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Boys’ Town in must-win clash against Jamalco in RSPLHoward Morris (foreground) of Tivoli Gardens shields the ball away from Shauntel Mundle of Jamalco during their Red Stripe Premier League match at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex on Thursday. Tivoli Gardens won 2-0. <strong> (Naphtali junior)</strong> Boys' Town and Jamalco FC will clash in a key Red Stripe Premier League relegation battle at the Wembley Centre of Excellence, starting at 3:30 pm today. Three other games are on today as leaders, the University of the West Indies (UWI), welcome Reno to the UWI Bowl at Mona; Maverley-Hughenden host Tivoli Gardens, and Harbour View travel to Waterhouse FC.
On Monday, champions Montego Bay United, fresh from their come-from-behind 2-1 win over Arnett Gardens, welcome Humble Lion to Catherine Hall in a mammoth encounter. Humble Lion are second on 49 points, while Montego Bay United are fourth on 46 points but have played three games less. The champions have lost just six times this season and Humble Lion are responsible for two of them.
Boys' Town, the National League champions in 1984, 1986 and 1989, are rooted to the bottom of the league on 20 points from 26 games. They are four points behind Maverley-Hughenden and, more critically, six points adrift of Jamalco sitting on 26 points from 27 games. It's a must-win situation for the “Red Brigade” says coach Andrew Price, as they play one of the teams they are trying to leapfrog into safety. “It's a very, very crucial game, ” Price told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. “As a matter of fact, we need all three points at this stage of the competition, so it's going to be a very important game. And since they are in front of us, we definitely will have to go out there and get all three points.
Revenge must be on Montego Bay's minds as they draw near to the play-offs. With Portmore United set to participate in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, they will be inactive, hence their game against Arnett Gardens has been postponed. Portmore United are fifth on 44 points, while Arnett Gardens are six with 41 points. Jamalco&rsquo;s Ajuran Brown (left) holds off Junior McGregor of Tivoli Gardens during their Red Stripe Premier League match at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex on Thursday.
Harbour View have lost their last four games and must stop that winless streak or they could drop into the relegation zone quickly. With that in mind, I expect the “Stars of the East” to be the hungrier of the two teams and hence secure a crucial away win. In the fourth game today, leaders UWI, on 51 points, host a Reno team in seventh spot on 31 points which is still harbouring thoughts of snatching a play-off spot. If the Westmoreland-based outfit is to achieve that, then Reno must beat a UWI team that defeated them twice already this season. It's a tall ask of Reno, but certainly not beyond them.
” Both teams have met twice this season and have split victories, and Price knows what to expect. With just seven games remaining for Boys' Town and six games for Jamalco, every point will be critical as is every defeat. Another defeat for Boys' Town to one of the teams they are hoping to catch will certainly spell relegation. If Jamalco win and go nine points clear of them, it's basically dooms-day for Boys' Town. “We are evenly matched and we know what they have to offer, we just have to go there with the mindset. We don't have any margin for error right now, so we have to look at the game as a must-win game, a cup final, and go down there and play some positive football, ” Price noted. Another key relegation match will be the one between Maverley-Hughenden in 11th spot on 24 points, and third-placed Tivoli Gardens on 48 points at the Constant Spring Complex starting at 3:30 pm.
The promoted Maverley-Hughenden know very well the consequences of a defeat right now. Maverley have not won in their last 10 games and face a tough opponent in a Tivoli Gardens outfit looking to win the league. Twenty-five points separate both teams but that counts for nothing today as Maverley are fighting for their lives, setting the stage for an epic battle. Though not quite out of the woods, both Waterhouse FC and Harbour View know the importance of a win when they clash at Drewsland at 6:00 pm. Waterhouse are eighth on 28 points, while Harbour View are ninth with 27 points. Both teams are just sitting three and four points above the relegation zone and that scenario could change quite quickly.