Regional

D-Day for Reno

Desperate western-based team seek win over Mt Pleasant to avoid RSPL drop

BY PAUL A REID
Observer West writer

Thursday, March 14, 2019

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FROME, Westmoreland — The fates of both western-based Red Stripe Premier League clubs, Montego Bay United (MBU) and FC Reno, could be decided in the next four days when they play back-to-back games, as they battle to avoid relegation.

In fact, today could be 'D Day' for rock-bottom FC Reno, in 12th place on 23 points, as only a win against Mt Pleasant at home will extend their hopes of playing in the competition next season, while 11th -placed MBU, who are also on life support on 27 points, could face their Waterloo at home on Sunday against defending champions and leaders Portmore United.

The western-based clubs that have combined for seven titles occupy the last two places in the points tables and are to face tough teams in must-win games in their remaining three games in the competition.

FC Reno are to host Mt Pleasant FA at Frome Sports Grounds today, while MBU are away in Kingston to UWI FC.

On Sunday, MBU host defending champions and leaders Portmore United, while FC Reno will be away to Harbour View, all games are set to start at 3:30pm.

If both teams are relegated, western Jamaican faces a stark possibility of not having a team in the island's top club football competition next season for the first time in decades, if not ever.

FC Reno have earned just three points from their last nine games played, losing their last four in a row, while MBU are just four points ahead and had a two-game win streak and four-game unbeaten run snapped by Arnett Gardens last Sunday.

FC Reno are yet to beat Mt Pleasant this season, losing 0-1 away at Drax Hall, before holding out for a 0 -0 draw in the second round, and will face a tough task against the third-placed team that have already secured their play-off spot.

Mt Pleasant are unbeaten in eight games since they were ambushed 1-0 by Montego Bay United in Montego Bay, while FC Reno have been outscored 18-6 in their last five games.

MBU's resurrection from last-placed was dealt a bitter blow last Sunday when they wasted a good chance to beat Arnett Gardens for the first time since the 2016-17 season, but lost 1-2, and are staring relegation in the face.

MBU beat UWI FC 2-0 in their most recent meeting at Wespow Park, but the two clubs are heading in different directions; UWI FC are trying to get into the play-offs in back- to-back seasons, while MBU, who are in the middle of their worst ever season in the RSPL, are trying to avoid the dreaded drop.

Luciano Gama has brought a semblance of organisation and urgency to the former two- time champions, but even the Brazilian understands the mountains that he has to climb to keep the team in the RSPL.

Last Sunday's loss against Arnett Gardens was a hammer blow to their ambitions.

If there are any silver lining for MBU, it's that UWI FC have only won six of their 15 home games, and Gama is expected to go full out from the start.

Deshane Beckford came off the bench to help MBU get back into the game on Sunday and he could start today, along with Donovan Carey and the ageless Dino Williams, who has taken on the scoring duties for his club.

MBU's issues are at the other end, however, as they keep giving up goals that wipe out the good work of the offensive unit. If they can keep the UWI attackers out, they stand a chance of getting a good result today.


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