Tivoli, Vere ready for gruelling battle for JPLWednesday, September 22, 2021
Tivoli Gardens Football Club and Vere United Football Club have faced each other twice this season, and there has been one goal between them.
Tivoli Gardens pinched the regular season game 1-0 and knew going into last Saturday's first-leg quarter-final that it would be another close encounter against the league's best defensive team.
They will have no illusions about what to expect when the two teams meet in the return leg today, starting at 1:00 pm.
There must be a winner in this game and with nothing much between the two teams it could be another game of few goals.
Tivoli Gardens head coach Phillip Williams is already prepared for a difficult task against the team from Clarendon.
“We know how Vere plays and we know that it's going to be a long 90 minutes for us,” he said.
The chances were few and far between for Tivoli Gardens last Saturday and Williams promised to work on the areas necessary to ensure they can come out with a winner today.
“It's a matter of converting and creating enough chances, so that we can have a high percentage of scoring the goals and that is something we are definitely going to work on, on the training ground.”
Tivoli Gardens drew half of their regular season games, but must now start finding ways to win tight games, if they are to achieve their ultimate ambition of winning the league this season.
Unlike Tivoli Gardens, Vere United began the season with little ambition of winning the league. After barely holding on to their premier league status, their major ambition was to establish themselves as a premier league team over the next two years.
But the narrative has changed as the season has progressed and now that they have made it to the play-offs, going all the way has entered into the conversation.
The experienced Donovan Duckie has informed his players that a mind shift is necessary at this stage of the season.
“We have been consistent throughout the league, so it's for them now to adapt to this stage and understand that this is not regular season football.
“This is what you call battle for the cup, so if you want something more than I want it, that means you have a head start over me. So, we have to want it, as bad as they want it, then the quality will separate us.”
Vere have kept six clean sheets so far this season, underlining that their strength lies in their defence and so the likes of Tivoli's leading scorer Devroy Grey, who has four goals, Davion Garrison and Stephen Barnett, will have to be at their best if they are to get the better of the stodgy Vere defence and get past the best goalkeeper in the league, Kadeem Davis.
To their credit, Tivoli Gardens have improved defensively as the season has gone on which will make it difficult for a Vere attack that is lacking in real firepower.
Ramone Plummer looks the most likely for Vere in attack, but will need the support from Lamar Neil and Javier Brown if he is to find the back of the net.
This game has all the makings of another slugfest and viewers should not be surprised if this contest is settled from the penalty spot.
The winner of this tie will face Cavalier Football Club in the semi-finals which begin on Saturday.
— Dwayne Richards