|Date||27th September 2015|
|Competition||Herts County Cup|
|Kick-off Time||12:00 am|
|Result||Won 2 ‐ 1|
The Herts FA County Cup is the Champions League of North London Youth football and represents a chance for the leading WFL teams to test themselves against the top clubs across the County.
After a good win in the first round at Lemsford, Lions U13 White found themselves drawn at home to Hemel Hempstead Town Youth U13, currently of the Eastern Junior Alliance elite Academy League after being West Herts League Champions for the previous 3 years.
Having suffered a broken finger, wrist and foot to their squad in the previous fortnight and also without their captain, Lions had just 12 fit boys at Rowley Lane determined to give a strong account of themselves and not to be intimidated by the Haka style war cries and clear strength of the opposition as they warmed up.
The game kicked off with high energy and purpose and this was maintained for the next 70 minutes. Hemel were highly technical, well drilled and organised but the Lions produced strong patterns of play to push them back.
Eli Miller relished the chance to impose himself on quality opposition and, supported by Mikey Charney, began to dominate midfield and feed the extreme pace and energy of Lions front 3.
The first half ended goalless and, in the late Autumn sunshine and heat, the boys regrouped and prepared themselves to maintain momentum in the second half. Hemel started the second half stronger and started to press and create a serious threat. However, Sam Clarfield and Tyler Gordon, at the heart of defence, smothered everything that was thrown at them and, supported by Max Winters, Zack Francis and Ben Lever, moved the ball through midfield culminating in Sammy Garcia driving into the Hemel penalty area where he was upended for a penalty.
Eli Miller stepped forward to calmly give Lions a 1-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining. The game now ebbed and flowed and the speed of movement and interchange of Hemel was countered by Lions’ resilience and counter attacks. With 10 minutes remaining Mikey Charney won yet another ball in midfield and the ball then travelled 50 yards in 5 seconds between the interplay of the Lions sprint relay team….. Sammy Garcia, Freddie Land and Lucas Schreiber, and before Hemel knew it Garcia laid off for Ethan Myers to extend the lead to 2-0.
Hemel threw everything they could to get back in the game and a late free kick gave them hope but the Lions held firm. The boys celebrated the final whistle knowing that through sheer teamwork, passion, energy and no lack of technical quality, they had matched and overcome an outstanding team who we (and many WFL teams) could learn a lot from, not least in the sporting manner that they congratulated us after the final whistle.