Ireland's Shane Long the hero as Southampton reach first League Cup final since 1979

Ireland's Shane Long the hero as Southampton reach first League Cup final since 1979

IRISH striker Shane Long was the hero for Southampton after scoring a last-minute winner to down Liverpool and take the Saints to a League Cup final at Wembley for the first time in 38 years.

The 30-year-old kept a cool head when played through by Josh Sims' effective counter attack to slot home a composed finish that sent Southampton’s travelling fans into delirium.

Following the dramatic finish, Long tweeted his reaction saying "What a feeling that was, in front of our own fans...epic."

Southampton had entered Anfield with a one goal lead on aggregate in the EFL Cup semi-final and faced stiff competition from a strong Liverpool side, who at one point had goal-line technology deny them an equaliser on aggregate.

But the tight unit played their game plan to perfection with Long’s last-minute strike representing a reward for their solid defensive performance on Wednesday night.

Long was also the centre of a controversial hand ball claim just six minutes before his decisive goal, which would have resulted in Liverpool being awarded a potentially game changing penalty.

However, referee Martin Atkinson judged that the ball had not Long’s arm despite desperate cries from both Liverpool fans and players.

The Saint’s and Northern Ireland captain Stephen Davis also played a prominent role in the game, telling Southampton’s media channel that “it was a great effort from everyone involved but the only way we’ll enjoy the day is if we win some silverware."

Long and co now travel to Wembley on February 26 where they will face Manchester United.