W Connection celebrated wins on an off the field yesterday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium with club president David John-Williams voted in as the new Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president just over two hours before the Savonetta Boys outlasted 10-man Couva-rivals Central FC 6-5 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the semi-final round of the Toyota Classic.
As John-Williams basked in victory after two rounds of voting at the TTFA elections hosted in the VIP lounge of the Port of Spain venue earlier in the day, Defence Force were leading defending Toyota Classic champions San Juan Jabloteh 1-0 in semi-final one of the Toyota Classic.
Devorn Jorsling had scored in the 41st minute, right-footing a Curtis Gonzales cross past Jabloteh goalkeeper Shemel Louison in a play which began from a quickly taken Jelani Felix free-kick.
Felix later struck the crossbar and Jabloteh looked dangerous on a few occasions, but it was Jorsling’s first-half strike that separated both sides in the end after a dismal contest.
In the second semi-final, but first match witnessed by John-Williams in his new position as TTFA president, W Connection and Central battled through 90 minutes of play, inclusive of 4 goals and a red card, then sixteen penalty kicks before winners were finally produced.
Connection goalkeeper Julani Archibald produced the winning save on penalties in the second kick of sudden death to deny a poorly taken strike by Central defender Jamal Jack after both sides were neck and neck throughout.
Archibald had redeemed himself. It was his errant pass in the 47th minute of play allowed Willis Plaza to score into an open net for a 2-1 Couva Sharkslead.
Connection, the most successful club in the Toyota Classic with 3 titles, had taken a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when Neil Benjamin Jr. chipped an advancing goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams from just inside the area for a 1-0 score after racing onto an Andre Toussaint feed from midfield.
However Central midfielder Ataulla Guerra equalised for a 1-1 score two minutes later when he smashed a low drive past Archibald after combining with Plaza in a right side move initiated by Nathaniel Garcia.
With 13 minutes left in regulation time and a goal down, Connection head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier summoned the services of former Central forward Dwight Quintero at the expense of defensive midfielder Briel Thomas and the 21-year-old delivered.
Quintero executed a glancing header off an Alvin Jones’ free-kick to send the ball into the bottom corner of the Central net, levelling the scores 2-2 in the 81st minute.
Goalkeeper Williams, who produced a brilliant save in the 65th minute to keep out a Jomal Williams’ free-kick at the bottom corner, had little chance on Quintero’s header.
Central were reduced to 10-men when referee Keon Yorke issued Nathaniel Garcia an automatic red card with three minutes left after flashing the midfielder’s second yellow card of the match for a foul on Jomal Williams.
Central were inches shy of grabbing a late winner after a Guerra strike from distance in the 89th minute skidded off the outside of the base of goalkeeper Archibald’s upright to the relief of Connection, who went on to win a nerve-wrecking penalty shootout 6-5.
Both sides had met last Tuesday in the Digicel Pro League and played to a 1-1 draw at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
W Connection president David John-Williams, however, had a somewhat easier journey to victory as elected TTFA president. He received 25 votes from the 45 delegates present in the second ballot of the TTFA elections while Raymond Tim Kee, who was seeking a second term, received 19 votes.
In round one John-Williams received 18 votes, ahead of Tim Kee (13), Clynt Taylor (8.), Selby Browne (3) and Ramesh Ramdhan (3).
While John-Williams get set for his challenge as new TTFA president, W Connection will prepare over the next week for Sunday’s (December 6) final against Defence Force at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. The champions will receive $70,000 while the runners-up will take away $20,000.
The action kicks off from 4:30 pm between St. Mary’s College (CIC) against Fatima College in contest for the Toyota Classic Challenge Trophy and $10,000.
San Juan Jabloteh 0 vs Defence Force 1 (Devorn Jorsling 41’)
Central FC 2 (Ataullah Guerra 19’, Willis Plaza 47’) vs W Connection 2 (Neil Benjamin Jr. 15’, Dwight Quintero 81’)
Kicks from the penalty mark
W Connection 6 v Central FC 5
Alvin Jones (scored) - Ataullah Guerra (scored)
Jomal Williams (scored) - Elijah Manners (scored)
Shahdon Winchester (scored) - Andre Ettienne (overbar)
Dwight Quintero (hit upright) - Willis Plaza (scored)
Gerard Williams (scored) - Darren Mitchell (scored)
Kurt Frederick (scored) - Marcus Joseph (scored)
Neil Benjamin Jr. (scored) - Jamal Jack (saved)
San Juan Jabloteh: 30.Shemel Louison; 7.Jamal Gay, 10.Tyrone Charles, 27.Nathan Lewis, 18.Jevon Morris, 13.Fabian Reid (8.Keyon Edwards 71st), 23.Kennedy Hinkson (4.Garth Thomas 80th), 21.Aquil Selby, 22.Caleb Sturge, 24.Ardian Reid, 11.Damian Williams (Capt.)
Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 12.Jordan Devonish, 6.Ramone Mc Gregor, 15.Jerome Mc Intrye, 16.Kaashif Thomas
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Defence Force: 25.Sheldon Clarke; 2.Glynn Franklyn, 8.Curtis Gonzales, 17.Ross Russell Jr., 4.Dave Long, 7.Jelani Felix, 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt) (26.Richard Roy 79th), 18.Sean Narcis (52.Stephan Campbell 55th), 9.Devorn Jorsling, 6.Rodell Elcock, 21.Aklie Edwards (12.Jemel Sebro 66th)
Unused substitutes: 80.Aaron Enill (GK), 16.Kellon Serrette, 30.Kishun Seecharan
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Match Referee: Cecile Hinds
Central FC: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (Capt.); 4.Andre Ettienne, 10.Marvin Oliver (11.Darren Mitchell 58th), 12.Jamal Jack, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 25.Elijah Manners, 33.Willis Plaza, 45.Ataullah Guerra, 22.Leston Paul, 99.Marcus Joseph
Unused substitutes: 30.Akel Clarke, 6.Kerry Baptiste, 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon, 7.Jason Marcano, 5.Akeem Benjamin, 23.Jean-Luc Rochford
Coach: Ross Russell
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald; 2.Kurt Frederick, 5.Triston Hodge, 3.Gerard Williams, 8.Briel Thomas (19.Dwight Quintero 78th), 9.Shahdon Winchester, 10.Jomal Williams, 11.Neil Benjamin Jr., 14.Andre Toussaint (17.Aikim Andrews 78th), 16.Alvin Jones (Capt.), 21.Shannon Gomez
Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 12.Dimitri Apai, 23.Kevon Goddard, 46.Anfernee Frederick, 43.Malick St Prix
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
Match Referee: Keon Yorke