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MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
COCKFOSTERS 1 LONDON LIONS 3
Two goals from Adam Bolle inspired the Lions to a memorable victory in the top of the table clash as Cockfosters' winning run came to an end against third place Lions whose finishing and goalkeeper were the difference in the end.
The Lions began brightly and energetically, taking the game to Cockfosters from the off with Josh Kennet surging down the flank, but finding the home defence up to the task of keeping Adam Bolle at bay.
Just as it looked like Cockfosters were getting a foot in the door Kennet surged down the flank and his cross into the middle was headed back to Bolle to turn and volley into the roof of the net.
Going behind woke Cockfosters up and a flurry of attacks followed but the Lions defence and keeper Mario Cenolli held firm until in the 23rd minute. The visitors failed to clear and Anton Lewis struck a rising effort beyond the reach of Cenolli.
The game now was about whether Cockfosters could build on their equaliser and they pressed forward launching wave after wave of attacks, but wither profligate finishing, an unusual occurrence for the reds, who have been scoring goals for fun or the brilliance of Cenolli denied the hosts.
The early second half continued with Cockfosters pressing forward, skipper Richard Morton blazed over and then Cenolli produced a fine double save to deny Butt and Protain when the ball seemed destined for the net.
Lions regained the lead 16 minutes from time as a long ball into the Cockfosters area caused confusion between Gary Ross and Luke Skeete, allowing super-sub Daran Bern to pounce and roll the ball home.
Cockfosters rallied and substitute Bilal Butt tried to level matters up with a low drive that seemed destined for the bottom corner, with the Cockfosters supporters ready to celebrate, but Cenolli dived to his left and pushed the shot behind.
With time almost up and Cockfosters pressing men forward, the counter-attack was always likely to lead to a chance and Bolle ran onto a ball over the top, waited for Ross to commit himself and rolled the ball into the empty net to seal the points for the visitors.
With Harpenden Town not playing today, the top three stay the same but are separated by four points with a further seven points to the fourth place team.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: "Our goalkeeper was the difference today, simple as that. He produced some outstanding saves at critical times. Those saves kept us in the game and enabled us to go and win it.
"It was a good game between two good sides. On the day Cockfosters played very well and certainly deserved something from the game. We weren’t at our best, but the pitch played a part in that and to be fair so did Cockfosters. But we showed we can adapt, dig in and grind out results and that is what we did today.
"Today we showed our intent now the important thing is to keep it going."
Cockfosters: Gary Ross; Luke Skeete; Conor Staples; Jack Cook; Kevin Duncan-Williams; George Tamne (sub: Lorenzo Ferrari 54); Richard Morton (capt), Bilal Butt; Emond Protain; Anton Lewis 40 (sub: Adem Ali 73); Carlvin George (Fabio Valenti 79). Subs not used: Fergus Moore; Alan Bolger.
Lions: Mario Cenolli; Adam Myeroff; Guy Helman; Aron Barnes; Guy Morris (capt); Michael Sacks; Josh Kennet (sub: Andy Glynne); Daniel Stanton; Adam Bolle; Sam Sloma (sub: David Soutar); Ben Ellis (sub: Daran Bern) Subs not used: David Soutar; Danny Berg; Jacob Davidson
Match report by Adam Rynhold