DirecTV W Connection added another trophy to its already illustrious cabinet by defeating ten-man Defence Force 2-0 in the inaugural Digicel Charity Shield at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Stadium, Marabella, on Saturday. The reigning T&T Pro League champions scored on either side of the half, with goals from Shahdon Winchester and “Player of the Match” Joevin Jones to turn back the “Teteron Boys”, who had midfielder Curtis Gonsalves sent off in the first-half. The Charity Shield, a new initiative of the Pro League and its main sponsors Digicel, brought together the Digicel Pro League champions W Connection and the Digicel Pro Bowl winner, Defence Force.
The “Savonetta Boys” who have already played two competitive matches for the season in the Concacaf Champions League, was handed a player advantage in the 14th minute when Gonzales picked up a direct red card from referee Rodphin Harris for maliciously stamping W Connection midfielder Jomal Williams after the two collided. Five minutes later, Williams tested goalkeeper Kevin Graham from some 24-yards out but the Defence Force goalkeeper was excellent pushing the strike wide for a corner. From the corner, a header from Hashim Arcia cannoned of the chest of Defence Force defender Rodell Elcock and into the path of an alert Winchester, who pounced on the loose ball and fired past Graham for a 20th minute lead. Seven minutes later, Jones was picked out on the left hand side of the 18-yard box by a diagonal Winchester cross, and fired a volley on goal which ricochet off the cross-bar with Graham planted to the ground.
On the other end of the field, Defence Force’s best chance came three minutes before the interval when striker Devorn Jorsling, making a return to his former club after a year’s absence, curled a free-kick over a four-man wall only for W Connection goalkeeper, Jan-Michael Williams to fling his body full stretch to his left to push the ball away for a corner.
Any chances of the Ross Russell-coached soldier/coast guard combination clawing its way back faded on the resumption when a roving Jones rifled home a left footed strike from about 30 yards, which flew past Graham for a 2-0 advantage in the 47th minute. Down 2-0, Russell introduced last year’s Pro League top scorer Richard Roy, who surprisingly started the match on the bench, with the hope of getting back into the match, but with W Connection’s Elijah Joseph and Akeem Benjamin at the top of their defensive game, it proved an uphill task. Winger Kevon Carter, who also missed last season due to his recovery from a broken-leg came into his own in the second-half with some darting runs into the W Connection area, and came close to finding the target in the 58th minute, but his effort just flashed wide of William’s left post.
With Defence Force pushing forward in search of goals, holes were left at the back and Jones should have added another in the 84th minute after he collected a loose ball in the 18-yard box and rounded Graham, however his weak effort on goal was blocked by a retreating Corey Rivers while three minutes later Winchester fired wide from close up. Despite the two late misses, W Connection held out for a deserved win and with it the Charity Shield and the $10,000 winner’s cheque which it donated to goalkeeper Williams to help with medical expenses for his fiancee Candice Worrell. In January, Worrell, a former beauty queen, was assaulted on her way from work and was comatose for close to three months. She has since regained consciousness.
W Connection 2
(Shahdon Winchester 20th, Joevin Jones 47th)
vs Defence Force 0
W Connection: Jan Michael Williams (GK)(capt.), Elijah Joseph, Clyde Leon, Akeem Benjamin, Kern Cupid, Jomal Williams(Gerard Williams 75th), Joevin Jones, Rennie Britto(Andre Quashie 73rd), Shahdon Winchester, Hashim Arcia(Andrei Pacheco 46th), Kemuel Rivers(Yellow Card)
Subs not used: Aquelius Sylvester (GK), Jerrel Britto, Daneil Cyrus, Christian Viveros.
Coach: Stuart-Charles Fevrier
Defence Force: Kevin Graham (GK), Corey Rivers(capt.), Aklie Edwards, Ross Russell Jr.(Michael Edwards 73rd), Curtis Gonzales (red card 14th), Devin Jordan, Rodell Elcock, Jerwyn Balthazar (Sean Narcis 80th), Devorn Jorsling, Josimar Belgrave (Richard Roy 53rd), Kevon Carter
Subs not used: Sheldon Clarke (GK), Keston Williams, Marvin Jones, Dexter Pacheco.
Coach: Ross Russell