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SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
KINGS LANGLEY 2 LONDON LIONS 4
London Lions produced arguably one of the comebacks of the season at Kings Langley coming from 2-0 behind on 65 minutes and eventually winning 4-2.
Lions, who had played Kings Langley a week earlier with a virtual reserve team losing 3-0 in the cup, fared better in the first 45 minutes then the supposedly regular first team squad players did in the first 45 minutes of this evening.
Missing virtually their whole midfield, Lions had to shuffle the deck and their cause wasn’t helped by the late arrival of David Souter, meaning a further disruptive change and reluctantly moving Josh Kennet from a wide area into the middle alongside Danny Berg and Sam Sloma.
Missing Craig Ellis, Daniel Stanton, Aron Barnes and Andy Glynne meant the make shift trio were going to have to really step up to the plate.
Lions didn’t start the game well and gradually as the game ticked on their performance deteriorated. They looked like a side that hadn’t played in almost four weeks and with all the forced changes this just added to the torment. Credit must go to the home side who from the first whistle looked hungrier, more committed and had that little extra bite that Lions just couldn’t muster.
To add insult to injury, Lions gifted Kings Langley two of the easiest goals they are likely to score all season leaving the half time reading very uncomfortable at 2-0.
Potential champions at some point in the season show what they are made of. There comes a defining moment which cannot be questioned or rationalised and Lions may well have produced that moment in a quite astounding second-half performance.
Ben Ellis was replaced at half-time by David Souter who slotted straight into the middle of the park with Josh Kennet moving out wide.
For the first 10 minutes nothing had changed, Lions were still on the back foot and sloppy in and out of possession. Lions suffered another blow with Michael Sacks injuring his back and having to come off with young Bradley Lander coming on at right back and with Adam Myeroff moving into centre half.
And then on 65 minutes Lions started the unthinkable, the impossible, the comeback of all comebacks. Talisman and goal scoring machine Adam Bolle broke clear and one on one with the keeper inch perfectly slotted home to give the visitors hope.
Within five minutes Lions were level, once again Bolle firing home for his 33rd goal of the season and turning the game on its head.
The belief was back, the passion was burning and the desire was oozing. On 75 minutes Lions were rewarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Souter asked the referee if he could take it quickly and given the nod produced a stunning shot which flew over the keeper's head straight into the roof of the net. The home side were dumbstruck, while the Lions bench were in dreamland.
The nerves were jangling it was hard to believe what was occurring and on 84 minutes Langley nearly equalised and probably couldn’t believe they didn’t when Guy Morris somehow managed to clear the ball off the goal line.
With two minutes remaining Josh Kennet made certain of victory timing his run to perfection, beating the offside trap he chipped the onrushing keeper from 20 yards to seal a quite remarkable victory, comeback and three very big points.
An exhausted Lions manager Tony Gold summed up his teams comeback saying “Jimmy Greaves's catchphrase 'football is a funny old game' was certainly apt tonight. It’s impossible to sum up the evenings events unless you were here to witness what happened.
“I’ve been involved in many crazy games over the years but this has to be up there with the craziest. The contrast between our first-half performance if I can call it that and our second-half performance was frightening. We addressed it as positively as we could, made the changes I felt were needed and left it down to the players to show a lot of character and sure as hell they delivered with interest.
“Football is an emotional game and it won’t get any more emotional than it did tonight. We were dead and buried at 2-0 down with 65 minutes on the clock or so we thought. The lads need to take great strength from that second half performance and use it effectively over the next intensive four weeks, tonight could arguably be a big moment in our season."
Lions: Mario Cenolli, Danny Berg, Adam Myeroff, Michael Sacks (sub: Bradley Lander), Guy Morris (capt), Josh Kennet, Dean Nyman (sub: Jordan Marks), Ben Ellis (sub: David Souter), Guy Helman, Sam Sloma, Adam Bolle
Goals Bolle (2), Souter, Kennet