London Lions were taken all the way to extra time in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase before finally finding their shooting boots.
FA Vase First Qualifying Round:
Wootton Blue Cross 2 London Lions 3 (AET)
Saturday, 9 September, 2017
Having lost at the first hurdle last year, Andy Landesberg’s team were determined to have a run in this famous competition and even dream a little of a Wembley final.
Facing Bedfordshire County League opponents, Lions would be favourites, but Wootton had started their season strongly and Lions are still without eight players due to injury and suspension, so this was a potential banana skin.
Lions – again starting three players from the Under 18 squad – opened the score midway through the first half when a raking Charlie Rubin diagonal ball was volleyed home by Adam Burchell for a really special goal.
The home team bounced back early in the second half to equalise and Lions were now in a game.
Despite creating half a dozen fantastic opportunities, Lions were simply unable to apply a ruthless finishing touch to the game.
It took until extra time for Lions to take their chances, and on 97 minutes it was one of the young protegees Josh Shack who threaded a ball through to Burchell who slotted home his second of the afternoon.
Midway through the second extra period, Burchell turned provider when he squared for Charlie Kasler to finish well.
Wootton immediately responded to set up a grandstand last few minutes, but it is Lions who will play in the Second Qualifying Round in two weeks at home to Malmesbury Victoria.