BADSHOT LEA’S Premier Challenge Cup dreams are over after they lost 2-0 at home to Southall in the semi-finals on Tuesday evening.

The Baggies got off to the worst possible start when they fell behind in the first minute, and the visitors then doubled their advantage on 22 minutes.

Mal Thomas was sent off late on for the home side.

Badshot Lea co-manager Gavin Smith had no complaints about the result, and admitted the first minute proved costly.

“We kicked off, lost the ball and they scored after 45 seconds,” he said. “They were the better team in the first half and deserved to be 2-0 up at half-time.

“We didn’t play well, and Southall are one of only four teams this season who were clearly better than us on the day.

“We created a couple of half chances in the second half, and were better than the first half.

“Mal was frustrated late on and got sent off, and we’ll now miss him at the start of next season.”

The Baggies finished in fifth place in the Combined Counties Premier Division South this season – after Jersey Bulls beat Fleet Town 3-0 on Saturday to claim fourth place – and Smith is proud of his players’ efforts.

“It’s a really good achievement,” he said. “We set the players a target to finish in the top six, and they finished fifth with 81 points and reached two cup semi-finals.

“We got knocked out in the FA Vase and FA Cup earlier than we would have liked, but it’s still been a good season.”

Smith is hoping to keep the majority of his players for next season, but is aware of potential interest from other clubs.

“We are positive looking ahead to next season,” he said.

“We want to keep a lot of the players – but will need resources to do that as other clubs will be interested in our players.

“Our pitch has been a state recently which doesn’t help the way we want to play, but the club is investing money in the pitch this summer to help us.”