Three in desperate race to keep play-off hopes alive
FILE - Arnett Gardens' Fabian Reid (left) and Portmore United's Saneekie Burton battle for possession during their JPL match at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence.(Photo: Garfield Robinson)

With the top-six play-off positions taking shape as the men separate themselves from the boys, Portmore United, Dunbeholden FC, and Molynes United are in must-win situations for the remainder of the season if they want a shot at the title.

Leaders Arnett Gardens (38 points), Cavalier (37), Mount Pleasant (36), Harbour View (33), Waterhouse (30), and Humble Lion (30) occupy the play-off positions from which the likely champion will emerge, with seven rounds of games remaining.

But just below them are former champions Portmore United and last season's beaten finalists Dunbeholden FC, both sitting five points adrift on 25 each, with Molynes United and Montego Bay United on 22 and 21 points, respectively, having very slim hopes.

Of the chasing lot, Portmore United have the best chance as they have a game in hand, albeit against Mount Pleasant, but a win would take them within two points of the last play-off position.

That said, Portmore United must start that winning run against a struggling Faulkland FC team down in 13th spot on 10 points. Game time is 1:00 pm at Drax Hall in St Ann.

Scoring goals have been difficult for Portmore United this season and they have won just five times from 18 games, but they must turn things around quickly and there is no better way than against a Faulkland side in grave danger of being relegated in this their first season of top-flight football.

But it won't be a cakewalk for Portmore United as Faulkland showed that they are improving and were unlucky not to have beaten Cavalier in their 2-2 draw.

Portmore won their first encounter 3-1, but this time they will have to do without their three St Lucian players in Jevick McFarlane, Lester Joseph, and Alvinus Myers on international duty with their country.

Meanwhile, another team with hopes of making a late push for a play-off is the improving Molynes United in ninth spot on 22 points and hunting their third consecutive win.

But they have the arduous task against a Mount Pleasant team in third spot on 36 points, having lost just twice all season.

Head Coach Alex Thomas has Molynes United playing some attractive football, led by the rejuvenated Jason Wright, alongside the Nelson brothers Jermy and Nicholas.

Following their 1-5 thrashing at the hands of Arnett Gardens, Molynes rebounded with a 4-0 win over Vere and 3-1 win over Chapelton to rekindle their slim play-off hopes.

The last time they played Mount Pleasant it was an unpleasant one as they crashed 0-5 and today's clash will reveal how much Molynes United have progressed.

Leaders Arnett Gardens travel to the Wembley Centre of Excellence to play struggling Vere United in 12th spot on 15 points.

As it stands, they are five points above the bottom two teams and clearly far from safety, knowing very well the implications of a defeat here.

Arnett Gardens, on the other hand, have basically secured their play-off status, and after rattling up six consecutive wins, they have drawn their last two games and will be looking to return to winning ways.

Chapelton FC are rooted to the bottom of the league on seven points and need a win against the inconsistent Montego Bay United.

Chapelton are eight points from safety and if they are to survive relegation they must start to pick up maximum points, and today's match is the perfect situation for them.

Meanwhile, in the clash of the last two champions, second-placed Cavalier take on fourth-placed Harbour View in the marquee matchup of the round starting at 5:30 pm at Stadium East.

There will be a double-header at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday as Tivoli Gardens, in 11th spot on 19 points, play sixth-placed Humble Lion on 30 points at 5:00 pm.

At 7:30 pm in-form Waterhouse FC will be hunting their fourth consecutive win when they tackle eighth-placed Dunbeholden FC.

Howard Walker

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