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Old friend threatens Wolves’ resurgence

Still unbeaten: Jomar Wilkinson, seen on the Wolves bench during his brief stint as assistant coach in 2017, will be hoping to remain unbeaten in the league as the Southampton Rangers coach when he meets his former club on Sunday at Garrison Field (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The loss of a possible three points from their match against Young Men’s Social Club on September 30 could be significant for Wolves in their push for promotion this season.

Wolves are planning to appeal the Bermuda Football Association’s decision to award the points to Social Club after the referee deemed that the pitch at Garrison Field, where Wolves now play their home games, was not properly marked.

“We just feel that was harsh,” said Vince Minors, the Wolves player-coach, who returned in a coaching capacity this season and has seen the transformation of a team that finished second from bottom last season. Now they are up to fourth in the standings, and very much in with a chance of promotion.

“We’re weren’t planning on being in the promotion race but now that we are those three points have become so valuable to us,” the coach added. “We would like to play the game, and I don’t see why we can’t. My club is planning to appeal it.”

Wolves meet unbeaten leaders Southampton Rangers at Garrison Field tomorrow, hoping to inflict the first loss on Rangers since the end of the 2017-18 season. Jomar Wilkinson, the Rangers coach, had a brief stint as Wolves assistant coach after he lost his job with Dandy Town in January 2017.

Wilkinson, a former Wolves player, finished the season with the Devonshire club before accepting the offer to take over as the Rangers head coach. In 26 league matches, he has not tasted defeat, although going undefeated last season did not bring promotion, as BAA and Paget claimed the two promotion spots.

Minors, who took over as the Wolves coach this season, would love to be the team to end Rangers’ unbeaten run. “We would definitely like to end their streak from last season and this season, but if we have to take a point, we’ll take a point,” Minors said.

“We definitely want the three points. We played Rangers in preseason and drew 4-4. Jomar and I communicate and try to keep things on a good level, so a lot of respect for my good mate.

“He’s done a good thing; it’s hard for a team to go undefeated and not get promoted, so I know that was very hard for him. But he’s continuing in the same vein and you can’t knock that.” Things are looking up for last season’s bottom two teams in the First Division, with Hamilton Parish, the last-placed team, also making a strong push for promotion this time around.

Last season the two clubs managed only one win each but now, as the new campaign nears the halfway stage, both have turned things around and earning respect as they sit third and fourth in the standings after eight games.

“After taking over as player-coach, we had an earlier preseason in order to get guys in shape and be able to think and not be tired,” Minors said.

“We have a good mix of young and old, picked up a couple of 16 and 18-year-olds and even some older players. Having that good blend and having them in some shape seems to be working wonders. They aren’t afraid to put in the hard work. They believe in what I’m trying to do, so that’s always a plus.

“As I tell my team every week, a lot of teams are looking at us as a weaker team, but we were coming out to say we’re not afraid of anybody. We had a practice game with North Village last weekend and they beat us 3-2, but we were leading for the majority of the match.”

Wolves share Garrison Field with X-Roads, who are having a successful season themselves in the top flight. “Yes, we’ve played a few games in front of them and we also have them in the FA Cup in January, another extremely tough task,” Minors admitted. “It’s definitely a good environment down there; my team likes it.

“We play Flanagan’s in the Shield next weekend, so we have a lot to play for.”

Parish have the chance to climb over Somerset Eagles and back into second place today when they take on bottom team Vasco at Bernard Park at 3pm. Other First Division matches tomorrow will feature Somerset Eagles, the other unbeaten team, against Social Club at Police Field, while in the battle of the Colts, St George’s play Devonshire Colts at Wellington Oval.