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14
Thu, Dec

W Connection dethrone Central to claim seventh First Citizens Cup.
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Jomal’s winner and assist steer Savonetta Boys to First Citizens Cup glory after 7 years; Club Sando takes third as captain Anthony Parris shines on emotional farewell.

Jomal Williams tucked away a gorgeous winner after setting up an equaliser to help W Connection rally from a goal down to dethrone rivals Central FC as First Citizens Cup champions on Friday night.


“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Jomal. “I’m really happy to be the one to set up the first goal then the winner in a game like this.”

Jomal said his team’s performance had a lot to with “winning confidence and revenge after being second to Central for most of recent times.

“Our attitude and professionalism in this game along with the drive to be champions for the first time in a very long time had everything to do with it.

“During the half time break and a goal down we realised the only chance is to give everything. It was a final. In the second half we worked harder as a team.”

Before a crowd of two thousand that packed the covered section of the Ato Boldon Stadium, a lifted pass by Jomal in the 69th minute had set Shahdon Winchester free, and although sandwiched between two defenders the forward slipped the ball through the legs of an advancing goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams for a 1-1 score.

It was a treat for fans, although trying to remain devoted to their respective sides as the two-time defending champions, Central FC, and six-time former champions, W Connection, battled it out fiercely in the latest Couva-Clásico.

Central had taken a 1-0 lead five minutes before the break, as spectators erupted into excitement at the Couva venue when midfielder Sean De Silva ran onto a cheeky Willis Plaza heeled pass inside the area and smashed the ball past Connection goalkeeper Julani Archibald and into the far netting.

That goal came as spectators were just settling back into their seats after a Winchester strike had rattled the Central crossbar two minutes earlier.

Spectators were off seats again during the break, this time for tasty corn soup and doubles distributed free, thanks to title sponsor, First Citizens, who also did giveaways and prizes for spectators during the night, with body boards for kids, two flat screen television sets as door prizes, appliances, and an entertaining cheerleading showdown. First Citizens setting the bar in local football entertainment and the tournament lived up to the hype, producing an average of 4.1 goals per game (41 goals from 10 games), some of them spectacular strikes.

Winchester, who finished with three goals along with teammate Jomal, was denied a second time by the crossbar in the 79th minute as both sides continued on missed opportunities.

However Connection had taken the lead 2-1 three minutes earlier when crafty midfielder Jomal executed a perfectly placed curling right-footer into the far netting of Jan-Michael’s netting, signalling an end to the Central’s two-year rule of the First Citizens Cup, one of seven honours achieved last season, including the Digicel Pro League and Caribbean Club Championship.

Central FC head coach Ross Russell reacted by dispatching three more forwards, Nicholas Dillon, Marcus Joseph and Mickaeel Jem Gordon, but 2-1 it stood at the end.

Connection, who added insult to injury by giving striker Dwight Quintero a late run at his former side, did just enough, with a couple defensive changes, to hold off Central and in the process, snapped the Couva Sharks nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

In the previous six meetings, Central had defeated Connection three times, including the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship final and the 2015-16 season-opening Digicel Charity Shield, and had two drawn matches. While the Savonetta Boys’ previous victory was 13 months ago in the 2014 Charity Shield.

When the curtain finally came down on Friday night, Central forward Willis Plaza finished as the First Citizens Cup 2015 Top Scorer with 5 goals, but the Couva Sharks, champions of 2013 and 2014, had to settle for runners-up medals and the accompanying $20,000 while W Connection, winners in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, etched their name in 2015.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Jomal as he beamed with pride. “The atmosphere is great as you can see. It’s something we really wanted for our president (David John-Williams) and coach (Stuart Charles-Fevrier) and the rest of the staff. This means a lot for the club.”

Yes, Connection finally had grip on the crystal trophy after seven long years and received the $110,000 champions’ prize.

“A final is a final but because Central were the most dominant team last year, it really satisfying to show that we can defeat them when it matters most,” W Connection head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier said of his team’s victory.

“We have a very young squad and tonight I am very pleased that we were able to dethrone Central, who are also the champions of the league last season. It says a lot to defeat the champions in a final.

“It was a keenly contested game but we showed that we deserved the win. We created much more goalscoring opportunities and at the end we won the game. We definitely showed that we were fitting champions.

“It’s a nice feeling because last year we didn’t win any [major] competition, only the (Digicel) Charity Shield.”

Charles-Fevrier also said that he is “quite pleased” in the progress shown by his young players. He said that while his job is a challenge in trying to develop his players as professionals, it’s a challenge he welcomes.

Charles-Fevrier, the eventual Coach of the Tournament, added, “Today is a step in the right direction. It will also give us confidence for the rest of the season. We want to try to win everything this season. It’s always our goal to win everything we compete in, and it won’t be different this season.”

Jomal picked up the final MVP award while Club Sando, tournament newcomers, also joined winners-row as third place medal receivers and the accompanying $10,000 after defeating Morvant Caledonia United (MCU) 4-2 in the earlier match at the Couva venue.

Club Sando captain Anthony Parris shined on an emotional farewell while teammate Akeem Humphrey netted a double.

Parris said goodbye in style on Friday night with a goal and two assists to pace Club Sando for a 4-2 win over MCU.

The 24-year-old Sando captain, less than two months into his first season at the Pro League, said goodbye to his club after agreeing on a move to Super League outfit Prisons FC, where he is expected to later join the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service.

“It was an honour to be the first captain of the young men at Club Sando in the Pro League,” Parris told ttproleague.com after Friday’s third place play-off of the First Citizens Cup.

Parris said he had sleepless nights after receiving the call from Prisons on Monday, deliberating whether or not to leave Sando.

“I thought about my future in terms of employment and I decided to join Prisons. My heart is with Club Sando but my head is with Prisons.”

Parris is expected to begin training with Prisons FC today (Saturday) and is hoping to be part of his new team’s squad against Cunupia on Tuesday.

Commenting on Sando’s third place finish in the FCC, the outgoing captain said, “This is our first participation at the First Citizens Cup and third place isn’t bad.”

It was off Parris’ strike which rebounded off MCU’s Canadian-born goalkeeper Anthony Whyte to allow forward Kevon Woodley a simple task of tapping in his fourth goal of the tournament.

Parris was involved again in the 26th minute when his perfect cross allowed Akeem Humphrey to control beyond defender Shaquille Holder and rifle past Whyte, restoring Sando’s one-goal lead after MCU forward Eugine Kirwan had tied the scores on the 20th minute.

Humphrey was credited with Sando’s third item and his second on the night after Woodley’s attempt in the 34th minute cannoned off the far upright and off the midfielder to enter the MCU net.

Parris then made it 4-1 on the stroke of half-time when he pounced on a spill by goalkeeper Whyte on a Woodley attempt.

Sando goalkeeper Alexei Julien was brilliant on the night but there was little he could do when MCU substitutes Kareem Joseph and Kennedy Isles combined in the 66th minute for the latter to score a rocket, for a 2-4 deficit but that’s how the score-line stood in the end.

Following the match Club Sando head coach Anthony Streete, said, “It was important for Club Sando to do well because we have a support base and we want it to grow. It was important for us to step up to the task. The players understood that, although they were a bit complacent in the second half. They felt they had the game covered 4-1 at half-time. I keep talking about the bringing the fans back out to the football and that’s our main objective at Sando. I always tell my players stop blaming the people for not coming out if you’re not raising the standard of play.”

First Citizens Cup 2015 Final

W Connection 2 (Shahdon Winchester 69’, Jomal Williams 76’) vs Central FC 1 (Sean De Silva 40’)

Third Place Play-Off

Morvant Caledonia United 2 (Eugine Kirwan 20’, Kennedy Isles 66’) vs Club Sando 4 (Kevon Woodley 16’, Akeem Humphrey 26’, 34’, Anthony Parris 45’+1)

Teams

W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald; 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Triston Hodge, 9.Shahdon Winchester, 10.Jomal Williams, 11.Neil Benjamin Jr., 14.Andre Toussaint (19.Dwight Quintero 80th), 16.Alvin Jones (Capt.), 17.Aikim Andrews (21.Shannon Gomez 58th), 25.Christian Ocoro Viveros (8.Briel Thomas 46th)

Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 4.Maurice Ford, 34.Jabari Mitchell, 48.Stiven Lopez Concha

Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier

Central FC: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (Capt.); 7.Jason Marcano (14.Nicholas Dillon 70th), 8.Sean De Silva, 10.Marvin Oliver (99.Marcus Joseph 73rd), 11.Darren Mitchell (26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon 80th), 12.Jamal Jack, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 17.Marcelle Francois, 24.Kevon Villaroel, 33.Willis Plaza, 22.Leston Paul

Unused substitutes: 30.Akel Clarke, 6.Kerry Baptiste, 23.Jean-Luc Rochford, 25.Elijah Manners

Coach: Ross Russell

Match Referee: Rodphin Harris

Teams

Morvant Caledonia United: 30.Anthony Whyte; 2.Shomari Antione (14.Kennedy Isles 57th), 3.Ranaldo Bailey, 4.Ordell Flemming, 5.Daniel Whyte, 9.Eugine Kirwan, 10.Sheldon Holder, 18.Akeem Roach, 20.Jamal Harvey (11.Abdallah Phillips 30th), 23.Shaquille Edwards, 24.Gregory President (12.Kareem Joseph 57th)

Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 13.Kyle Bartholomew, 21.Densill Theobald, 26.Jamal Roach

Coach: Jerry Moe

Club Sando: 33.Alexei Julien; 4.Anthony Parris (Capt.) (24.Devon Modeste 67th); 5.Devon Drayton, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey, 8.Jeromie Williams (20.Keith Williams 75th), 11.Teba Mc Knight, 15.Amrit Gildharry, 16.Kevon Woodley, 17.Jared London, 22.Corneal Thomas.

Unused substitutes: 18.Shane Hospidales, 19.Ryan Frederick, 21.Kerron Mitchell, 34.Kelvin Henry (GK), 26.Shaquille Holder

Coach: Anthony Streete

Match Referee: Mervyn Wallace