For the third time in as many months we again locked horns with Esher Wizards - this time in the semi final of the SYL League Cup competition. Both teams turned up knowing the battle would be fierce and the game certainly didn’t disappoint. We started well and for the first 10 minutes enjoyed good territory and possession with Oli forcing a good save from the keeper with a decent strike from 25 yards. However against the run of play it was Esher who broke the deadlock and took the lead in the 13th minute. We responded well though and Freddie, Luca and James were seeing a lot of the ball down the left. In the 19th minute Luca won a free kick about 45 yards from goal and Freddie delivered a teasing ball that wasn’t dealt with and Zahir was well placed to bundle it in from close range to equalise. The rest of the half saw both sides looking to gain the ascendancy. Kris and Erim were covering lots ground and doing well to disrupt their midfield whilst Isaac, Hayden and Freddie were looking assured. At the other end Mikey was always a threat and Josh DK was pushing on down the right looking to find chinks in the Esher defence but we couldn’t find another breakthrough. HT 1-1. We again started the half strongly and took the lead when Lewis did really well to win the ball high on the left and released Mikey into the box who got to the byline. His excellent cut back found Zahir on the stretch and as he slid in diverted the ball to Oli who with his back to goal improvised superbly to back flick the ball past the keeper. The lead didn’t last long though and it was Esher equalising this time just 3 minutes later. The game was now finely poised and both sides went on the offensive looking for a winner but both defences were determined not to be breached. Oli’s good run and shot from 20 yards tested the keeper but he was down well to make the save. Luke very nearly found the killer pass but Oli had just strayed offside when he would have been through whilst Mikey’s pace was always a threat. At the other end Isaac was directing the defence superbly and it was looking like the tie was heading to penalties. However with just 2 minutes to go Luca attacked down the right and beat the defender to get in a fantastic cross which Oli met with a thunderous header that powered into the top corner off the underside of the bar for what seemed certain to be the winner. However the drama was not over and a desperate Esher poured forward in search of an injury time equaliser and it came with the last kick of the game and it was indeed to be decided on penalties. FT 3-3. The tension in the shootout was of course intense with a place in the final at stake. Throughout the game Dom did not actually have many saves to make but in the shootout stepped up to produce 2 outstanding penalty saves (as did the Esher keeper). With Esher missing another and Oli, Lewis and Freddie finding the target from the spot saw us through to win the shootout 3-2 and earn a place in the final. A true cup tie in every sense of the word with both teams giving it everything which in the end could have gone either way. A great advert for top level grassroots football. MoM - a massive effort from every single member of the squad today to help see us over the line with everyone contributing, but Oli with his 2 goals, Dom with his 2 penalty saves and Isaac repelling everything thrown at him are joint recipients this week. Congratulations to all of the squad for reaching another final.