Bmobile Joe Public continued their scintillating season with a dramatic 3-2 victory over W Connection to win the 2009 FA Trophy on Wednesday night at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
Substitute Conrad Smith netted the winner in the 117th minute, after a W Connection own-goal in the 90th minute tied the match at 2-2 forcing the extra-time.
The FA Trophy is the fourth title won by Joe Public this season, following the Digicel Pro League, Big Six and Toyota Classic titles. The Derek King coached Lions could make it five later this week when they tackle Caledonia AIA of Morvant/Laventille in the Final of the Digicel Pro Bowl from 8pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Hopefully Friday's Pro Bowl Final against the defending champs Caledonia wouldn't be as tough as Wednesday's FA final against W Connection for the Lions.
Joe Public had an early 1-0 advantage when leading goalscorer Kerry Baptiste notched his 48th club item this season in the 15th minute beating Jan Michael Williams.
However Connection were back on level terms, and proving to be the perfect opponent on Wednesday after Clyde Leon netted past Alejandro Figueroa in the 37th minute for a 1-1 score.
Connection's continued pressure on the Lions paid off in the 80th minute when left wingback Joevin Jones whipped in a cross finding an unmarked Matthew Bartholomew who headed past Figueroa for a 2-1 advantage from the six yard.
Then came the kudos for the 29 yearold Joe Public rookie coach Derek King when late additions Gorean Highley and Conrod Smith stole the match from under Connection.
Joe Public levelled the scores 2-2 in the in the 90th minute thanks to an own goal by Edar Gilmar Arias who's diving header to clear substitute Gorean Highley's powerful cross, directed the ball into Jan Michael Williams' far netting sending the match into extratime--which is normal whenever Joe Public and Connection meet in a FA Final.
Four minutes inside extra time Trent Noel was denied by a brilliant save from Williams after unleashing a powerful leftfooted strike from the left as the two teams battled on.
In the 108th minute Connection's Andrei Pacheco had a clear sight at goal but failed beat Figueroa who made an excellent blockout.
Public then registered the winner through substitute Conrod Smith in the 117th minute who scored a spectacular goal netted into the far netting after pulling wide of two defenders to hook a shot beating Williams for a 3-2 victory, and the FA Trophy.
Joe Public 3-2 W Connection
Kerry Baptiste 15', Eder Gilmar Arias 90' (own goal), Conrad Smith 117' ; Clyde Leon 37', Matthew Bartholomew 80'
Joe Public--Alejandro Figueroa, Kerry Baptiste (capt.), Carlyle Mitchell, Seon Power, Keion Goodridge, Kareem Young (Gorean Highley 83rd), Jean Luc Rochford, Yu Hoshide, Trent Noel, Micah Lewis, Hayden Tinto.
W Connection--Jan Michael Williams, Elijah Joseph (capt.), Hughtun Hector, Eder Gilmar Arias, Clyde Leon, Jonathan Frias (Igor Santos 90th+), Nickcolson Thomas, Matthew Bartholomew (Andrei Pacheco), Christian Viveros, Joevin Jones, Gerrard Williams.
Coach--Stuart Charles Fevrier.
Eastern Lions clinch FA Trophy.
By: Ian Prescott (T&T Express).
JOE PUBLIC RULE
W Connection lost a whole lot in the final stages of the 2009 Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation FA Trophy final when dramatically going down 3-2 to a ten-man Joe Public team at Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya on Wednesday night.
With the $80,000 prize and an automatic qualifying spot in the 2010 Caribbean Club within their grasp, W Connection’s dream was shattered.
First, Colombian central defender Gilmar Arias handed Joe Public a fortuitous 2-2 draw at the end of the regulation period when he got a head onto Gorean Highley’s seemingly aimless cross and re-directed the ball past his goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams.
Arias’ goal, a ’beautiful’ flicked header to the far corner, cancelled out strikes by teammates Clyde Leon (37th) and Matthew Bartholomew (81st) which seemed to have put Connection in a winning position at 2-1.
Earlier, Kerry Baptiste had Joe Public ahead in the 15th minute with a well-taken scissors kick to land his 48th goal of the 2009 season. Then, two minutes from the end of the 30-minute extra-time period, Conrad Smith’s determination won the match for the Eastern Lions.
Stripping Gerrard Williams in midfield, the Joe Public substitute striker survived persistent tackling from the Antiguan defensive midfielder and clinched the honours with a hard, low shot from the edge of the box. Keeper Williams was fully-stretched, but the ball kept moving away before hitting the far corner.
What a goal! In fact, what a game!
’We, the Warner family, are reaping the rewards of our labour,’ club owner and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner boasted after Joe Public added the FA Trophy to the 2009 Digicel Pro League, Big Six and Toyota Classic they had already won this season.
Warner added that he had shelled out an average of $4 million a year to keep the club functioning.
’The guys really went out there and fought hard,’ stated Joe Public coach Derek King. ’When we went a man down we came out and really worked hard for each other.’
Losing coach Stuart Charles Fevrier lamented an opportunity lost by his team who had a lean season by their high standards, winning only the 2009 Caribbean Club Championship and the Lucozade Goal Shield.
’It was a game we should have won very easily in my opinion. We dominated the game and created far more chances than Joe Public,’ Fevrier said, while laying no blame on Arias for the unfortunate goal which gave Joe Public a lifeline.
’It was an own goal, but these things happen.’ This year’s FA Trophy final was highlighted by beautiful goals.
Baptiste opened the scoring when he met Kareem Young’s pin-point cross at the back post with a first-time swivelling ’scissors’, But Clyde Leon had W Connection level at 1-1 when finishing a rebound off Bartholomew’s shot, after a series of short passes cut Joe Public to shreds,
Joe Public were a man short in the 40th minute when youngster Jean Luc Rochford was sent off by referee Neil Brizan for a nasty stamp at Arias. And W Connection were intent on exploiting their man advantage when peppering the Joe Public goal from long range.
Leon drilled an outside-of-the-foot bullet which went over the crossbar in the 54th, while Joe Public keeper Alejandro Figueroa blocked a couple of similar missiles from Brazilian Jose Luis Seabra.
Striker Jonathan Frias also turned inside his marker from the edge of the box and just cleared the bar with a bullet, before Bartholomew finally headed in Joevin Jones’ perfect cross to give Connection a 2-1 advantage in the 81st minute.
One of two inspired King substitutions, Highley created enough distraction with his dribbling to force the error from Arias that levelled the score at the death.
In extra-time, Andre Pacheco should have put W Connection ahead again when cutting inside his marker, but only found the body of the keeper with his shot. But Joe Public’s Smith was clinical when scoring the winner with a low shot from 20 metres.
Emotions stirred, a fight looked imminent, But, in the end, Joe Public were rewarded for the efforts of defender Seon Power and his teammates.