|Date||11th April 2018|
|Competition||Division 1 Cup|
|Kick-off Time||7:45 pm|
|Result||Won 3 ‐ 1|
Manager Andy Landesberg’s young side appeared to be heading for their second cup final defeat of the season – following last month’s loss to Baldock Town in the Herts Centenary Trophy – when they trailed 1-0 at half-time to opponents who have lost just once in the league all season.
But roared on by the sizeable Lions contingent who had made the journey up the M1 to Berkhampstead Town’s Broadwater Stadium, three second-half goals in 14 remarkable minutes – from Adam Burchill, Jake Furman, and Adam Bolle – turned the tie on its head.
On the final whistle boss Landesberg heaped praise on his entire side saying: “It was an utterly brilliant performance out there tonight.
“When you consider the average age of the side is just over 20-years-old, and we were competing against a team with loads of experience who have topped the league all year, you can’t get away from how well the boys have performed out.
“Even at 1-0 down, I always felt if we got it right mentally and played to our strengths we could get something out of the game.
“We’ve had a fantastic season, but it would be a real shame to have had nothing to show for it at the end of the day.
“We’re still amongst the top three sides in the division, but to also walk away with a trophy shows we’re not just also-rans.
“The boys showed real steel and fight out there – and have proved themselves to be winners.”
Earlier, the first-half had been a cagey affair with both sides cancelling each other out during the first 20 minutes.
Austin Lipman came close on two separate occasions when shooting just shy of the goal from distance.
At the other end, James Harpin made a decent save with his feet from a deflected effort from a Southall winger near the half-hour mark.
An opener for Lions opponents looked increasingly on the cards after they hit the post from a free-kick and continued to threaten as the end of the first half drew near.
On 42 minutes the deadlock was broken when attacking midfielder Jack Bennett shot from the edge of box finding the corner of the net.
Many in the decent-sized crowd would then have expected Southall to go on and win the game comfortably – but Lions showed real heart and character to turn the game around
On 56 minutes Jack Mattey picked up the ball and the right flank and swung in a dangerous ball, as he did all game, which the Southall keeper failed to deal with – leaving Burchell free to head into the net.
Lions confidence visibly rose, and just four minutes, Furman made a late burst into the box to tuck home another excellent cross from the right.
Southall looked shell-shocked and were unable to mount any genuine pressure before Bolle cooly slotted home past the helpless Southall keeper and spark wild celebrations from the Lions team and their management.
Lions understandably dropped off to allow Southall more possession in the final 20 minutes – but remained disciplined throughout with Adam Myeroff and Nick Landesberg dealing with the direct threat their opponents posed.
There was to one massive let-off for Lions, when with Harpin beaten, Southall managed to hit the frame of the goal rather than the back of the net from eight yards with less than ten minutes to go.
However, this was to be Lions day. The entire side had put in performances they could be proud of – with full-backs Jake Rinsler and Liron Mannie and strikers Max Kyte and Bolle particularly impressive
In the end, captain Jake Furman and his talented young side deservedly lifted the trophy against quality opposition.
It was a cup final victory that also suggested Andy Landesberg’s team can go on to even bigger things during the seasons to come.
In the short-term Lions will now look to finish what has been an excellent campaign back in the Spartan Midlands League starting with a victory at Rowley Lane on Saturday against Harefield United.