Lions Vets beaten by Hadley in Vets Herts County Cup final

MLFC suffered the cruellest of defeats in the Herts County Cup final, with a sudden death missed penalty the only way to separate the two sides after 120 minutes of end to end action that showcased why Masters football at this level is so great to a be a part of.



HADLEY FC 2 MLFC 2 (Hadley won 5-4 on penalties)

The MLFC side were dealt a blow pre-match when Steve Summers withdrew, but with Paul Hakim passed fit it was otherwise a pretty solid squad that arrived to take on a Hadley side boasting several ex-pros, including Mikele Liegertwood in midfield, Leon Braithwaite at the back with Patrick Ageymang and Scott McGleish up front.

Hadley probably had the better of the opening exchanges, but MLFC showed they carried a threat with the outstanding Daniel Stanton seeing plenty of ball and using it wisely.

There were early chances with both sides hitting the woodwork, with MLFC defender Adam Myeroff seeing a header cannon back off the crossbar.

But it was Hadley who took the lead after 20 minutes when a long-throw saw Ageymang demonstrate his brute strength, leaning into Rob Glass he created a yard to hammer home via a deflection on the turn.


Jon Rayner was giving Lions a great outlet down the right, his lung-busting runs creating spaces, one fine delivery a whisker away from Hakim.

Lee Cash and Hakim then combined well, only for an offside flag to rule out the effort while a Cash thunderbolt was acrobatically tipped away, so it was thoroughly deserved when MLFC equalised.

The ball was fed into Hakim with back to goal. He ran across the penalty area before spinning and crossing for Cash to rise and nod home past the flailing keeper.

However, MLFC were then dealt another blow as Hakim’s troublesome calf flared up and he had to be withdrawn soon after to be replaced by Saul Conway.

It was end to end. Adam Harvey, Rayner, Glass and Myeroff were well-protected by the effervescent Alex Levack and Greg Corin, and the rangy David Soutar had his hands full but gave their all to keep Hadley at bay. And when called upon goalkeeper Rob Abrahams was in fine form with impeccable handling and a couple of superb saves.

Rayner was then felled for the umpteenth time, winning Lions a free-kick. Levack delivered, the ball headed partially clear, dropping 16 yards from goal onto the trusty right foot of Cash who lashed home top corner to give Lions the lead.

Conway had a chance to extend it but was denied by a good save, but as the half drew to a close Hadley drew level from the penalty spot, McGleish’s penalty rifled home after Soutar was perhaps harshly adjudged to have been the aggressor as he and his opponent went to ground.

MLFC created a great chance early in the second half, Cash’s low cross on the run just evaded the onrushing Conway. At the other end Abrahams made another fine save and a goal-mouth scramble wads eventually hacked clear, but otherwise Guy Morris and Glass dealt well with the constant threat.

The closest either side came to winning came to MLFC, Conway striking sweetly past the keeper only for the ball to strike the recovering defender on the back side, the ball deflecting to safety.

Into extra-time, and with the wind picking up it became an even harder game to call. Cash thought he’d won it and taken the match ball when he, Stanton and Conway exchanged passes, the Lions hitman rounding the keeper and slotting home only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.

With time running out there was one final great chance, Corin timing his run to perfection to steal between the defenders to get a head onto Cash’s fine cross, the ball going just the wrong side of the post and so the tie went to penalties.

Up first, Myeroff dragged his effort wide, but Hadley’s third spot kick was blazed over. In between Cash, Stanton, Hakim and Levack all scored, but into sudden death Hadley scored their sixth while Glass saw his effort saved to leave Hadley celebrating.

MLFC boss Dan Jacobs said: “The boys should be proud of their efforts and for taking such a quality outfit all the way.”

MLFC: Rob Abrahams, Jon Rayner, Rob Glass, Adam Myeroff, Adam Harvey, Alex Levack, Greg Corin, David Soutar, Daniel Stanton, Lee Cash, Paul Hakim. Subs: Danny Berg,, Guy Morris, Saul Conway

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