LION CUBS COME OF AGE IN WEMBLEY FIVE-A-SIDE TRIUMPH
Wynter Wonder Hots Up London's All-Star Show!
A Slip of a Kid called Roger Wynter demolished some of the big names in London football and rescued a season of gloom for Millwall at the Wembley Arena last night.

By Michael Hart

Wynter, a 17-year-old midfield player from Brixton has not figured in Millwall's season-long fight against relegation from Division Three, but, on last night's evidence, his first team debut cannot be far away.

He has spent his fledgling career in reserve and youth team football, yet last night revelled in the big-time atmosphere and endeared himself to a wall to wall crowd with eight goals.

Major role

Those goals played a major role in securing The Standard's London five-a-side title for Millwall for the third time in six years. Until last night, Wynter was practically unknown. But his performance prompted watching England manager Bobby Robson to ask: “Is he English?”

Well, he is English and, in fact is no stranger to Wembley. He played for England schoolboys against Northern Ireland in the stadium just a few, hundred yards away from his triumph last night. 

He signed Professional terms with Millwall only last month and was due to return to earth with a bump this afternoon in a reserve against Tottenham at the Den. 

But, in the jubilant, Millwall dressing room after last night’s pulsating 3-2 win over Brentford in the final, he was able to savour the moment.

Clutching the trophy he had won for being voted Player of the Night he said: “I've never experienced anything quite like this.” 

“The atmosphere was tremendous and I think the crowd got behind us from the start because we were the youngest side and, in all our matches, we were the underdogs.”

 Wynter who had previously scored only eight goals all season for Millwall youth and reserve teams, hit two in the 3-2 win over Charlton in round one. Alan McLeary scored the other. 

He then scored both goals in the 2-0 win that put out fancied West Ham side and two more as Arsenal collapsed in the semi-final. Andy Massey, who had an outstanding night as Millwall's captain, added the third in a 3-1 win.

Then Millwall faced their Third Division rivals, Brentford, in the final. Brentford, beaten semi-finalists last year, went a stage further this time largely because of the goalkeeping of Paddy Roche and the subtle talent of Stan Bowles.

They beat Wimbledon 3-1 in the first round and a save by Roche from Gary Mabbutt's penalty gave them a 2-1 win over Spurs after a penalty play-off in round two.

The semi-final against Crystal Palace was an unusually bad-tempered affair but again Roche produced the crucial save, this time from David Giles, to earn a 4-3 victory after penalties and a place In the final.

Brentford’s vastly more experienced, started favourites. But after Massey and Wynter had both struck a post, Massey scored the opening goal. 

Chris Kamara equalised for Brentford and Wynter confessed afterwards : “We were pretty tired at that stage and I was beginning to have doubts about us winning” 

But, Wynter stuck doggedly to his task and surprise, surprise, came up with his now customary brace of goals to give Mllwall a 3-1 lead. The ageless Bowles struck back to make it 3-2, but for Brentford it was too little, too late.

Average Age

Theo Foley, Millwall's assistant manager, said: “They had a very difficult path to the final and considering the average age was only 18, I think they played superbly.”

Goalkeeper Paul Sansome and Massey were the oldest players at 21. McLeary is 18 and John-Neal, Wynter and substitute Teddy Sheringham are all 17.

It was a spectacular night of goals an high octane thrills. In all 59 goals were scored with Brentford’s Gary Roberts, Crystal Palace's Paul Hinshelwood and Arsenal’s McDermott each hitting four.

Ironically, it was McDermott's penalty in the second round that put out the holders, Fulham, the club with whom he has spent the last month on loan.

But the night belonged to little Roger Wynter, who had the pace and vision to take up good positions and the skill to beat defenders in one-against-one situations. “What I liked about him was his patience, said Robson. He was never hurried. He tooktime and made sure with his shots.”

He certainly did that. It was a night he will not forget in a hurry either.
The Victorious Millwall team celebrate their Wembley success with England -manager Bobby Robson (back, second left) and Standard editor Louis Kirby (back, second right). And Roger Wynter (centre, front) had plenty to celebrate - as Robson had just judged him Player of the Night. 

The other Millwall players are Andy Massey-the skipper-goalkeeper Paul Sansome, Teddy Sheringham, John Neal and Alan McLeary.

Standard Picture: Stuart Robinson


FIRST ROUND

Orient 1, Spurs 2
Wimbledon 1, Brentford 3
Arsenal 4, Chelsea 2
Fulham 2, QPR 1
Millwall 3, Charlton 2
Luton 2, West Ham 3

SECOND ROUND

Palace 4, Watford 3 (pens)
Spurs 1, Brentford 2 (pens)
Arsenal 4, Fulham 3 (pens)
Millwall 2, West Ham 0

SEMI-FINALS

Palace 3, Brentford 4 (pens)
Arsenal 1, Millwall 3

FINAL

Brentford 2, Millwall 3

   
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