London Lions 2-3 Old Owens
London Lions manager Tony Gold accused his team of “lacking mental toughness” after they missed their last chance of silverware, crashing out of the Potters Bar Charity Cup on Wednesday night.
With the country’s top all-Jewish team leading 2-0 at half-time, Gold could not believe his eyes as they fell apart in the second half with their fate sealed three minutes from time.
“We went to pot in the second half,” said Gold, “I don’t know where it went wrong. I’m speechless, the boys stopped working and it went very flat.
“Our defence fell apart and we stopped doing the right things. It was very frustrating.”
The match had an end-of-season feel to it with a lacklustre affair seeing both teams playing at walking pace.
But the Lions, who went into the tie unbeaten in four matches, forged ahead on 20 minutes with the move of the game.
A great run down the right from Ben Ruben saw him cut the ball back to Adam Stolerman who flicked it on to the far post where goal-poacher Lee Cash was on hand to side foot home his 15th goal in 18th starts. The visitors then had a great chance but alert goalkeeping from Matt Davis in the Lions goal kept the match scoreless.
Missing the likes of Guy Morris, Sam Reeves, Guy Helman, Alex Levack, Ben Grossman, Ben Joseph, Alex Taylor, Adam Lauffer, Aaron Barnes and Lorian Madanes, the Lions continued to take the game to their Southern Amateur League opponents and they doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time.
Minutes after heading wide from another Ruben cross, Stolerman, netted his 24th goal of the season when a slide-rule through ball from Aviel Schwarz released him and, despite looking yards offside, he curled home to give Lions a two-goal cushion.
The visitors awoke from their slumber and produced an inspiring second half with two efforts flying past Davis after 65 and 80 minutes to set up a nail-biting finale. And they ended Lions’ cup hopes in cruel fashion, despite the heroics of Davis.
With that, the Lions end the season with no trophies in the cabinet at Rowley Lane, leaving Gold and his side to reflect on what might have been.
Lions: Davis, Manson, Myeroff, Cole, Shaki, Glass (capt), Schwarz, Gold, Cash, Ruben, Stolerman. Subs: Fieldgrass, Goodman