They created history on Saturday night at the Warner Park—the first team to win three consecutive Carnival Cup titles. Rams Village Superstars edged S.L. Horsfords St. Pauls 3-2 in extra time in a keenly contested SKNFA Carnival Cup final to successfully defend their title for the third straight time. Both teams were locked 2-2 after regulation time after St. Pauls’ Kishorne Warde opened the scoring in the 5th minute; but Tiran Hanley equalized seven minutes later for Village. St. Pauls, not to be outdone, got the go ahead goal just before halftime in the 40thminute before Village, once again equalized through Tahir Hanley in the 66th minute with a thunderous strike from the flank.
Then with one minute left before the end of the second half of extra time, which would lead to penalties, Tahir Hanley popped up in the box and slotted home the winning goal, sending the Warner Park in a frenzy. At the end of the match, an elated Stephen Clarke hailed his team’s fighting spirit to come back three times, to win the match. “They (St. Pauls) gave us a really, really tough game and we expected it, but we showed what champions are made of,” Coach Clarke said. “We went behind early. It was just a misplaced pass and they capitalized on but we weren’t scared at all. We had confidence that we could come back and we could score goals so we weren’t afraid. It showed that the team had character so congrats to the team and congrats to the Village community in making history,” he added.
Coach Clarke said he was also confident the team would get the goal needed in extra time to win the match and not go to penalties, even though it appeared that the game was heading towards a shootout. He recalled having a conversation on the bench with his star striker Kimaree Rogers, who was subbed earlier in the match about planning for penalties. “I was talking to Kimaree on the bench and we were talking about the five (players to be chosen for penalty shootout) and I said to him we are not going penalty kicks. We gonna win this game during regular time, we are not going penalty kicks and soon as I said that, we got the goal,” Coach Clarke said smiling.
As for Taju Clarke of St. Pauls, he is proud of his teammates’ efforts despite the loss. “The team can feel well and hold their head high, because we put in a fight. Everybody can see that. The fans and the players can see that. There is no need for them to bow their heads. All we have to do is look forward and try to compete and be in every (playoffs) that the SKNFA has and try to win the rest of the cups,” Clarke said. He is confident the performance in the finals is a motivator for the upcoming games in the second round of the season, which resumes in January. The Carnival Cup final marks the Christmas/Carnival break in the football season until January 12th, 2019.