Champs want to make most of St Catherine derby


Champs want to make most of St Catherine derby


Sunday, September 15, 2019

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The St Catherine derby between back-to-back champions Portmore United and Dunbeholden FC is set to grab much of the Red Stripe Premier League headlines today even if both teams have been woefully out of form at the embryonic stage of the football season.

Kick-off is scheduled for 3:30 pm at Spanish Town Prison Oval, Portmore's adopted home.

After two match days, both are without a point.

Portmore, under the guidance of Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner, who took over from the successful Shavar Thomas, have been off to the worst possible start to the campaign. They lost 0-3 to Molynes United and then 0-2 to Vere United — both newly-promoted teams.

The Riegel Smith-coached Dunbeholden have also been off to a less-than-ideal start, losing 1-3 and 0-1 to Cavalier FC and Waterhouse FC, respectively.

Michael Cohen, the Dunbeholden assistant coach, noted that history is not on their side, but he insisted that they remain a motivated bunch.

“It's going to a be a very difficult one, knowing the history of the teams because we have never beaten Portmore in a competitive fixture. But we are up for the challenge; the guys are pumped up for it. This really motivates them. We have always played well against them and we know we can do it,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

So far this campaign, Dunbeholden, who barely avoided relegation after their maiden run in the nation's top flight last season, have suffered defence breakdowns that have cost them dearly.

Cohen said plenty of practice has gone into correcting those kinks, and on optimising at the other end.

“From week we've been working on how to organise ourselves better, and just working on those weak areas. We tend to lapse at certain points of the game. We've also been doing transition work because we've been too slow in attack, and working on the finishing so we can score more goals,” he said.

Gardner, a former Reggae Boyz star who previously coached boyhood club Harbour View with limited success, is in good spirits despite Portmore's blundering start.

“Despite the bad start, there are positives to take from the last outing [away to Vere]. We expect a difficult game against Dunbeholden, but it's a game we've been preparing for and God's willing we take the training into the game with that same energy and commitment.

“The results haven't gone our way, but in the last game if we had put away our chances it could have gone differently. We've been working hard, and God's willing we should see it showing starting with this game,” Gardner told the Observer.

— Sanjay Myers

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