By Howard Walker, Staff Reporter
Former ISSA president and Vere Technical principal, Ben Francis (left), and David Burton, events coordinator of sponsors Pepsi (right), jointly hold the Ben Francis KO Trophy on the head of Glenmuir's Donovan Miller during the presentation after the final with Frome Technical, at Brancourt in Clarendon yesterday. Glenmuir won 5-4 on penalties, after both teams had played to a goalless finish in regulation and extra-time. - Ian Allen/Staff Photographer
HE WAS FIRST a villain, then a hero. Cornell Learmond missed a penalty with two minutes remaining in extra time, then a short time later he converted Glen-muir's fifth and final spot kick enabling his team to capture the Pepsi/Sports Plus Ben Francis Knockout trophy yesterday at Brancourt, Clarendon.
In an enthralling match of contrasting styles, Glenmuir edged Frome Technical 5-4 on penalties to secure their fourth lien on the trophy following victories in 1993, 1994 and 1999 and their second title of the season with the daCosta Cup already in the bag.
After a goalless 120 minutes of full and extra time, Glenmuir through Shaun Francis, Donovan Miller, James Thomas, Shauntez Mundle and Learmond converted all their penalties. Triston Sommerville, Delano Rankine, O'Brian Woodbine and Ramar Cunningham converted for the losers.
Sedane McCreath missed the only spot kick for Frome enabling Learmond to step up and crown himself in glory. It was Glenmuir's second victory in three days over Frome and winning coach Patrick 'Jackie' Walters said his team was fortunate to come away with the title.
"Luck was on our side today," said Walters, also the national Under-17 coach.
"In the game itself we got a number of chances but we didn't put them away. After coming from such a high in the daCosta Cup final, it was a bit difficult for them to regain their composure," he explained.
TOP SCORER OUT
Meanwhile losing coach, Boysie Nicholson suggested that his team lost because his top scorer Shane Anderson was not available. "One of our main goalscorers met in an accident last night and we missed him this afternoon".
"But credit to the boys. I think they played extremely well. We had a good look at the Glenmuir team and we realised that they are a strong team allround so we decided to pack the midfield with seven players and break from behind," said the former Reno and Jamaica player.
"It worked in the first ten minutes of the game as we got two chances, and if we had scored it would have been a different game and we would have won," Nicholson noted.
In front of a good crowd at the picturesque Brancourt field with the mountains to the east and the palm trees to the west, Frome were the first to settle and immediately Woodbine missed a golden opportunity, firing high and wide from inside the box.
Glenmuir gradually took charge missing several clear-cut chances and could have put away the game especially after the robust Tristan Cunningham was red carded in the 80th minute.
In extra time and with two minutes remaining, substitute Learmond missed a controversial penalty which might have been poetic justice.
The dimunitive and speedy Eric Vernon went down in the box after one of his many mazy runs but to the amusement of the spectators, referee Howard Stennett pointed to the spot.
Learmond stepped up and placed his shot wide of the outstanding Sommerville and his right hand post to the relief of the Frome Technical supporters.