Paradise, BDF clash tonight
Barbados Defence Force (BDF) and DirecTV Paradise, two of the joint early leaders, clash in the Digicel Premier League at the Wildey AstroTurf tonight.
Their 8 p.m football showdown will be preceded by a clash between early strugglers Mackeson Brittons Hill and Families First St John Sonnets, who are winless, at 6 p.m.
Both BDF and Paradise are on six points from three matches, the same as title holders Weymouth Wales and Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame, who have played one game more.
Fresh from their 4-0 drubbing of Sonnets on Thursday when they played without inspirational captain Mario Harte, BDF won’t find the Paradise defence as accommodating.
With national payers Barry Skeete, Andre Bourne and Jonathan Straker, plus Mark Cox, Jamar Thomas and new acquisition Tito Beckles, Paradise boast of one of the strongest defensive units in the competition.
They can also call on Stuart Hall, another former national selectee while Barbados first-choice goalkeeper Jason “Barbers” Boxhill, the only custodian who has not conceded a goal, will be between the uprights for Paradise.
Harte is expected to be back to lead the BDF attack alongside Chai Lloyd, who rediscovered his goal-scoring form with a brace against Sonnets. Kyle Gibson, Shaquille Stewart and Nicholas Best are other strike options.
At the other end, Paradise’s speedy young striker Armando “Suga” Lashley will have to show his skills against a strong BDF defence with the likes of Ricardio Morris, Zico Phillips, Teriq Highland, Kemar Chase and Jason Lovell.
With striker Mustafa Haqq back in training after recuperating from injury but likely to start on the bench and uncertainty surrounding the gifted Kadeem Latham, Lashley should be joined up front by either his cousin Rahim Lashley or the experienced Kenny Sealy.
The midfield battle will see Paradise coach-player Kent Hall, Trevor Mayers, teenager Jomo Harris and Greg Mandeville battling with Raheim Sargeant, Akeem Browne, Romario Harewood and Dwayne O’Garro.
In the opener, Brittons Hill, who are badly missing the creativity of Rondelle Vaughan in midfield due to a broken arm, will be looking to bounce back from a loss to their neighbours, Brittons Hill.
They are still hurting from the departure of stalwart Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge, national captain Jeffrey Williams and goalkeeper Kerry Holder, but would be fancying their chances of sending Sonnets crashing to a fourth straight defeat.
For Sonnets to salvage any points from this encounter, midfielder Damian Husbands and diminutive striker Zico Mascoll will have to step up to the plate and get whole-hearted support from their teammates.