Shoot-out kings

Lannaman’s Prep outgun Wolmer’s 6-5 on penalties to lift Alberga Cup

Observer writer

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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A composed finish from Kevaughn Halloway into the left bottom corner of the goal sparked wild celebrations as Lannaman's Prep scored a nail-biting, sudden death, 6-5 penalty shoot-out win over Wolmer's Prep in the JISA/Alberga Cup football final at the Saints Peter and Paul field on Saturday.

Both teams had battled to an exciting full and extra time 1-1 draw before being separated by the dreaded penalty kicks. It was the first title for Lannaman's since they last contested the final in 2014.

Wolmer's entered the final as favourites, being the only unbeaten team left in the competition. Having already won the Henriques Cup (knockout) two weeks before, they were in the hunt for the rare league and cup double.

Both teams engaged in a keen tussle in the first half, but neither was able to break the deadlock, despite creating a few chances each. The second half was more of the same as the evenly matched teams cancelled each other out.

The first goal came shortly after the overcast skies opened up, when Antoniel Allen scored from close range to give Lannaman's a precious 1-0 lead with less than 10 minutes left to play. It seemed that the Haron Martin-coached team was home and dry after the afternoon rains dissipated, but Wolmer's always score.

As he has done so many times before this season, Romario Burke came to the rescue of his team. He let fly a thunderbolt of a shot from almost half line, which bounced before reaching goalkeeper Jordan Knight and skidded off the wet surface, through his hands and into the back of the net in the third minute of added time.

Lannaman's came out very purposeful in extra time despite conceding so late, showing great mental toughness. But Wolmer's, who are a tough and experienced bunch themselves, resisted everything their opponents threw at them while pressing for a winner of their own.

Neither team could find an extra time winner, and so it was down to penalties to decide who would become champions.

The score was locked at 4-4 after the first five kicks as both teams missed once. Both kickers iced their penalties to begin sudden death, and when Burke stepped up to kick for Wolmer's, it seemed a foregone conclusion that he would score. But the Wolmer's hero struck his shot straight at Knight, who saved well to give his team the advantage. Then it was time for the smallest player in the park to kick. Without any signs of nerves, the eight-year-old Holloway put away the spot kick to give his team the championship win.

An overwhelmed coach Martin was elated to come away as champions against a very good Wolmer's team.

“First and foremost I want to say thanks to the Almighty for this one... I am very elated. Coming into this game we knew it was going to be a tough one (as) Wolmer's were still unbeaten up to this point. To give up a goal in the last minute, I think it's tough to really come back from there to motivate the players... it was difficult, but they took to the task and I am very proud of them,” said the winning coach.

“Halloway is a very confident player... he is a young player, only eight years old. I rather keep him on the field and lose with him. He follows instructions, plays to how he trains, so you have to keep players like him on the field. I am very proud and I am happy to have him in my team,” Martin said about his match winner.

Wolmer's coach Raymond Leveridge saluated his boys, despite the defeat.

“It was an excellent performance from the boys today and it was a wonderful season, almost a perfect season,” he said.

“We played 19 games, 18 unbeaten and we came here and lost on the penalty shoot-out, so I am proud of these boys, proud of myself, proud of our supporters... it was a good season,” he said.

— Dwayne Richards




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