PREVIEW: Lionside take on ACD United in Tuesday night's Division 2 Cup Final

PREVIEW: Lionside take on ACD United in Tuesday night's Division 2 Cup Final

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This Tuesday night, we once again head to Dagenham & Redbridge FC to witness our Division Two Cup reach it’s climax as Lionside look to spring a surprise on ACD United. We now look ahead to the game and provide some insight into who might be crowned cup winners on Tuesday evening.

For ACD United, this match marks their second appearance at the Chigwell Construction Stadium in as many weeks after they lost out narrowly late on the Fenton Cup Final last Saturday against Docklands Albion, a result which is sure to spur them on for success this time around. That defeat has been the only real low point in an otherwise hugely successful campaign. They remain locked in battle for the league title in Division Two, holding the advantage of a game in hand over Chingford Athletic but with both sides due to meet in a May showdown in a couple of weeks’ time which will surely decide the destination of that crown. Their run in this competition began with a solid 5-2 win away at Forest Green Reserves before despatching the high-flying Rainham Working Mens Club 4-1 in the quarter-finals. That performance booked a huge semi-final against Chingford Athletic who they fell behind to before coming from behind to earn a 2-1 victory, securing their place at Dagenham in the process. As will have been witnessed in many a match this season, Michael Wade’s prowess in front of goal marks him out as the man to watch as he has netted an astonishing 40 goals this year so far.

Taking on the might of ACD United are another former Romford and District League side in the shape of Lionside who have reached their first cup final with the league. Despite Lionside’s position in the table which sees them lying tenth at present, this has been comfortably above the relegation zone all season and amongst a cluster of clubs in the lower reaches of the table, having secured seven league wins in their nineteen matches played so far. A mid-season boost in form saw them gain some momentum which coincided with their run in the cup, knocking out local rivals Flyers in their opening round clash in a 3-1 victory. That victory sent them on another away-day trip as they travelled to Custom House in a closely fought match which went all the way to a shootout after the sides finished level at 2-2. Lionside were victorious from the penalty spot winning 4-2 as they booked a third away trip in succession, facing United London Reserves. With the best part of half a league table separating the sides, Lionside went in as underdogs but showed their big match experience as they came away 2-1 winners to secure their slot at Dagenham. The 25-goal Martyn Rifat has to be the man to watch for the orange outfit as he leads the line for his side who tend to save up their best performances for the big occasion.

When you look at the chances of each of these sides, it is hard to look past an eight-team and 28 point gap between the sides in the league with ACD United having been far more consistent compared to their opponents. However, the only league meeting between these sides this season saw ACD squeeze to a 3-2 win in November which could be an indicator as to how this game might pan out. If our other finals are anything to go by, ACD United, Avondale Rangers and New Star Soccer have all demonstrated that anything can happen in a final so will Lionside’s cup final experience in the past give them a slight edge despite going in as underdogs? I guess that we will all find out around 9.30pm on Tuesday night!

Congratulations to our appointed match officials on this final, a reward for the continued hard work put in by our referees across the season. The very reliable and respected John Conaghan is the man with the whistle and will be ably supported by two equally experienced men from the touchlines, namely Gary Lewis and Malcolm Pond who come with oodles of experience. The ever-dependable John Simpson completes the quartet on the evening with the fourth official duties.

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