Tivoli look to surprise leaders Dunbeholden in forecast bruiser
Atapharoy Bygrave celebrates scoring the final-minute equaliser for Dunbeholden as they snatched a point from league leaders Mount Pleasant in February. The game ended 1-1. (Photos: Observer file)

WITH Harbour View breathing down their necks for the final Jamaica Premier League top six spot, Tivoli Gardens will face leaders Dunbeholden at Stadium East determined to continue their resurgence, in one of four matches scheduled for today.

It’s a game that puts together a club accustomed to winning and one looking to establish itself as a bona fide top-level outfit. But as Tivoli look to spring a surprise, Dunbeholden Manager Paul Christie is sounding the warning ahead of what is expected to be another bruising clash between the two teams.

Harbour View will have front-row seats for the contest as they face Portmore United at 5:15 pm in the feature match at Stadium East, with both teams looking to bounce back from losses.

Tivoli have not lost since a 3-1 result against defending champions Cavalier on March 26, but they will have their work cut out for them against a Dunbeholden team looking to extend its two-point advantage at the top of the standings.

Technical Director Glendon “Admiral” Bailey credited Tivoli’s turnaround to renewed commitment and focus in training as well as a new tactical approach and believes today’s assignment presents a good opportunity to underline their ambitions.

“We will go into this game against Dunbeholden as we went into the last five games. They are the number one team in the country right now and we will show them the necessary respect, but we won’t back off or run from them. We will go into it with the same positive approach we have had,” Bailey told the Jamaica Observer.

“We know we are the underdogs and no one is expecting us to come away from this match with a victory, but we know what we can do. Once we turn up and play our football we will give ourselves a chance to do well against anybody,” Bailey declared.

Wins against Montego Bay and Vere in their last two assignments followed three consecutive drawn matches against Portmore, Humble Lion, and Harbour View, catapulting the west Kingston team to sixth place on 21 points — one more than Harbour View with Humble Lions a further three behind.

The upshoot has led to heightened expectations at the club and Bailey is confident they can meet these objectives once they stick to what has been working for them.

“The mere fact that we are now in the top six, at least for the moment because it is still very close, but it shows that we have been doing well. We are doing far better than we have been doing. The tactics and mentality have changed based on what we implemented in training and executed in the games,” said Bailey.

Christie admitted that Dunbbeholden have studied today’s opponents on and off the field as they look to build their own identity and culture.

“Forget about the table, it’s always a bruising contest with Tivoli, that is a fact. And despite the table, we are aware that Tivoli is on a run now and last season, this was the time when they started a run that brought them straight to the semi-final,” said Christie. “We are not taking anything for granted. They are a former champion, they have pedigree, they know how to win, and their coach and technical staff know how to win. This is not one of those games that you show up, they are occupying the final position in the top six and they would want to stay there,” he added.

In western Jamaica, Montego Bay United will tackle Arnett Gardens in a Montego Bay Sports Complex double-header that will see Cavalier and Vere United raising the curtains at 3:00 pm.

Meanwhile, Waterhouse will play Humble Lions tomorrow at 5:00 pm before Molynes United and Mount Pleasant draw swords at 7:30 pm at Stadium East.

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