City Under-23s produced a stunning late fightback to lift the Central League Cup (South) at Barnet last night.
- Dowling and Nurse seal victory with late goals
- Hosts Barnet had taken a first-half lead
- De Girolamo sees penalty saved in cup final
Goals from George Dowling and George Nurse in the final five minutes sealed victory for Alex Ball’s side at The Hive.
City had trailed to Ephron Mason-Clark’s goal late in the first half, while Diego De Girolamo missed a penalty for the visitors on the stroke of half-time.
Both teams took time to get going, but City hit the woodwork with the first chance on 24 minutes. Joe Morrell’s corner picked out Dowling in the middle and his goalbound header was pushed against the upright by goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle.
Mason-Clark broke the deadlock on 38 minutes, getting on the end of Loic Hernandez’s left-wing and powering in from close range.
Soon after De Girolamo was sent tumbling in the box, offering City a chance to draw level. However, the former Sheffield United winger saw his spot-kick saved by McKenzie-Lyle diving to his left.
After the break City laid siege to the home goal, with Lloyd Kelly, Morrell and substitute Nurse all going close.
The breakthrough came with five minutes left as Morrell’s corner was met on the volley by Dowling from six yards out.
Just two minutes later Nurse won the tie, driving into the penalty area down the left to meet Dowling’s pass and beat the keeper at his near post.
Barnet immediately made changes to try and force extra time, but City’s development group held on professionally to lift the trophy.
City Under-23s: Wollacott; Edwards, H.Smith, Kelly, Pring; Andrews, Dowling Morrell, J.Smith (Nurse 65); De Girolamo (Akpobire 89), Hinds. Subs not used: Hines, Morton, Baldwin.