IN an unusual game for the Defence Force, their customary scorer Jason Scotland could not make his mark.
But although the marksmen for CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh—Ralston James and Keith Gumbs—also failed to find the net, defender Kerwyn Jack became an unlikely hero with the lone goal that saw the team lift the First Citizen Bank’s Cup at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence Friday night.
Jack’s strike in the 53rd minute of the game also earned his team the $25,000 winners’ cash prize. And for his effort, he was adjudged the MVP of the finals, winning himself two tickets to any American Airline destination.
The defender of the series prize went to the Army’s Dennis Lawrence which included a trophy and $1,000.
But the lanky Lawrence would have willingly exchanged that award for Jabloteh’s silverware.
Marvin Faustin and his men, however, made sure the Cup went home to San Juan.
Wearing the captain’s band for this game, Faustin and his defence managed to keep Scotland at bay for most of the game. When Scotland did break loose in the 4th minute of the match his shot lacked the power to get past Alejandro Figueroa.
But the Army/Coast Guard combination failed to provide Scotland with his habitual service. And to add to their problems, the sturdy striker picked up a knee injury in a tackle near the interval.
At the other end James and Gumbs were suffering the same fate and the lack of good distribution made for a scrappy first half’s play that gave goalkeepers Figueroa and Ross Russell little work to do.
Errol Mc Farlane’s team was out of sorts in the back and frontline. Lawrence, back from a recent trial with Newcastle, was playing in the right back position instead of his usual stopper spot.
The understanding was not there and after James skied one overbars from a mix-up, the Army defence erred one time too many.
When they failed to clear the ball from left side crosses on two occasions, David Villaquiran struck a low ball into the box that an out of position Anton Pierre could only divert into Jack’s path near the edge of the penalty area.
Jack immediately snapped a low left footer that Russell’s desperate lunge failed to get a hand to despite.
Scotland then had motivation to improve on his 22-goal tally to date. But the injury sustained in the previous half was limiting his movement. And Faustin and company were keeping the lid on their goal shut. “Scotty” did manage one shot near the end from the top of the area that flew wide of Figueroa’s upright.
Jabloteh’s Kevin Jeffrey, on for Gumbs, did not shoot wide in injury time from a ball played over the Kerry Jamerson-marshalled defence.
But his went harmlessly into Russell’s arms.
But when Ramesh Ramdhan ended the game, it was the unlikely Jack that had done the job.