Reggae Youths brace for MoBay Utd in KO


BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Sunday, February 03, 2013

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Reggae Youths will seek their biggest scalp ever when they take on Premier League contenders Montego Bay United in a ‘David vs Goliath’ match-up in the final of the St James Football Association Captain’s Bakery and Grill Knockout set to start at 5:00 pm.

The promoted Senior League side eliminated two Western Confederation Super League teams, Norwood Strikers and Granville United, the latter in the semi-finals last week, both on penalty kicks, to advance to the final and book a spot in the first round of the JFF Flow Champions Cup Knockout.

Reggae Youths, who won the St James Division One last season, qualified for the all-island competition as the best non-Premier League side left in the competition after their win over Granville last Sunday, while MBU beat Melbourne FC 3-0 in the other semi-final.

Thirty clubs started the competition in December and 28 were eliminated through the four previous rounds leaving these two to battle out for the title and prize money.

The Oscar Irvin-coached Reggae Youths are riding a wave of success stretching back to last season when they lost just once in the Division One on their way to the title and promotion, but know they will have a big task in trying to deny MBU today.

Irvin admitted to the Jamaica Observer last week that “there will be some butterflies, but that most of his players were “ready for the task”.

Ready they might be, but how well will they match up with the powerful MBU team is another matter to be seen.

MBU have scored at will at every stage of the competition, and have piled up an impressive record of 22 goals for and one against in four games played, while Reggae Youths played a defensive strategy the last two rounds to draw 0-0 and win on penalty kicks.

While they were able to deny Norwood and a wasteful Granville United, the Reggae Youths defence could be put to the task if Dr Dean Weatherly sticks to his ploy of starting a full strength team regardless of the opposition.

A strike force of Allan Ottey, Lesly St Fleur and Kemiro James might be too much for Reggae Youths, but Irving did say they welcomed the challenge, as it would be a good test if they were to face Premier League opposition in the Champions Cup.

Today’s game is a play to finish, and if Reggae Youths are able to hold off MBU in 90 minutes, two periods of extra time will be employed, and if there is still a deadlock, penalty kicks will be used to decide the champions.

Reggae Youths’ Ian Elliot dribbles away from Granville United’s Sean Afflick in last week’s semi-finals of the St James Football Association Captain’s Bakery and Grill Knockout. Reggae Youths beat Granville 5-4 on penalty kicks to advance to today’s final against Montego Bay United. (Photo: Paul Reid)


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