Monday, January 22, 2018

Central lift Goal Shield


Stamping HIS authority: Tobago-born Central FC wide midfielder Rundell Winchester, right, the MVP of the 2014 Lucozade Goal Shield Final, goes shoulder to shoulder with Directv W Connection’s Joevin Jones. Central FC won the 2014 Lucozade Goal Shield Final by a 2-1 margin on Friday night at Ato Boldon, Stadium, Couva. —Photo: Dave Persad

Mark Fraser

CENTRAL FC added the 2014 Lucozade Goal Shield to the First Citizens Cup which they had already won in October, when they edged Directv W Connection 2-1 to take the $30,000 first prize in the final on Friday night at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

Apart from a brief,  explosive period in the first half when three superb goals were scored within a seven-minute period, the Goal Shield final never really fired, despite the presence of a good crowd.  

The second half was mainly tactical. Central defended stoutly and used the long ball. Meanwhile, with an eye on the upcoming battle against Defence Force for the $1million TT Pro League prize, W Connection rested key players Jerrel Britto, Demetrie Apai, Mekeil Williams and did not seem to have the strongest bench. Therefore, the defending Goal Shield champions had long periods of possession, but little cutting edge. 

The high points of the final were those three spectacular goals. First up, Rundell Winchester’s raw pace got Central an opening goal in the 14th minute. The slender Tobago-born wide midfielder out-muscled his marker—unbelievable as that might seem—then raced past a pedestrian-looking W Connection central defender Leslie Russell, before chipping the ball wide of goalkeeper Juliani Archibald. Winchester also looked good in the “Sharks” 2-0 semi-final win over North East Stars, and was eventually named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Winchester was also one of four players to score two goals and was tied for the Golden Boot award with Marvin Oliver (Central FC), Willis Plaza (Central FC) and Keron Cummings (North East Stars), while Central FC English head-coach Terry Fenwick was named coach of the tournament. 

Central had done little of note before Winchester’s opening goal. Then captain Oliver doubled the lead at 2-0 in the 18th minute with a precise back-post header.  But W Connection responded, scoring in the 21st minute and reducing Central’s lead to 2-1.

Alvin Jones, has sometimes lived in the shadow of older brother Joevin - both sons of former T&T national defender Kelvin Jones. But on a night when close attention was paid to his brother, it was the hard-kicking W Connection right-back Alvin who came to the fore, through two blistering free-kicks. The first was hit with such curl and ferocity, that T&T  first-call national goalie Jan-Michael Williams had no chance as the ball rushed  past him and “buss” the net. 

And it would take a superb second-half save from Williams to keep out another of Jones’ (A) free-kicks and keep Central in the lead. This time the shot was further in, but Jones still managed to get past the wall with ferocity. Williams was ready this time, and  spectacularly got a fist up to turn the ball away for a corner. Still, the “Sharks” might have added a third goal,  except for good work from W Connection’s St Kitts-Nevis custodian Archibald, who made three quick saves in succession off shots from  Plaza, Winchester and Jason Marcano. 

But the Sharks were sharp enough to take the Shield.