It was a magnificent victory - Graham
Coach of Reno FC, Patrick 'Ninja' Graham, lauded his team for showing determination throughout the gruelling contest in their penalty-shoot-out win over Harbour View in the Flow Champions Cup semi-final at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Sunday night.
"It was definitely a magnificent victory! Words cannot explain my feelings at this moment," Graham told The Gleaner after the mammoth encounter in which two of their players were sent off.
"The team showed determination right throughout the game. Even though we had two players sent off, the other players fought to the end," he added.
"From season, we have been scoring goals and also giving up goals. But I can tell you something about this team: They will fight to the end," Graham expressed.
Outfield player Codean Smikle kept goal throughout injury time and extra-time after regular keeper Dennis Taylor was ejected at 90+ minutes.
With regard to the decision to put Smikle into goal, Graham said it was a recommendation from goalkeeper-coach Roal Andrews.
"It was the goalkeeper-coach who suggested that Codean go into the goal after the dismissal of Taylor. He (Andrews) must have seen something in training, so we gave him (Smikle) the chance and he came up trumps," Graham disclosed.
Celebrated hero Smikle said he was always confident that he could save a penalty during the shoot-out.
"He (Andrews) knows that I'm a utility player as he and I live very close to each other. He knows that I can play anywhere on the field. He had the confidence in me and I also had it in myself," Smikle disclosed.
"I was not worried at any stage during the penalty kicks. I knew that I had a save in me, so I told my teammates to continue scoring. And that was done and
we won the game," he added.
Coach of Harbour View, Andrew 'Bowa' Hines, was disappointed that his team did now win the game and advance to the final.
"It is a tough loss for the club and tough for the players," Hines told The Gleaner. "It is what happens in football - you will have moments. Unfortunately, we had our moments of disappointment today (Sunday)."
Hines added: "They went down to nine players and we just could not get a goal. Congrats to Reno as they stood and fought all the way."
- Marc Stamp