Wolmers claimed their third ISSA/FLOW Walker Cup title in four years when they defeated favourites and defending champions St. Georges College 5-4 in sudden death in a penalty shootout on Thursday at the Stadium East Field. Wolmers had won the title in 2012 and 2013, only to be interrupted by STGC in 2014.
The defending champions looked jaded and leg weary after the brutal Manning Cup final loss to Jamaica College and were unable to get into their free flowing football. Like they had done on their path to the final, Wolmers was content to sit behind the ball and block the channels in a bid to frustrate their opponents. This strategy worked perfectly in a dull first half.
The second half produced a little more excitement and the two best chances fell to STGC captain Shevon Stewart who was surprisingly off in front of goal. The striker missed from the six yard line, spooning over the crossbar when under no pressure, but tried to make amends shortly after when he reacted quicker than the Wolmers defenders to a cross, but his hooked effort went just over the crossbar.
Wolmers was limited to efforts from long range, with national representative Jahwahni Hinds threatening on at least two occasions.
The game sprung to life in extra time when the tall and gangly Alphanso Gooden headed home a cross at the far post to make it 1-0 to Wolmers in the 94th minute.
STGC responded however when Dominic James equalized from the penalty spot in the 100th minute, to send the game to the dreaded penalty kicks.
Both teams scored the first three kicks from the spots before James saw his effort saved by Shamar Jemison who guessed right to give the boys from Heroes Circles the advantage. Jemison himself took the next kick for Wolmers to solidify the advantage. Paul Young Jr, a former Wolmers player, scored for STGC putting the pressure on Kobe Steibel to win it for the Vassell Reynolds coached team.
Steibel succumbed to the pressure and his effort was saved sending the contest into sudden death. But like he had done in the quarter-finals and semifinals, Jemison again came to his team’s rescue producing another fine save to deny Jevoun McKellar. Jamale Hall then held his nerve to convert the sixth Wolmers penalty to send the maroon and gold fans into mass celebrations and hand Reynolds his first senior title as head coach at Wolmers.
"The way we play was always going to suit us for knockout competitions. We always play to our strength and we didn't get many goals. We didn't have the killer instinct upfront and we didn't have that marquee player, so we built our platform from defence and it took us this far," Reynolds stated.
"It didn't go our way and we are disappointed that we didn't win this one. Penalties are a lot like the lottery, you win some and you lose some," said St. Georges coach Neville Bell.