Lions aim to stop the Hawks

Gordon C. Williams
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

KINGSTON Lions fighting to stay the race for the first ever Caribbean Professional Soccer League (CPSL) title will meet the high scoring Trinidad and Tobago Hawks at 7 p.m. this evening at the National Stadium.

After three games the Lions are still without their first win. Today the team will try to bolster its flagging record against a club which is threatening to soar away with the regional crown.

"We are still in it," Lions midfielder Christopher Ziadie said yesterday. "But the team to stop is the Hawks."

Based on Saturday's display at Frome they will have a tough task. In that game the Hawks easily disposed of Wavers, Jamaica's other CPSL club who started 10 current or former Jamaica national players. So far the Hawks have won all three games they have played in including Saturday's comfortable 3-0 victory. They have also scored 11 goals while conceding one.

But even after Saturday's stroll the visitor's have promised a better performance this evening especially in converting scoring chances.

"We threw away too many goals," coach Kenny Joseph said after the game against Wavers. "That was our letdown. But we expect to play better in Kingston."

However the Lions are also concerned about their finishing. They tied their first two games and lost the third. Meanwhile the team has scored just four goals while conceding five.

"I am not satisfied by what I am getting (from the forwards)," Lions' coach Carl Brown said yesterday.

Satisfaction won't come easy this evening either. Lions' leading scorer Everald Peddle, two goals, is likely to miss the game because of an ankle injury suffered in the last game. Also doubtful is midfielder Ifidel Hamilton who is also nursing an ankle injury.

But the Lions biggest concern could be their ability to defend against the Hawks. Reports indicate that defensive lapses and below par goalkeeping by Clive Smith cost the Lions dearly in their last two games, although Brown considers the unit his most consistent. This evening they should play five defenders but will be tested by the Hawks passing movement off the ball and also the individual skill of forwards Marvin Faustin and Alvin Boisson.

Still the most crucial match up should be in midfield where the Hawks, Kerry Jamerson and Lester Felician especially dominated against Wavers, outplaying national representatives Winston Anglin and Donald Hewitt. Jamerson passes well but he is also a consistent scoring threat and leads the team with five goals from three games.

To compound matters for the Lions, their midfield has been a very inconsistent unit. This evening they are expected to go with Hamilton if fit, Montigue Long and either Ziadie, Linval Dixon or Ricardo Hyde.

But the Lions could surprise up front where Walter Boyd and Rodrick Reid are expected to start and schoolboy Ali Rose could see playing time. Against Wavers the Hawks were rarely threatened in defence largely because Wavers consistently used high hanging crosses which
posed few problems for goalkeeper Hayden Thomas and the other defenders. But Boyd and Reid prefer to attack with the dribble and Boyd's additional pace could make a difference.

"I don't believe the Hawks have played against the calibre of those two (Reid and Boyd)," Brown said.

The Hawks in turn should be the best team the Lions see so far. The Lions lost 3-2 to St. Clair Coaching School of Tobago last week. Earlier in the season the Hawks blanked St. Clair 4-0.