Manager Mitch Young admitted that the best side won after FC Team were beaten 3-0 by Flanders FC in the London FA Junior Cup final at Croydon Athletic.
Going into the game against the former competition winners, Young was ruing the volcanic ash disruption that left star striker Richard Salmon marooned in Milan.
In their first LFA cup final, FC Team of the Middlesex County League, started well with vice-captain Paul Kent rattling the bar in the first 20 minutes.
However, his and FC Team’s afternoon was about to get worse as he was sent crashing the floor by an ugly challenge from Flanders’ David Laing, as the players contested a bouncing ball on the edge of the Flanders box. The match was stopped for 25 minutes as a bloodied Kent lay motionless on the pitch before he was taken away by medics. Young later revealed that Kent suffered a cracked cheekbone in two places.
As the match restarted, players from both teams struggling to regain their composure and the teams went in level at the break.
Within five minutes of the restart, Flanders added insult to injury when Laing climbed highest to loop a header over Team keeper Mike Perkin and into the net.
Flanders never looked back and they soon added a second when Des Wilson slotted home a scrappy second after 65 minutes.
FC Team’s miserable afternoon was complete 10 minutes from time when young substitue James Korn’s attempted clearance landed in his own net.
A reflective Mitch Young said: “Overall I’m obviously disappointed to lose the match. I felt we were the better team in the first half, created the better chances and hit the bar. The turning point was our best defender Paul Kent having to go off after a disgusting late challenge which saw him headbutted in the face. Kenty was winning everything and leading the backline superbly and I am shocked and appalled the referee did not send the player off for this over-aggressive late challenge. That same player went onto score the first goal. Paul is currently sitting in hospital with a cracked cheek bone in two separate places.
“We came out in the second half and failed to deal with the long punt from the keeper and set pieces which was a shame. I can’t fault the effort of the boys in what was a tremendously hot day. We never stopped running but overall, missing two of our best players was too much against a very decent Flanders side.
“Credit to Flanders who have a few excellent players and overall deserved to win the game.
“We knew it would be difficult without Richard Salmon. We have played over 20 games this season and never not scored so it was no surprise that we struggled without our big number 9.
“Overall though I am happy we reached the final of a prestigious competition. I’m proud of the boys having got this far and it will only make us more determined next season to go one step closer. I would like to thank all the supporters for making the journey and would like to wish Paul a very speedy recovery.”
FC Team: Mike Perkin, Ollie Segal, Gideon Moss, Paul Kent, Dan Silverman, Jules Noti (capt), Laurence Judah, Jonny Breger, Kieran Curry Allen, Irvine Howson, Tom Savage. Subs: James Korn, Neil Weyman, Adam Rones