SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE RESERVE DIVISION ONE
LONDON LIONS 13 The 61FC Luton 0
London Lions Reserves pulled off their biggest win of the season against an uncharacteristically ragged 61 FC Luton side, with man-of-the-match Nick Goodman leading the way with a five-goal salvo.
The afternoon started badly for the away team, with several of their players late arriving and they kicked off with only nine on the pitch.
The first 15 minutes were predictably one-way but Lions only had one goal to show for all their possession. The opposition 'keeper saved twice from Myles Beerman - the second a magnificent tip onto the bar from a 20-yard pile driver - and when Ben Lauffer did beat him from distance, the ball again came back off the crossbar but he could not prevent Goodman converting Bern's perfect cross.
But the visitors' problems really started once they had their full complement on the pitch - defending deep to try and counter the threat of Daran Bern and Matt Stock, they allowed Lauffer, Kyle Bentwood and David Soutar too much room in midfield, prompted from full back by Shai Revivo and, especially, Beerman.
The next 20 minutes saw the game settled as a contest. Beerman's cross-shot might have crept over the line, but Goodman made sure, Stock fired into the top corner from the edge of the box and, minutes later, beat two players before squaring for Bern to tap home.
There was still time in the first half for David Soutar to add a fith from close-range after great work by Beerman, then Goodman completed his hat-trick and Bern, put through one on one, gave the 'keeper no chance to send Lions in 7-0 up at the break.
The half time message was not to get bored of doing the right thing - the challenge set was to maintain the standard for the full 90 minutes and Lions did precisely that.
Lampert replaced Bentwood in midfield and Jeremy Julius made his first appearance of the season in place of Bern and was immediately involved, intercepting a weak clearance and playing in Goodman who scored his fourth with aplomb.
Stock converted a penalty after being crudely brought down, Beerman crashed home at the far post and Goodman scored his fifth in some style, curling home from the edge of the box.
The 12th goal was the goal of the game - possibly of the season - after at least 20 consecutive passes across the whole of the playing area, Revivo arrived late in the box from right back to fire home and, in the last few minutes, Lampert's 20-yard strike surprised the 'keeper for pace (he must have thought it was struck much harder!).
Next up for the Reserves is a home tie against AFC Dunstable and, with other results going their way today, the title challenge is still very much on.
Lions Reserves: Jordan Davidson, Myles Beer, Laurence Judah, Frank Hyman, Kyle Bentwood (sub: Ben Lampert), Ben Lauffer, Shai Revivo, David Soutar, Matt Stock, Daran Bern (sub: Jeremy Julius), Nick Goodman
Scorers: Nick Goodman (5), Daran Bern (2), Matt Stock (2), David Soutar, Myles Beer, Shai Revivo, Ben Lampert
Man of the match: Nick Goodman