Striker Andre Toussaint stole the show against his former club W Connection on Friday night at the Marvin Lee Stadium when he earned Joe Public a 1-0 Digicel Pro Bowl Final victory to retain the title.
Toussaint who joined Public in 2009 from Connection, scored the lone item of the match only 11 minutes inside when from a left side corner play he controlled the ball inside the area and slipped a shot past goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams for the 1-0 advantage.
Toussaint was later named the tournament MVP and also picked up the Most Goals Award with three goals (two in the semi-final round against Caledonia and one in the Final) while his team celebrated a new Digicel Pro Bowl trophy and the $100,000.00 winner takes all payout.
Friday’s Digicel Pro Bowl Final closed off the TT Pro League 2010-2011 calendar with Joe Public ending the season with two titles (First Citizens Cup and retaining the Pro Bowl which they captured in 2009 against Caledonia).
It was a basically a new look Joe Public, with head coach Rajesh Latchoo only in his fourth match in charge and only four surviving standout players (Carlyle Mitchell, Hayden Tinto, Marvin Phillip and Toussaint) from last season’s Pro Bowl.
Goalkeeper Phillip, also a former W Connection player, pulled off a magnificent save with a one-handed push-out to measure a brilliant Christian Viveros strike from 30 yards out which headed for the upper corner in the 34th minute.
W Connection tested Phillip again in the 43rd minute from a freekick, but the Joe Public goalie tamed an Andrei Pacheco freekick by palming the effort before gathering.
Joe Public dominated the forward movement in the opening half and was close to doubling its advantage in the 51st minute, however after a weaving run down the right by Toussaint, Dorion Robinson was blocked out by Williams and the rebound effort by Hayden Tinto was blocked out by defender Kemuel Rivers.
The W Connection goal was threatened again in the 62nd minute with a shot by Kareem Young, but his effort was easily handled by Williams.
Connection responded with a strike by Hughton Hector from the left in the 69th minute which was blocked out by Phillip and two minutes later substitute Hashim Arcia hammered overbar off Kern Cupid’s cross.
However the Stuart Charles Fevrier coached side couldn’t restrain the Joe Public attacks. Toussaint struck the side netting in the 77th minute after great skill by Robinson near the corner flag which left defender Akeem Benjamin beaten and the packed Marvin Lee Stadium crowd into a celebrative outburst.
And at the Final whistle in the 95th minute, the Lions roared while Connection slumped off the pitch after ending with a trophyless season for the first time in the club’s history as a professional club beginning in 1999.
Joe Public 1—0 W Connection
Andre Toussaint 11’
Joe Public—Marvin Phillip, Carlyle Mitchell (capt), Keion Goodridge, Micah Lewis (Marvin Manswell 87th), Hayden Tinto (Neil Mitchell 83rd), Andre Toussaint, Kareem Young (Yellow), Kareem Moses, Dorion Robinson, Aubrey David, Jevon Morris.
W Connection—Jan Michael Williams, Elijah Joseph (capt), Kern Cupid, Andrei Pacheco (Yellow) (Hashim Arcia 67th), Romauld Aguillera, Kemuel Rivers, Silvio Spann (Matthew Bartholomew 54th), Hughtun Hector, Keron Cummings (Clyde Leon 46th), Akeem Benjamin, Christian Viveros.
Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier.
Match Referee—Shane De Silva.
Joe Public lift Digicel Pro Bowl.
By Ian Prescott (Express).
One might describe Andre Toussaint's goal as one in one hundred thousand. The striker's 11th-minute strike gave Joe Public the big $100,000 prize that came with their 2010-2011 Digicel Pro Bowl Final victory over W Connection, on Friday night, at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
Having dominated early, and scored through Toussaint, defending champions Joe Public held off a W Connection test in the final 20 minutes to win successive Pro Bowl titles.
Toussaint was later named tournament MVP. He scored a tournament high four goals, two against Caledonia AIA and one each on Police and W Connection, to win the Most Goals Award as well.
And after a difficult season, the Eastern Lions ended up both the First Citizens Cup and Digicel Pro Bowl champions–not quite the five titles they picked up in 2009, but certainly the most silverware by any team this season.
Joe Public looked better on Friday than they had looked for the entire competition, and deserved to win the Pro Bowl. They were quick, too quick for W Connection in the early stages, and very dangerous.
Just 11 minutes into the action, former W Connection striker Toussaint collected the ball from a corner kick and beat goalie Jan Michael Williams from close up to give his team the lead.
Joe Public kept W Connection busy all night. Hayden Tinto was particularly lively on the left flank, while hard-running Dorian Robinson and tricky Toussaint combined to stretch W Connection at the back.
But it was the blistering pace with which Joe Public broke into attack that most unsettled the visitors. Williams was many times unsettled in the W Connection goal, and Joe Public went close to doubling their advantage in the 51st minute.
Tinto completely defeated defender Akeem Benjamin, and except for Kemuel Rivers' interception, his short pass would have given striker Robinson an easy goal.
"We struggled in the first 20 minutes," W Connection head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier said afterwards. "But, once we settled, I think we did enough to get something out of the match. But, Joe Public dug deep. Congratulations to them."
As always, W Connection played proper football, but they lacked bite up front. They eventually settled, and in the 34th minute Colombian Christian Viveros drove in a 30-metre shot, which goalie Marvin Phillip brilliantly tipped over the Joe Public goal. But it was only in the final 20 minutes that the former double champions (2004 and 2005) turned up the pressure and looked menacing.
Even then, there was no one to put the ball into the net. Laventille-based striker Hasim Arcia had three tries after coming in as a second half substitute, but powerfully blasted shots over the bar without testing the Joe Public keeper.
"You can see that the football is there, but we were lacking an offence," Fevrier admitted. "We need at least one or two strikers in our squad–it's something we are aware of. Shahdon [Winchester] would have been playing in the game, but he is away with the national under-20 team."
Fittingly, the 2010-2011 Digicel Pro Bowl ended in a good backyard jam. After all, Joe Public won in their backyard, at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
JOE PUBLIC: 1-Marvin Phillip (Goalkeeper), 19-Carlyle Mitchell (Captain), 3-Keion Goodridge, 27-Micah Lewis (20-Marvin Manswell 87th), 7-Hayden Tinto (32-Neil Mitchell 83rd), 11-Andre Toussaint, 14-Kareem Young (Y), 30-Kareem Moses, 25- Dorion Robinson, 2-Aubrey David, 34-Jevon Morris.
Coach – Rajesh Latchoo.
W CONNECTION: 18-Jan Michael Williams (Goalkeeper), 5-Elijah Joseph (Captain), 3-Kern Cupid, 19-Andrei Pacheco (Y) (14-Hashim Arcia 67th), 12-Romauld Aguillera, 15-Kemuel Rivers, 16-Silvio Spann (9-Matthew Bartholomew 54th), 17-Hughtun Hector, 25-Keron Cummings (8-Clyde Leon 46th), 27-Akeem Benjamin, 33-Christian Viveros.
Coach – Stuart Charles-Fevrier.
Referee–Shane De Silva.