Sunday 23 September, 2018

RSPL: Arnett out to sink Boys' Town deeper into relegation fears

Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) strugglers Boys' Town will be trying to ease their relegation fears for at least a week when the 2017-2018 season resumes on Sunday with Match Day 27.

For Boys' Town to ease their relegation fears briefly, the bottom-place club needs to beat visitors and defending champions Arnett Gardens at the Barbican Complex, and then hopes that other results on the day go in its favour.

With seven matches remaining in the preliminary round, Boys' Town, on 14 points, can only finish on a maximum 35. However, with the University of the West Indies (UWI) FC on 35 points, Waterhouse (33), Reno (33), Montego Bay United (31), Harbour View (30) and Humble Lion (30) have already tallied 30 and over points; it means that Boys' Town's survival is not only in their own hands.

Once Boys' Town fail to beat Arnett Gardens on Sunday, they can kiss topflight football goodbye, 12 years after the club returned to the Premier League after 10 years in the wilderness.

Based on current form it would take a brave person to bet on Boys' Town surviving relegation.  The club last victory this season was on Match Day 17 when it scored an away 2-1 victory against Reno. Since then Boys' Town have only secured four points from nine games, a period which saw the club losing five and drawing four. 

One of Boys' Town's four draws over that period came against Arnett Gardens when Jamiel Hardware scored in the 66th minute to cancel out Fabian Reid's 26th minute penalty, which had given the defending champions a 1-0 lead.

Arnett Gardens, on the other hand, picked up nine points from six games during that period where they suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat against tournament leaders Portmore United in a top-of--the-table fixture at Spanish Town Prison Oval on January 7.

Arnett Gardens have battled internal issues this season but have managed to remain in the top two of the standings this season, although taking a short break to compete in Group A of the 2018 CONCACAF Caribbean Cub Championship in Trinidad and Tobago.

From 24 games this season, Arnett Gardens have only lost once while securing 11 victories and 12 draws. They are on 45 points, eight behind leaders Portmore United and although not playing at their best are highly favoured to end the slim survival hope of Boys' Town at the end of the day.

The other relegation threatened club, promoted Sandals South Coast will also be in action on the day. Sandals South Coast, which are second-from-the-bottom on 19 points, will host eight-place Montego Bay United (31 points) at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS).

This will be the second game between the teams in just over a month following a goalless draw on January 7 at STETHS.

Both teams are searching for valuable points with Montego Bay United trying to get into the top half of the table and Sandals South Coast attempting to avoid relegation.

At the end of the preliminary round, the top two teams on points will advance straight to the semi-finals; while third to sixth place will enter into a play-off for the other two semi-final spots. The bottom two teams will be relegated.

Match Day 27 features four games on Sunday with Waterhouse hosting Harbour View in the Monday night fixture at the Drewsland Stadium, starting at 8:35 pm.

Portmore United and Humble Lion are missing from Match Day 27 as the Premier League leaders are competing in Group B of the 2018 CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship in Dominican Republic.

SUNDAY'S MATCHES
Boys' Town vs Arnett Gardens at Barbican Complex at 3:00 pm
Tivoli vs Cavalier at Edward Seaga Complex at 3:00 pm
Sandals South Coast vs Montego Bay United at STETHS at 3:00 pm
UWI FC vs Reni at UWI Bowl, Mona at 3:00 pm

MONDAY'S MATCH
Waterhouse vs Harbour View at Drewsland Stadium at 8:35