Winchester shoots, and he scores.
Central FC fans are jumping wild. They have just won the 2013 First Citizen Cup, 2-1 over the Defence Force. More important, it is the first title won by the two year-old club, who took home $100,000 in prize money as well.
It has been for Rundell Winchester. First, making his international debut for Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday against New Zealand, albeit for just under five minutes. The 19-year-old Tobago-born striker then produced a stunning shot from the edge of the penalty area in the 75th minute, to lift “The Sharks” to a come from behind win over the Army in Friday night’s First Citizen Cup final at Hasely Crawford Stadium. To top it all off, Winchester was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “I just can’t stop smiling. It’s a great achievement for me. I got MVP in a final for the first time in my career,” he said.
Just a year ago, Winchester was playing Super League football with Stokely Vale, when both he and teammate Darrin “Chucky” Winchester were spotted in the FA Trophy competition, and immediately recruited by Fenwick in the January transfer window. In a short time, Winchester has made an impact, not just scoring spectacular goals with either foot, but for a tall man he certainly has blistering pace. He might be the fastest runner in the Pro League.
“I don’t know if I’m the fastest, but everybody keeps telling me that…and it’s looking so,” Winchester said, while promising to keep working hard.
“I just want to continue working hard. My coach Terry Fenwick is always pushing me hard in training to become better. He is always telling me go for glory and look for number one. So I’m just working hard and looking for the glory, and continuing to motivate myself to get that winning spirit,” he said.
Defence Force began the final powerfully and had several chances in the first half. Predictably, prolific scorer Devorn Jorsling put the Army ahead in tenth minute from the edge of the penalty area, although Central FC and T&T national goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams got a glove to the rising shot.
Williams had a big night. He was almost the team sweeper, and twice blocked Josimar Belgrave and Kevon Carter with his leg when racing out of his penalty area. Carter actually briefly got around the inspired keeper, but someway, somehow, Williams got a touch to stop a sure goal. And after soaking up all the pressure, Central were level at 1-1 in the 45th when a mix-up between keeper Kevin “Barthez” Graham and a defender allowed striker Dwight Quintero a headed goal.
“The Army started a lot better than us,” Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick admitted. “Jan Michael was outstanding in goal for us first half. But I think we showed a lot of courage coming from behind to win the game.”
Though level, Fenwick was not happy when the first half closed. He made some changes and got his team playing better.
“I changed the tactics. In the first half the 3-5-2 wasn’t working. So, we then went 4-5-1 and I think then we looked in better shape,” Fenwick said. “I think we dominated the second half and its great to win our first title.”
Actually, either team could have won. Defence had what looked a close penalty shout turned down by referee Neil Brizan, and Richard Roy came on as a second half substitute and had a couple of good chances. Roy was sent clear by a errant defensive header. A volley would have done, but Roy hesitated, let the ball drop, and lost the chance. Not Winchester. When the ball fell to him at the other end soon after, he put it away with venom, sending the ball high into the net.
“When you don’t take your chances sometimes it comes back to haunt you,” stated a very disappointed Army coach Ross Russell. “I think we played most of the football. We dominated the first half. Their goalie was good, and it was a good shot from Central which won the match. These things happen sometimes.”