Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
National and Waterhouse goalkeeper Richard 'Spoon' McCallum saved two penalty kicks which handed his team victory in the Flow Champions Cup football final over Tivoli Gardens at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Trench Town, St Andrew, late Monday night.
The Waterhouse captain redeemed himself for what he believed was a poor performance during normal time. Both teams battled to a 2-2 draw, then after 30 minutes extra time, the teams were still locked.
Hence, it was down to the feared penalty kicks. And that's when McCallum came up big and stopped two penalties in a 3-1 penalty shoot-out triumph to capture the Flow Champions Cup and win cash incentive of $1 million. Tivoli walked away with $400,000 for being runners-up.
McCallum stopped penalty kicks from Dawayne Smith and Rohan Reid. The last save set off wild celebrations among the Waterhouse players and spectators. McCallum was swept off his feet by both his teammates and spectators.
The goalkeeper said he had to do well during the shoot-out as he was not pleased with his performance in normal time.
"Overall, I didn't have a good game, so during the penalty kicks, I was determined to do my best to help the team win. I tried to get into the heads of the Tivoli kickers and disturb their focus. I think it worked," McCallum told The Gleaner when the game ended close to midnight.
"This one is for the supporters from Kingston 11, and especially the Waterhouse community. They were longing for this victory as it has been a while since we have won a national title," he added.
It was Waterhouse's third hold on the all-island knockout title. Their last win came in the 2007-8 season when they also beat Tivoli (2-0) in the then Red Stripe Champions Cup.
Waterhouse were perfect during the penalty kicks and converted courtesy of top marksman Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson, Hughan Gray, and substitute Weston 'Barney' Forrest.
Earlier, Waterhouse were quick off the mark and Juvaune Benjamin beat Tivoli's veteran custodian Edsel Scott with a neat finish in the 8th minute. Ten minutes later, Waterhouse talisman Anderson doubled the score when he beat Scott with a tame free kick from about 35 yards.
Benjamin was shown a second yellow card and sent off in the 39th minute.
Tivoli came back in the second half with goals by Rafiek Thomas in the 52nd and Ranike Anderson in the 79th minute.
It was a heated match final which saw referee Tyrone Roberts issuing a number of yellow cards to players from both teams.
"We were well prepared for penalty kicks. I knew that my team was much fitter than Tivoli, so when we were left with 10 players, we made some adjustments, and although they scored twice, we were always confident of victory," Waterhouse coach Junior Francis said.
Despite the defeat, Tivoli's coach, Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey, was pleased with his team's overall performance.
"One of the most important things is that we showed the hearts of champions. We fought hard to the end and came back from 2-0 down to end 2-2 at the conclusion of extra time. We fought hard and were only beaten on penalties," Bailey shared.