Matchday Sixteen Review
Sixteen weeks into the season and although the battle for positions remains intense, the Caribbean Mega League finally has what looks like a clear two favourites for the title. Up until this week, the top six had remained pretty tight and as with only one of the top four winning this weekend we would see the top spot be reclaimed by Jamrock Juniors after yet another dominant display.
In this match-up at the Levi Roots Arena, Daz Knapton’s side were riding high and unbeaten in four. What better time to come up against the bottom of the league, Dominica Dominoes, right? Well, almost. Although Jamtastic were rampant and the ball spent most of its time in the Doms final third, it was a shock to see that the visitors actually went ahead in the first-half of this match thanks to a Kurlson Benjamin goal- only his second of the season. With the half ending astonishingly with a 0-1 scoreline, the crowd were stunned into silence as Newton Sterling and the rest of the Jamrock attack just couldn’t break down Dominoes, despite having over twenty first-half shots. The second forty-five would practically play out in the same format but with one key difference. Goals, goals, goals! Sterling got things going in the fifty-third minute by heading home his tenth goal of the campaign before handing over the headlines to young winger Nazime Matalie-Grant. The former Montego Bay United attacker grabbed a thirty minute hat-trick, including a cracking twenty-five yarder, a tap-in and a penalty to emphatically put to bed his poor record which hadn’t seen him net since Matchday Two. The result sees Jamrock move back into first place and they now sit eight-points off fifth place and can probably start to dream about the first ever World Mega Shield in a couple of months time.
Over at Palo Park in the Dominican Republic, Tom Meadowcroft and his Republican Rabbits side fell further behind the top two but still managed to hold on to third place as they drew 1-1 with Moko-Jumbies FC. The away side, who were looking to leapfrog the Rabbits, went into a very early lead thanks to Javiem Blanchette. The St Kitts & Nevis international striker is now on three goals for the season, but unfortunately for him that goal would be only worth one point as Érick Ozuna capped off an otherwise uninspiring performance with a goal that means both sides sit three points ahead of fifth place, but more importantly five points behind Jamrock Juniors. Meadowcroft shocked some listeners in a post-match interview by claiming that he will leave the club at the end of the season if he doesn’t win the Caribbean Mega League.
Around the rest of the grounds, goals were few and far between, with the big surprise coming at St Stern’s Park as right-back Jair Edwards scored twice in a 2-1 victory for Limbo Leopards over Ajax Oranjestad. Ethan Tromp’s goal of the weekend strike was a mere consolation goal for the relegation-hoverers from Aruba. Redonda Rockys and Spicy Doves both won 1-0 through a first-half strike in their respective games against Bajan Boppers and Suriname Sharks, whilst Vodou People lost top spot in the league after a very unfortunate 0-0 draw against a spunky Bermuda Tempest, who announced earlier this month that they plan to release Macauley Blencowe from his role as manager.
After Matchday Seventeen we’ll officially be three-quarters of the way through the season- and Moko-Jumbies FC vs Jamrock Juniors is the standout fixture of the weekend. Elsewhere, Suriname Sharks take on Vodou People, Republican Rabbits travel to the Barracks to face Bajan Boppers, Bermuda Tempest will continue their fight for safety against Redonda Rockys, as do Ajax Oranjestad who face Spicy Doves. Finally, we’ll see Dominica Dominoes do battle with Limbo Leopards.