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18
Wed, Jul

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w connectionYes the boys from Savonetta have done it! And we don’t need the umpire’s signal for a six.

W Connection stuck a six on Friday night at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium against Joe Public in a thriller encounter of the 2008 First Citizens Cup final—Yes, their sixth overall win of the most prestigious knockout title on the TT Pro League calendar and the first place cash prize of $65,000.00.
But victory didn’t come the easy way. W Connection had to toil for it down to penalties 6-5 after a gruelling 2-2 draw against the ‘Eastern Lions’.

Spurred on by their supporters who came out in the hundreds W Connection held the firmest at ‘sudden-death’ with Joe Public’s Jason Springer missing high over bar giving Connection’s Teba McKnight the opportunity of the winning item and he took it with comfort to beat goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa in the seventh kick sending the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in a party-like atmosphere.

Surely fans were rewarded with a gripping final of end to end action during the 90 minutes of regulation time between W Connection and Joe Public.

But action at the south venue began with a third place playoff between St Ann's Rangers and CLICO San Juan Jabloteh which Rangers won 2-1 with all goals scored in the second period.

Keyon Edwards (60') and Josimar Belgrave (61') where the scorers for Rangers while Jason Marcano notched Jabloteh's lone item in the 67th minute.

Joe Public got a goal on either side of the half from unlikely sources Christopher Harvey and Keyeno Thomas both defenders rather than tournament top scorer Gregory Richardson (with 4 goals). Richardson also picked up the tournament MVP title.

While W Connection, winners of the First Citizens Cup in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and now 2008 had first half goals by Andre Toussaint and Jonathon Frias—yes Frias, the double goal scorer in the 2007 final against St Ann’s Rangers.

Action started from as early as the third minute when Joe Public’s Jamal Gay had to be denied by the brilliance of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

But no time was wasted and Joe Public took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when former Connection defender Christopher Harvey towered the W Connection defence to head Arnold Dwarika’s right side free kick past goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

However the defending First Citizens Cup champions W Connection would level the scores 1-1 in the 18th minute in a very miraculous manner when Andre Toussaint’s intended pass to Hughtun Hector was missed by both teammate Hector and Joe Public goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa—diving the wrong way—as everyone looked on in astonishment with the ball trickling all the way over the goal line.

Toussaint was again in goal mouth action when in the 33rd minute his pass inside to teammate Jonathon Frias only needed enough boot to ball to end up in the back of the net was kept out by goalkeeper Figueroa in the nick of time.

But the five-time winners stepped up and took the lead two minutes later and this time Frias made sure he struck well, blasting the ball into the roof of the net to beat Figueroa after being played in by Jose Luis Seabra in a play inspired by Toussaint down the left for a 2-1 lead which held out until the break.

Action resumed following the break and just as the old wars, front line against frontline, of course without the muskets, W Connection and Joe Public where head to head.

In the 56th minute Keyeno Thomas equalized for the ‘Lions’—Dwarika again the supplier, this time from a cross ball which Thomas headed past goalkeeper Phillip for the 2-2 score.

Joe Public then stepped on the gas—hopefully not premium—and had Connection on their back foot numerous times.

However the Lions will have themselves to blame for unconverted chances despite being restricted to shots from distance.

Jamal Gay who made sure his presence was felt had a good opportunity but stuck the ball over bar after an initial shot from Gregory Richardson rebounded off defender Eder Gilmar Arias in the 58th minute.

Richardson had another go at goal from outside the area but was only good enough for the side netting.

As the match intensified by the minute a few yellow cards were also dished out by the match referee. Joe Public’s Gregory Richardson and Jason Springer (a 15th minute substitute for injured Peterson Desrivieres) and W Connection’s Jonathon Frias and Christian Viveros were all in the ref’s bad book.

Joe Public continued to hold the edge on Connection in the second period with second half substitute Kerry Baptiste adding more in attack. However the scores remained 2-2 at the final whistle resulting in kicks from the spot.

Final Score
W Connection 2 (6 pen) v Joe Public 2 (5 pen)

Andre Toussaint 18’, Jonathon Frias 35’; Christopher Harvey 11’, Keyeno Thomas 56’

Penalty Kicks / W Connection v Joe Public
Jonathon Frias (scored) - Kerry Baptiste (scored)
Andre Toussaint (scored) - Arnold Dwarika (saved)
Jose Luis Seabra (scored) - Christopher Harvey (scored)
Christian Viveros (saved) - Dale Saunders (scored)
Elijah Joseph (scored) - Wolry Wolfe (scored)
Kern Cupid (scored) - Keyeno Thomas (scored)
Teba McKnight (scored) - Jason Springer (missed)