A dramatic last minute strike from Adam Burchell saw London Lions A beat Redbridge A in a controversial Cyril Anekstein Cup final at Wingate & Finchley.
The late winner in their 2-1 victory set off wild scenes of celebrations for the Rowley Lane side, though Redbridge were left frustrated at not only the result, but felt several decisions went against them which contributed to their loss.
Admitting the game won’t live long in the memory, Lions assistant manager Will Beresford said: “It wasn’t a game for the football purists. It was physical and committed and it was difficult for the referee, but he along with his officials were on top of things and did well to control some aggressive incidents in both halves.”
Happy with how their game plan panned out, he said: “We set out to be resilient and hard to break down. We were always confident that as long as we didn’t concede early, our attacking players would take their chances. We scored two exceptional goals, Adam took his match winner with great composure – he’s popped up with goals at crucial moments this season, especially in both cup competitions. This match showed that possession doesn’t win you games – that’s something we’ve learnt this season.”
Burchell’s winner came after Zack Neiman had drawn Redbridge level with a low driven free-kick, bringing them back on level terms after Adam Arnold’s lob had given Lions a first half lead.
Pleased his side were able to win some silverware this season, manager Ryan Springer added: “We’re delighted to have something to show for our effort this season. The boys have been wonderful and deserve to enjoy their moment.”
Redbridge manager Jon Jacobs was proud of his side’s performance, though wasn’t so praiseworthy towards the officials. He said: “I thought we had more than enough to win and I’m so proud of all of the boys and the effort they put in, they will have to use this defeat as motivation for the remaining two games of the season.
“The only negative note for me was the officiating. I thought that when it came to 50-50 decisions, we didn’t get the rub of the green and in the big decisions, the referee chose to keep his notebook in his pocket when the correct decision would have been to see a red card.
“In a tight game, decisions like this can have a huge impact on the game and I believe the decisions not to issue a second yellow card for the hack on Sam Sollosi, and to not issue a straight red card for a stamp on Dean Nyman, were really poor decisions.
“We needed to have been out of sight in this game to win this, but credit to Lions who stuck to their game plan and took their chances. This game will rankle in east London for years to come but we will take this bitter pill and use it to go and win the Premier Division and bring some deserved silverware back to Redbridge.”
He did though offer his congratulations to Lions, saying: “I’m very disappointed with the outcome of today’s game, but am magnanimous in defeat to a team that took their chances where we didn’t.”