Crucial weekend for relegation candidates
The bottom four teams will play against each other in two crucial Premier Division matches tomorrow that will have a big bearing on the relegation battle.
Paget, second from bottom, will meet eighth-placed Boulevard at Southampton Oval while bottom team Somerset Trojans host Devonshire Cougars, seventh, in another important home match.
Paget, in their first season back in the Premier Division, are hoping to end a losing run which has seen them pick up just one point since their 3-0 win over Somerset Trojans at the end of October. That was Paget’s best month of the season as they picked up wins over Boulevard and Somerset and draws against Robin Hood and Cougars.
With only a point separating three teams, three points will be very important for the teams trying to move clear of the relegation zone. “I do want the three points, that would be crucial for us,” admitted Robert Lee, coach of Paget.
Paget beat Boulevard 4-1 in their first meeting, but even after Boulevard’s 8-2 loss to PHC last weekend, which now leaves them with the most goals conceded (39) in the Premier Division, Lee insists Boulevard won’t be taken lightly.
“We’re not taking anything for granted, we still have to go out there and do the job,” he stressed. “It’s really time to get back on track. The players still think we’ve got something to play for and that we can survive.” Cougars face a tough trip to Somerset to meet a Trojans team facing the real threat of relegation. Somerset are still without a win in the league and are seven points from safety with six games remaining.
Both teams played at Wellington Oval in the FA Cup two weeks ago against First Division opponents, Somerset beating Hamilton Parish 2-0 and Cougars losing on penalty kicks to St George’s to reach the quarter-finals.
At the other end of the table PHC have the chance to briefly open a six-point gap over Robin Hood at the top when they meet North Village today at Bernard Park. Judging by their recent FA Cup meeting, which went into extra time before PHC prevailed, this match could be another close contest. Only a Cecoy Robinson penalty separated the sides in the corresponding fixture back in September at PHC Field.
Tomorrow’s other two matches will involve teams who are through to the last eight of the FA Cup, with Dandy Town hosting unbeaten Robin Hood at St John’s Field and X-Roads, third, meeting fifth place BAA at Garrison Field.
In the First Division, Southampton Rangers and Somerset Eagles should move another step closer to promotion this weekend. Rangers, the league leaders, play St George’s at Southampton Oval while Eagles host Flanagan’s Onions at White Hill Field.
Hamilton Parish, seven points back in third place, should get their first win in the league since December 9 when they host Ireland Rangers at Wellington Oval. Coach Corey Hill admitted this week that promotion is out of their hands with a seven point gap between themselves and Eagles who also have a game in hand.
Mid-table sides Devonshire Colts and St David’s meet at Police Field while Young Men’s Social Club and Wolves will meet today at Police Field at 3.00.
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