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Semis showdown


Justin Marville

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St Michael North and St Michael South Central are out to ruin the dream final.
The two St Michael sides will try tonight to deny reigning champs The City and joint favourites Christ Church West Central the chance of a much-anticipated final showdown in the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils’ Football Classic.
The City will face St Michael North and Christ Christ Church West Central will meet St Michael South Central in the semi-finals at Speightstown.
The unbeaten favourites have long established themselves as the teams to beat after being two of just four teams to exit the group stages without a loss before steamrolling through the knockout rounds.
But while their appearance in the final has been long expected, it surely isn’t guaranteed.
Though playing at the same St Peter venue, The City and Christ Church West Central should face different challenges from two St Michael teams who have each suffered just a solitary setback on their path to the Final Four.
The North side especially won’t be pushovers for The City after proving their worth two weeks ago by travelling to Belleplaine and stunning then undefeated St Andrew in front of their hostile home crowd.
And it was the second time in as many matches that St Michael North ousted a team on their own home turf after coming from a goal down to upend St Michael West Central in a stoppage time thriller.
Winger Damien Welch should prove a handful alone for City to deal with, once he can continue to produce those electrifying runs down the right flank.
It will be up to Jamar “Crouch” Grazette to ensure he finishes any chances he is sure to get from Welch, as his strike partner Andre Pinder has been somewhat of an anomaly with his up and down play.
Had this game been scheduled for last week, the North might have even started as favourites, with The City’s attack having struggled for form against St James Central in the quarters.
However, that was due to the absence of Jeffrey Williams in the middle as the national playmaker had to move back into defence to fill in for the injured Jomo Brathwaite.
With two weeks to recover, Brathwaite should be back to man The City’s backline, allowing Williams to resume his duties in the middle of the field where he can readily supply forwards Dwayne Mars and Rohan Hewitt.
Once on their game, that attacking trio should be too much to handle for a sometimes inconsistent St Michael North defence.
St Michael South Central will also have their hands full with prolific forward Dario Lewis, who has routinely found the back of the net for Christ Church West Central – the only team to have won every single match.
As much as Lewis has been scoring though, the real threat might be that of Shane Cox in the midfield as the playmaker seemingly has had a hand in almost every one of the squad’s goals.
It’s left to be seen if South Central have the ability to shut down the skillful Cox as the Zone 6 side is somewhat of an unknown entity after flying under the radar.
What is known is that their only loss of the tournament came against a talented St Andrew team that was expected to make it this far after failing to lose a match up until the fateful quarter-final against St Michael North.
That said, St Michael South Central have yet to come up against a team of Christ Church West Central’s calibre, and ball possession might be hard to come by versus a squad full of elite Paradise players that are accustomed playing with each other.
The two will take the field at 6:30 p.m. ahead of City’s night cap against St Michael North.

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