Wed, Aug


W Connection land 'Classic' A third kick save by goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams against Jamal Ayres on kicks from the penalty mark following a goal-less Final separated W Connection from T&TEC FC 5-4 to lift the 2011 Toyota Classic trophy on Friday night at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

Striker Kerry Baptiste, playing on local soil after nearly a year, debuted for T&TEC as a late substitute and stepped up for the first kick which he completed with a trademark finish.

And teammate Javed Mohammed smashed in his strike for T&TEc's second before Ayres was denied by the brilliance of Trinidad and Tobago international goalkeeper Williams.

Kern Cupid, Mekeil Williams, Matthew Bartholomew and Akeem Benjamin were all on target for Connection in respective order and eventual Final MVP Shahdon Winchester sealed the victory with his kick in the fifth against goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

Second half substitute Marcus Joseph and Kelvin Modeste were T&TEC fourth and fifth kickers burying their efforts.

T&TEC playing in its backyard didn't give a bad account reaching its second Final in as many knockout tournaments this season - the First Citizens Cup being the other.

Former Connection midfielder Andre Pacheco had the first attempt on goal in the 10th minute swinging a low right footed effort which was blocked out by Williams.

Three minutes later Connection's Andre Quashie broke lose on a forward pass by Shahdon Winchester and executed a neat chip against outrushing goalkeeper Phillip, however Corneal Thomas rescued his the current Digicel Pro League leaders by picking up the ball just before the goal-line.

In the 21st minute Sylvester Teesdale showed some good pace on the leftside before touching past defender Elijah Joseph inside the Connection area but selfishly went for goal from an angle with teammate Kerlon Ferguson waiting inside the area. Goalkeeper Williams had no problem wrapping the effort.

But in the 27th minute Williams had a bigger tasking in blocking out a blast by Pacheco.

W Connection's Winchester was inches wide of the far post in the 33rd minute and teammate Andre Quashie wider in the 34th minute closing off efforts in the keenly contested first half.

Following the break Winchester was denied by Phillip in the 46th minute after he was played at the edge of the area by Bartholomew.

And in the 56th Bartholomew himself was denied by his former teammate, Phillip, who pulled off a low save on an effort from inside the area.

T&TEC continued to hunt for openings with some good possession plays.

But it was Connection who had the better opportunities, even a gift in the  81st minute when an errant pass by Coneal Thomas allowed Cupid an attacking run on the right before feeding Winchester who layed off to Joevin Jones.

Again Phillip pulled off a fine save, this time denying the Connection attacking wingback.

And from the resulting corner, Jones outswinger was met by Mekeil Williams who headed wide.

The Final whistle was followed by kicks from the penalty spot with T&TEC finishing second in yet another knockout tournament this season to close off the Toyota Classic which featured the best of the TT Pro League and Super League.

Meantime W Connection, inaugural winners back in 2005, celebrates its first title since finishing last season empty handed.

Kicks from the penalty mark
T&TEC 4    -    W Connection 5
Kerry Baptiste (scored) -  Kern Cupid (scored)
Javed Mohammed (scored) - Mekeil Williams (scored)
Jamal Ayres (saved) - Matthew Bartholomew (scored)
Marcus Joseph (scored) -  Akeem Benjamin (scored)
Kelvin Modeste (scored) - Shahdon Winchester (scored)

Regulation time score
T&TEC FC 0 - 0 W Connection


T&TEC FC-Marvin Phillip, Kern Peters (capt.), Coneal Thomas, Javed Mohammed, Sylvester Teesdale (Kerry Baptiste 73rd) (yellow card), Bevon Bass (Jamal Ayres 63rd), Andrei Pacheco (Marcus Joseph 80th), Aubrey David, Akeem Aadms, Kerlon Ferguson, Kelvin Modeste.

Coach-Dexter Cyrus.

W Connection-Jan Michael Williams (capt.), Mekeil Williams, Elijah Joseph (Akeem Benjamin 75th)  Jomal Williams, Kemuel Rivers, Kern Cupid, Hashim Arcia (Joevin Jones 65th), Andre Quashie (Jerrel Britto 65th), Matthew Bartholomew, Shahdon Winchester (yellow card 67th) Gerrard Williams.

Coach-Stuart Charles Fevrier.

 W Connection land 'Classic'
By Ian Prescott (Express).

DEFENCE largely dominated a good Toyota Classic final before W Connection won the $45,000 champions prize with a 5-4 penalty kicks victory over T&TEC on Friday night at Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.

The final lived up to its billing, producing good football between the current top two teams in the T&T Pro League, who played out a goalless draw before spot kicks decided the winner.

Victory was decided by a brilliant penalty save by W Connection goalie Jan Michael Williams, diving to his left to touch away Jamaal Ayres' powerfully-taken shot.

Shahdon Winchester then netted W Connection's final kick to win the Toyota Classic trophy, matching earlier conversions by teammates Kern Cupid, Mekeil Williams, Matthew Bartholomew and Akeen Benjamin.

Winchester, the star of W Connection's 4-2 semi-final win over San Juan Jabloteh, was also solid in the final and was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

T&TEC, who picked up $15,000 for Friday's losing effort, were runners-up for a second successive cup final after losing the First Citizens Cup 2-1 to Caledonia AIA in October.

Scoring from the spot for the "Electricity Boys" were newly-recruited striker Kerry Baptiste, Javed Mohammed, Marcus Joseph and Kevin Modeste.

Many goals are not always an indicator of an exciting match. Both finalists played good, flowing football and equally matched each other with chances at goal.

W Connection probably had the best chance of the first half when Winchester sprung striker Adrian Quashie with a through ball down the centre of goal in the 13th minute. Quashie used the outside of his right foot to get the ball past advancing keeper Marvin Phillip, but was foiled by defender Corneal Thomas, who ran back and stopped the ball as it was about to enter the goal.

Although W Connection had more possession, the very direct T&TEC team produced three good first half chances of their own. Midfielder Andrei Pacheco went closest in the 27th when almost punishing shoddy defending with a powerful first-time drive from atop the penalty area. The W Connection keeper kept the ball out, but for a moment had no idea where it went.

And when trying to defend a T&TEC corner Winchester almost scored an own goal when re-directing the ball towards his team's goal. Luckily, teammate Jomal Williams was at the far post and kept it out. And on the stroke of half-time, Bevon Bass let fly from 25 metres and forced a brilliant low save from the W Connection keeper.

W Connection had the better start to the second half and a couple chances as well. Early on, Winchester forced Phillip to push out a shot from the edge of the penalty area and soon after Phillip only just managed to paddle the ball away as Bartholomew met Jomal Williams' through ball and shot to goal.

Both teams went for the win. W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier made a double swap, bringing on national Under-23 striker Jerrel Britto and overlapping Trinidad and Tobago senior team left midfielder Joevin Jones in their search for a winner.

T&TEC coach Dexter Cyrus countered by giving Baptiste, scorer of 52 goals in 2009, a 75th minute debut. But on the night, the nearest anyone got to a goal was Quashie's early effort which came within a metre of entering the T&TEC net before defender Thomas swept it away.