
Both teams are struggling a bit for wins with Dunbeholden winning two of their last six games while losing four times. Portmore United have won just once in their last nine games, losing three and drawing five times.
The last time both teams met they played to a goalless draw, which is a true indication of the lack of goals from both teams. Dunbeholden have found the net 23 times from their 18 games, while Portmore have scored a miserly 14 goals from their 17.
Portmore's top scorer is defender Emelio Rosseau with five goals, while Stephen Barnett, also on five goals, lead the pack for Dunbeholden.
Meanwhile, Montego Bay United will be hoping to welcome new Coach Brazilian Nedier Dos Santos for his second stint with a long-overdue win when they take on lowly Vere United at Wespow Park, starting at 3:00 pm.
Montego Bay are sitting in ninth spot on 20 points and have gone eight games without a win to fall seven points adrift of a play-off spot.
Clarendon-based Vere United are doing much worse down in 12th spot on 14 points, sitting just five points above the relegation zone having lost their last four games.
It's a game that can go either way between two teams struggling for wins. But the edge must be given to Montego Bay United which should be buoyed by the presence of Coach Dos Santos.
New leaders Arnett Gardens, on 37 points, will travel to Effortville Community Centre for a tough encounter against fifth-placed Humble Lion on 29 points.
Arnett Gardens saw their six-game winning streak end with a 1-1 draw against Montego Bay United and will be hoping to return to winning ways against a Humble Lion team that have gone winless in their last three games.
On December 21, Humble Lion defeated Arnett Gardens 1-0 and a repeat of that performance is not beyond them as they hunt to consolidate their top-six play-off spot. It should be a humdinger of a game between two quality teams.
The Drewsland community should be buzzing with excitement as sixth-placed Waterhouse on 27 points welcomes second-placed Mount Pleasant on 36 points to the Waterhouse Mini-Stadium.
Waterhouse have won three of their last five games and seemed to have found their mojo and will make life difficult for a Mount Pleasant team considered favourite to win the league.
Meanwhile, champions Harbour View, sitting in fourth spot on 32 points, should be too hot for a Tivoli Gardens outfit down in 11th position on 18 points.
3:00 pm — Montego Bay United vs Vere United @ Wespow Park
3:00 pm — Humble Lions vs Arnett Gardens @ Effortville Community Centre
3:00 pm — Harbour View vs Tivoli Gardens @ Ashenheim Stadium
4:00 pm — Waterhouse vs Mount Pleasant @ Waterhouse Mini-Stadium
5:30 pm — Dunbeholden vs Portmore United @ Ashenheim Stadium
Double-header at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex
5:00 pm — Molynes United vs Chapelton FC
7:30 pm — Faulkland FC vs Cavalier SC