Neal and Massy Caledonia AIA were crowned the 2008 FA Trophy Champions on Wednesday night following an extra time thriller at the Marvin Lee Stadium against former winners W Connection.
Substitute Jameel Perry’s extra time strike clutched a 3-2 win for the Morvant based club following a 2-2 regulation time finish.
It was the second title captured by the Stallions this season—their first ever titles in the club’s history—making it a fruitful season with the Courts Pro Bowl title and ending with the FA Trophy title and first place prize money of $80,000.00.
Striker Conrod Smith had a brilliant night registering a second half equalizer and setting up Perry’s match winner in extra time creating a loud outburst of Caledonia supporters at the Macoya venue, some even sending off flares and shouting Caledonia! Caledonia! Caledonia!
Meantime W Connection, winners of the national title in 1999, 2000 and 2002 had to settle for the second place prize money of $40,000.00 to end their 2008 season.
W Connection would however believe that the title was snatched from their grip following first half goals by Kareem Smith and Teba Mc Knight that gave them a 2-1 advantage at the break.
Caledonia AIA’s faithful Guyanese winger Walter Moore scored their first half item and in the second half the Stallions equalised.
Stallions, winners of the 2008 Courts Pro Bowl, gave Connection a brilliant run for the money as they say forcing the competitive contest into extra time after an 82nd minute strike by Conrod Smith.
Three minutes into the match and Kareem Joseph’s right side cross called goalkeeper Murilio Da Costa to early action as it headed to goal but the W Connection goalie was well alert to fist the ball to safety.
On the other end five minutes later a free kick by Andrei Pacheco just wide of Woods upright after Connection won a freekick some 25 yards out.
Ten minutes into the match and Shabazz was forced to make a change after defensive player Kester Jacobs pulled up injured. He was replaced by Marcus Ambrose.
After little goalmouth action on either end W Connection broke the silence in the 29th minute from a set piece for a 1-0 advantage after Kerron Smith slid through a heap of Caledonia players to guide Andrei Pacheco’s right side free kick past Michael Woods.
Two minutes later and goalkeeper Woods made a great save to keep out Ronaldo Viana’s 24 yard freekick after it took a slight clip on the Caledonia wall.
But the stallions levelled the score in the 34th minute after goalkeeper Murilio Da Costa parried Densil Thoebald’s initial shot on goal but Theobald got to the ball before any other and play it at goal with winger Walter Moore doing enough ahead of Christian Viveros to put the ball in the back of the net for a 1-1 score.
The goals didn’t stop and W Connection were back in front three minutes later when Teba Mc Knight towered everyone to head past Woods from Nickcolson Thomas’ right side cross for a 2-1 advantage.
Excitement rolled in as Walter Moore clipped an effort over bar on the other end seconds later.
W Connection survived to hold on their one goal advantage at the break following a bombardment by the Caledonia players with shots ringing on from all over before the ball was played over bar by Abdallah Phillips. Kareem Joseph low powerful drive after Densil Theobald play him inside was blocked out by goalkeeper Da Costa and the next best through Walter Moore from distance was cleared out by Elijah Joseph.
The second period demonstrated class of football by the TT Pro League outfits but little work for both goalkeepers in the opening stages. Goalkeeper Murilio Da Costa was the first in action in the 57th minute stretching back to push out an attempted cross by Kareem Joseph to safety.
Three minutes after making his second half appearance Akim Armstrong pulled wide of Da Costa’s goal in the 61st minute—he replaced defender Sheldon Emmanuel.
Da Costa was brilliant in the 78th minute after Densil Theobald unleashed a powerful crack from distance forcing the W Connection goalie at his best to put it out for a corner as the Stallions took control of the match.
However Da Costa couldn’t do the same in the 82nd minute after Conrod Smith turned and blasted from from outside the area beating the W Connection goalie to level the scores at 2-2 sending the contest into extra time at the final whistle.
Goalkeepers Murilio Da Costa and Michael Woods pulled off great saves inside the first five minutes of extra time as the keen contest stretched on.
Thirteen minutes inside extra-time and W Connection survived a shave after Conrod Smith’s 24 yard free kick flashed over Da Costa crossbar.
But in the 18th minute of extra time substitute Jameel Perry got the all important item heading past Da Costa from Conrod Smith cross after a neat long pass from Densil Theobald in midfield for a 3-2 score.
In the 22nd minute of extra time Hughtun Hector was denied a second time by goalkeeper Woods as Connection struggled for a comeback item.
Caledonia! Caledonia! Caledonia! It was in the end as the Morvant based club proved to be the better team on the night to lift the 2008 FA Trophy title.
W Connection—Murilo Da Costa (gk), Elijah Joseph (capt.) (yellow), Kern Cupid, Ronaldo Viana (yellow), Andrei Pacheco, Nickcolson Thomas, Teba McKnight (Ismael Daniel 72nd), George Issac, Igor Santos (Highton Hector 53rd), Kerron Smith (Jonathan Frias 64th), Christian Viveros.
Kerron Smith 29’, Teba Mc Knight 37’
Technical Director—Stuart Charles Fevrier
Neal and Massy Caledonia AIA—Michael Woods (gk), Charles Pollard (capt.), Kester Jacobs (Marcus Ambrose 11th), Sheldon Emmanuel (Akim Armstrong 58th), Conrad Smith (yellow), Kendall Velox (Jameel Perry 80th), Abdallah Phillips, Kareem Joseph, Densill Theobald, Walter Moore
Walter Moore 34’, Conrad Smith 82’, Jameel Perry 108’
Technical Director—Jamaal Shabazz