Goodyear Borel's Cup hero again
MAKESHIFT midfielder Clive Goodyear continued his personal cup fairytale by firing holders Ernest Borel into the Regal FA Cup final with a 1-0 win over favourites South China at Mongkok Stadium yesterday.
Goodyear, a former English FA Cup winner with Wimbledon, whose goal won Hongkong's Cup last year for Borel, was switched from full-back and swooped in the 77th minute to topple the Caroliners.
It gives his team a chance to salvage some silverware from an otherwise disappointing season in which they have already relinquished the Viceroy Cup.
Goodyear made sure they would go all the way in defence of the FA Cup when he showed a striker's touch 13 minutes from time to end South China's run of six successive wins. Without another prize left to play for, it effectively ends their season too.
South China went into the game, watched by a crowd of 4,369, with only one defeat in 10 matches - on the back of a mighty 3-0 win against new league champions Eastern in the Viceroy Cup final, and a 7-0 league thumping of British Forces.
Goodyear's conversion from right-back has coincided with an upturn in Borel's dismal fortunes - they are fourth from bottom of the league table - with three wins in their last three matches.
He has not scored a more vital goal this term, though, than his fifth of the season. After picking up Craig Foster's lovely through ball inside the penalty area, the former Luton and Plymouth defender controlled adroitly before slotting home past goalkeeper Allen McKnight.
''We deserved to win,'' said Goodyear, who won his coveted English FA Cup winner's medal in Wimbledon's 1988 Wembley upset of Liverpool.
''This was one of our better games of the season. We defended very well and the whole team put in 100 per cent.'' He added: ''We can go into the final looking to win the trophy and make up for some of our disappointment this season. If we play like we did today, we have every chance of winning.'' After an eventful performance in which he was booked for a rough challenge on South China's Anto Grabo, Goodyear said of his new lease of life as a midfielder: ''It has been 10 years since I played midfield in England and scored like that. When Craig sentit through to me, I made sure that I was going to score.'' Borel had high hopes at the start of this season after their two-trophy haul in 1991-92 but have lurched from one disappointment to another until now.
South China, who had suffered a similarly spectacular slump after winning the league last year, had settled internal strife to transform their season and had not lost since Michelotti upset them 1-0 back in February.
The Caroliners looked like extending their fine run as they took the game to the Cup holders in the first half.
But, without a competitive game for almost three weeks, South China lacked the goal touch they had shown since introducing English import Billy Whitehurst into their attack.
Whitehurst toiled in vain to break down Borel's stubborn defence and, when his best chance came in injury time at the end of 90 minutes, the big striker missed the chance to force extra-time when his snap-shot flashed wide.
Eastern are favourites to advance when they meet Kitchee in the second semi-final this Sunday to decide who meets Borel in the June 20 final at Mongkok.