Jan is the man !
When you have a big team on the ropes, knock them out!
That may be the very next lesson coach Brian Williams will be drilling into his young United Petrotrin players after the "Oil Boys" let a slender lead slip in the dying seconds of injury time, allowing Vibe CT105 W Connection to equalise and then go on to win their Courts Pro Bowl semi-final on penalty-kicks at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella on Friday night.
W Connection have now qualified for all four finals of the Pro Bowl.
Petrotrin already had one foot in the 2007 Final when substitute Sylvester Teesdale poked a miscued shot past W Connection goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams in the 82nd minute to give them a 1-0 lead that had their supporters jumping in the stands.
And with W Connection desperately seeking the equaliser, striker Abiola Clarance twice had the chance to put away the game, but tried to score himself instead of passing the ball to open teammates.
Coach Williams was gutted, lamenting that inexperience was their main rival.
"We still don't have the experience to put away teams when we have the chance to," he said afterwards. "And so we ended up giving it away in the dying seconds. Obviously, it was a bit disappointing. But, I still have to commend the guys for how they responded to the game. They have responded well to the preparation we have done this season. But, its still disappointing."
Even under heavy W Connection pressure in the final seconds, the United Petrotrin defence looked certain to hold firm when keeper Perry Martin raced to his far post to bring off a breathtaking block with his leg off Andrei Pacheco's low shot and eventually gave up a corner-kick.
Perry's save had both fan and foe applauding. But, drama was still to come.
It was a desperate move, one out of pure necessity, but W Connection had nothing to lose and, abandoning defence, their big goalkeeper Williams raced to the opposing penalty area for the corner-kick.
Williams then became the man of the night when, with the final seconds ticking away, the W Connection keeper miraculously headed in the equalising goal, pulling his team level at 1-1 and sending the game to penalty kicks.
The Connection goalkeeper raced away with a stern look on his face while elated teammate Andrei Pacheco chased him. It was Williams' very first goal in the Pro League and left the 6-ft 2-inch keeper bubbling.
"It's obviously something to hold onto," said Williams, adding that when he went forward he had the belief that he could do it for his team.
And his heroics were not yet finished as the W Connection keeper then stopped the first two penalties from Petrotrin's Keon Daniel and Sylvester Teesdale, bringing a loud roar from the now enlivened Connection supporters.
When Devon Drayton also put his kick over the bar, W Connection's Silvio Spann, Earl Jean and Andre Toussaint converted to complete the most unlikely of comebacks, via a 3-0 victory on penalty kicks.
Before the late drama, W Connection played pretty football that saw them knocking many passes together, but Petrotrin always seemed to have a man in the way, either defenders Drayton and Hassain Thomas who stood out, or keeper Martin, who came up with a big save when palming away Spann's bullet from 25 metres out.
Petrotrin played solid defence, but produced only half-chances, until Teesdale came on and got his late goal. But, then Williams became the unexpected factor, doing what no one expected by scoring a goal.
"When last you see a keeper score a goal in Trinidad?" match announcer Wayne Cunningham exclaimed.
Man Of The Match: - Jan-Michael Williams (W Connection)
United Petrotrin: - Perry Martin, Simeon Augustus (Al Sinclair), Devon Drayton, Husani Thomas, Anthony Haynes, Kevon Clement, Romauld Aguillera, Kelvin Hernandez (Abiola Clarence), Keon Daniel, Sylvester Teesdale, Jerrol Forbes (Beville Joseph).
Coach: - Brian Williams
W Connection: - Jan-Michael Williams, David Atiba Charles (Kevin Nelson), Elijah Joseph, Ronaldo Viana, Clyde Leon, Nickcolson Thomas, Silvio Spann, Andre Pacheco, Gefferson Goulart (Shane Claderon), Andre Toussaint, Earl Jean.
Coach: - Stuart Charles Fevrier