YEOVIL midfielder Ed Upson is hoping to inflict another giantkilling on Southampton.
The 24 year-old was still a schoolboy when he reduced a Saints team including Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana to tears at the end of the 2005 FA Youth Cup final.
Upson was only 15 but came off the bench for hometown club Ipswich Town midway through extra-time, with the tie still finely balanced at Portman Road following a 2-2 first-leg draw at St Mary’s.
A 16-year-old Lallana came on a minute later, but Upson broke the hearts of the Saints youngsters when he fired home the 118th-minute winner from 20 yards.
“I was just a young lad called into the squad at the last minute because Owen Garvan was injured,” he recalls, ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie.
"I’d been at school on the morning of the game but we beat a great team, Gareth Bale had been on the bench in the first leg and Leon Best was established.
“It was the best thing you could win at that point in your career so it was a good achievement, but it didn’t mean as much to me as it did to some of the other lads who had played in every round.
“For a long time after that, it followed me around and even now it often goes in the match-day programme at away games.
“It’s nice in a way, but I hardly remember it, it’s a long time ago now. I’d like to be known for other things, like getting promoted with Yeovil last year, which was a much bigger achievement.”
That Southampton team also included Swansea City’s Nathan Dyer and three Championship players in Martin Cranie (Barnsley), Leon Best (Blackburn) and David McGoldrick who, ironically, is the only player involved that night currently with Ipswich Town.
Midfielder Tim Sparv (SpVgg Greuther Furth) and goalkeeper Andrew McNeil (Livingston) are also playing second-tier football, in Germany and Scotland respectively, while Lloyd James is a regular for League One leaders Leyton Orient.
Defender Craig Richards has played for several non-league sides in Sussex, and is currently with Ryman South leaders Peacehaven & Telscombe.
Centre-back Sean Rudd has retired due to injury, while former Weymouth left-back Kyle Critchell, who had a young Bale as his understudy, is now training to be a teacher following his outstanding recent recovery from sepsis, a life-threatening illness.
Upson has scored 17 goals in 146 appearances for Yeovil since leaving Ipswich in 2010, having been restricted to two first-team appearances as a substitute.
“It was disappointing not to make it at Ipswich but coming to Yeovil was the best thing that could have happened to me,” he said.
Upson’s midfield colleagues that night – Liam Trotter (Millwall), Sammy Moore (AFC Wimbledon) and captain Liam Craig (Hibernian) – are also playing professionally.
So too are forward Danny Haynes (Notts County) and defender Chris Casement (Portadown).
But Crystal Palace midfielder Garvan is the only member of that Ipswich squad to graduate to the Premier League.
“Far more players from that Southampton team have gone on to bigger and better things,” said Upson.
“Lallana’s obviously gone on to have a brilliant career. I played against him in League One, where he was easily the best player.
“He’s deserved his opportunity in the Premier League and should go to the World Cup.”
Upson played against Lallana at St Mary’s in a 3-0 defeat in March 2011, when a Lee Barnard brace and an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal were the difference.
But Saturday’s fourth-round tie will be his first cup match against a Saints team since his FA Youth Cup winner.
“St Mary’s is a great stadium and we should bring a decent following so it will be a big occasion,” he said.