Credit to Defence Force goalie Selwyn George on Wednesday night erasing what was a terrible afternoon for goalkeepers in the double header of the 2008 First Citizens Cup qualifiers at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
Defence Force will meet defending champions and four time winners W Connection in their quarterfinal clash on Friday 12 September.
But just as the first qualifier played between Tobago United and Ma Pau SC, which the Tobagonians won 2-1 to book their quarterfinal spot against current League leaders CLICO San Juan Jabloteh, goalkeeping blunders were to blame.
Defence Force went 1-0 in the 50th minute when Devon Jorsling held off his marker to score into an open net after North East Stars goalie Tristan Charles was left beaten way outside the penalty area.
But ten minutes later George turned a routine gather into horror when Stars second half introduction Sylvester Teesdale blasted from outside the area and what should have been wrapped easily was spilled by the Defence Force number one and bobbled through his legs to cross the goal-line levelling the scores at 1-1.
George later made an acrobatic push over bar to guide a Kevin Jeffery free kick just outside the area for a corner as North East Stars never gave up on the very physical Army.
But Army shouldn’t have found themselves in the 1-1 situation which lasted till the end of regulation time, if it hadn’t been for first half marginal misses by Christon Baptiste and Kevon Carter.
And from the penalty shootout, Army proved to have the top marksmen led by team captain Anton Pierre, Devon Jorsling and Keston Williams all registering goals for the 3-0 penalty win over the Sangre Grande based North East Stars.
In the earlier match, kicked off at 5pm, Tobago United surfaced 2-1 winners over Ma Pau SC.
Following to good saves by Tobago United goalkeeper Richard Reynolds in the opening minutes, the Guyanese went from hero to zero in the 19th minute smashing an attempted dunk-out into the head of Ma Pau’s Keno Proctor standing just outside the area—only to watch the ball make its way back into his net. Reynolds late challenge to reach the bobbling ball proved futile and as for Proctor who collapsed after being struck was surely delighted—after seeking medical attention—to play a part in his team 1-0 advantage and have the goal registered as his own.
Ma Pau, despite the loud cries by coach Ron La Forest on the sideline, failed on a number of attacks to make the best against the Tobago United defence and add to their advantage.
And horror struck Ma Pau in the 68th minute when Kelvin Hernandez right sided cross into the area was handled by defender Densyl James leaving no hesitation in referee Gordon Maloney to point to the spot. No other than Collie Hurcules stepped up and converted easily past Shannan Warner to level the scores at 1-1.
Hernandez later scored the winner in the 82nd minute for a 2-1 win after a hard fought run, muscling off defenders and sticking the extra inch to notch the ball past goalkeeper Shannan Warner. The former United Petrotrin player celebrated his winning item to the fullest.
First Citizens Cup qualifiers
Larry Gomes Stadium
Ma Pau 1 – 2 Tobago United
Keno Proctor 19’ ; Collie Hurcules 68’ pen, Kelvin Hernandez 82’
North East Stars 1(0) – 1(3) Defence Force
Sylvester Teesdale 60’ ; Devon Jorsling 50’
North East Stars(0) Defence Force(3)
John Stewart(missed) Anton Pierre(scored)
Sean Cooper(saved) Devon Jorsling(scored)
Kevin Jeffery(saved) Keston Williams(scored)