Reno end 19-year title drought with Flow Champions Cup
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Craig Foster hit a hat-trick for Reno and substitute Dwayne Blake fired in a powerful volley from close range at sudden death as the Westmoreland club outscored Montego Bay United (MBU) 4-3 in a football final for the ages to claim the Flow Champions Cup last night.
Foster was on target from as early as the third minute from the penalty spot and struck again in the sixth, before completing his hat-trick in the 76th minute.
Not to be outdone, Montego Bay striker Dino Williams matched his counterpart goal-for-goal to also score a hat-trick, netting in the 10th, 14th and 78th minutes.
"It's games like this that makes it worthwhile being a coach," declared Reno's Patrick Graham.
"We waited 19 years for another major title and this was even sweeter the way we went about getting this one. It was one beautiful match, and both teams gave it their all," he said.
The match couldn't have started any better for Reno, and conversely poorly for MBU, when defender Ladale Richie pulled down Foster inside the area. The striker then slotted the resultant penalty past the diving Jacomeno Barrett in goal to give Reno the lead.
If that was not enough, he capitalised on a quick pass out of defence to race into the MBU area and fired low and to Barrett's left as Reno took a shock 2-0 lead.
It was frantic action thereafter, as Williams pounced to score for MBU and slice the lead in half. He would soon match Foster with a brace of his own, benefiting from a sweeping counter-attacking move to equalise for MBU.
The second half was just as tantalising, with both teams trading attacks. Again, it was Reno who jumped back in front and again it was that man Foster, who made it 3-2 with a stunning strike from near 20 yards that left Barrett well beaten.
With 77 minutes on the clock, it was Williams' time to strike again and he obliged off a long throw-in, tapping home unmarked from six yards past Reno keeper Chad Bryan, making the score 3-3 and all to play for.
Reno, apparently, wanted it more, and their second-half substitute, Blake, made certain the Cup headed to Savanna-la-mar, when his volley sent the ball flying into the goal in time added.
"We deserved this; not many people would have seen us winning it, but we are champions, and a really good one, too," said Reno captain Alburn Facey.
"We have waited so many years to get back to this stage. I can't express what winning the Flow Champions Cup means to this team, but I am delighted."