Regent Rovers aim to repeat Islington Gazette Cup final shock against Admiral
PUBLISHED: 16:37 18 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:37 18 May 2016
Manager Andrew Byrne is aiming for a second cup final shock after Regent Rovers staged an outstanding late fightback to beat Regent’s 3-1 and claim the Islington Gazette Cup.
Regent’s, who won the cup last season, seemed set to retain it when Jason Perdicou fired them into the lead midway through the second half of the final at Market Road.
But Rovers hit back with a 15-minute hat-trick from substitute Abo Eisa – including two memorable strikes from distance – to clinch a deserved victory over the Islington Midweek League champions.
Now Byrne’s side are seeking to double their tally of silverware on Thursday night, when they face league runners-up Islington Admiral United in the Invitation Cup final (kick-off 8pm).
“We’ve still got another cup final and two important league games to come as well, so we could finish the season with two trophies and third place in the top division,” the Rovers boss told the Gazette.
“That would undoubtedly be our best season yet. We’ll approach it in exactly the same way and let’s see if we can do to Admiral what we’ve done to Regent’s.
“We came with a game plan to frustrate them in the first half and when we heard their half-time team talk that was enough for us to know that we’d done our job.
“Then we knew we could bring on our subs to win the game. We took a gamble after scoring the equaliser, taking off a defensive midfielder and going with two up top – that was a sign of our confidence.”
Rovers were well organised throughout and restricted the holders to very few chances until the 67th minute, when Perdicou pounced on Darren Gray’s knockdown to drill home from the edge of the box.
But Eisa scrambled Rovers’ equaliser before curling an exquisite right-foot free-kick around the Regent’s wall to make it 2-1 and completed his treble by smashing home a 30-yard drive in added time.
The attacking midfielder is one of several members of the winning side who are either current or former students at Regent High School, where Byrne and club chairman Shaun Banham both teach.
“We knew half an hour would be enough for Abo to come on and do some damage,” added Byrne. “Shaun and I both taught him for about seven years and the same with our skipper, Ryan Bruce.
“To see some of these kids come through and perform like this in an adult team is so rewarding. It’s only our fourth season as a club and we feel this team is going from strength to strength.”