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Race for JPL playoff spot gets tighter and tighter

WITH FIVE match weeks left in the Wray & Nephew-sponsored Jamaica Premier League (JPL), the race for a spot in the playoffs is coming down to the wire. Waterhouse FC, Dunbeholden FC and Montego Bay United are clear contenders for the final sixth-place spot.

All three teams are within six points of each other and each club has only five matches left to pull away from the pack to claim the coveted playoff spot.

Waterhouse entered match week 21 in sixth place on 30 points but suffered a blow to their season’s ambitions as they fell 1-0 to defending champions Mount Pleasant. Despite their best efforts, they could not overturn a late goal from Mount Pleasant’s Kimoni Bailey.

The loss gave Dunbeholden the opportunity to move above the club in the league standings, an opportunity that did not go to waste.

Dunbeholden climbed past Waterhouse in the standings with a powerful display in their most recent fixture, dismissing Harbour View, 3-0, at the Stadium East Sports Complex. The win saw Dunbeholden move to sixth place with 33 points.

Dunbeholden head coach Lenworth Hyde said his team was aware of the importance of its remaining fixtures and will be doing its best to maintain its playoff spot.

“We can’t sit back now, we have to work hard for the next game. It’s a tough game against Tivoli coming up, so this week we have to keep up the intensity, we have to keep up the fight in the training. The players always come out and train very hard and that’s why you see the results we’ve been having. We can’t sit down on our laurels now and think that we’re home and dry.”

Montego Bay will have a lot of work to do in their upcoming fixtures as they sit behind the two clubs in eighth place, with 28 points.

The St James-based club came away with only a point in their last fixture when they drew 1-1 with Portmore United. Courtney Allen had given Montego Bay the lead in the first half, but Rudolph Austin’s late strike found the equaliser for Portmore United.

Held to a draw, Montego Bay chairman Yoni Epstein said the club is confident it can climb up the table based on the remaining fixtures in the regular season.

“We have looked at the data in regard to the other teams that we’re in this three-horse race with and based upon outcomes in matches in the first half of the season and prior seasons and head-to-head matches, we believe we still have a very strong chance to end up in sixth place and make the playoffs. This is the part of the season where every match is a must-win match.”

Coming up next, Waterhouse will play Portmore United away, while Dunbeholden will travel to Tivoli Gardens. Montego Bay will play host to Treasure Beach, confident of getting all three points.

Source: The Gleaner