FORMER Southend United boss Steve Tilson says beating Lincoln City in the League Two play-off final remains ‘one of the best days of his life.’

Fifteen years ago today, the Shrimpers saw off the Imps 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

And Tilson still looks back on the victory with huge fondness.

“It was fantastic and one of the best days of my life,” said Tilson.

“The players had worked so hard all season and to see their reaction after the game was fantastic.”

Blues missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season after being held to a 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town.

And Tilson remembers feeling the tension in the build up to the final.

“I remember being really nervous, even more so because we had already lost twice before at the Millennium Stadium,” said Tilson, who spent seven years in charge of the Shrimpers.

“Out of the three games that was by far the biggest one because it got us promotion which was more important than winning the LDV.”

Blues were unable to make a breakthrough during the 90 minutes but finally went in front in the first half of extra time with top scorer Freddy Eastwood firing home from close range.

But it was Duncan Jupp who sealed the victory with a rare effort in the closing stages.

“Freddy put us in front but I’ll never forget Juppy doing that 100 metre run to score,” said Tilson.

“Even to this day he will tell you it was one of the best times of his life but I don’t think he knew what he was doing after he scored.

“He was running all over the place.

“I’m surprised he didn’t go into the crowd but I can remember it all like it was yesterday because it’s a fantastic memory!

“As a one off day I think you’d compare it to beating Man United.”

And Tilson was thrilled to win the tie without the need of penalties.

“I was hoping it didn’t go to penalties because I think penalties in a play-off final are a farce,” said Tilson.

“I know Southend won that way in 2015 but for a team to lose on penalties after playing a whole season is tough to swallow so it was good we avoided that.”

However, there were not too many celebrations the night after the final.

“We travelled back and I think everyone was drained by the time we got home,” said Tilson.

“It’s a long journey back from Cardiff and by the time we got back there wasn’t much still open!”