London Lions reserves win cup
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London Lions' County League reserve side put another piece of silverware in the Rowley Lane cabinet when they came from behind to win a pulsating County Cup final.
Jon Green and Dan Jacobs have assembled a side combining a superb mix of youth and experience - the likes of captain Tim Becker and ex-Charlton star Paul Linger the guiding lights for a crop graduates from their Under 18 set up, with no fewer than six teenagers making it into this final squad.
Lions took the game to their opponents but failed to grab the goal their play deserved, and were stunned when on the half hour they fell behind to a well taken goal as Standon broke quickly.
Danny Berliner in the Lions goal was then at his best to keep the Rowley lane outfit in the tie with three brilliant blocks before, on the stroke of half time, Linger's 25-yard volley drew Lions level.
Buoyed by the goal, Lions went out on the front foot in the second period and, after sub Daryl Philips twisted his way past the full back, Nick Goodman arrived to smash home the pull back.
Chances came and went for Lions to seal the tie, and for this they were made to pay when the pace of the Standon forwards got them in behind again and the scores were levelled.
Lions brought on winger Jeremy Julius for the final quarter of the match, and almost immediately he had Standon backing off. A mazy run saw him free the outstanding Ben Joseph. His far post cross was helped back in delightfully by Linger where Jason Goldstein, star of the Maccabiah Under 18's last time out, rose high to plant a stunning header into the top corner.
With both sides reduced to 10 men following an altercation between the centre half and Becker, the last five minutes on a big pitch saw action at both ends. Thankfully for Lions Berliner was in outstanding form, 3 more times saving Lions with wonderful agility and bravery.
A heroic last-minute goalline clearance from Myles Beerman ensured that the Lions, for whom Danny Schindler and Jon Rayner excelled at the back, held out. The final whistle bringing great joy and relief as well as a physical reward for a season's great football.
Lions joint-manager Jon Green said: “This was a great advert for football at this level. We now genuinely have half a dozen guys who, when they return from university, will be pushing for first team places.
"They play football the right way, listen to instruction and with such greats of Jewish football around them this team can only go from strength to strength.”