SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
LONDON LIONS 4 KENTISH TOWN 0
Newly-crowned champions London Lions's last game of the season at Hemel Hempstead ended with a 4-0 win over Kentish Town.
This was Lions's penultimate game of the season before Saturday’s finale at Rowley Lane where Lions will be presented with the Spartan South Midlands Division One Championship Trophy.
On a pleasant evening at Hemel, Lions lined up with some much-needed fresh freshness. Josh Kennet, Adam Bolle, Jake Gottlieb, Sam Sloma and Michael Sacks were all given the night off.
Paul Hakim partnered Dean Nyman up top, with young Bradley Lander and Ricky Engleman being deployed to the left and right sides of midfield. Andy Glynne and David Soutar played centrally with Guy Morris, Craig Ellis, Tony Gold and Danny Berg, back from injury, making up the back four. Mario Cenolli kept goal.
Kentish Town turned up with a young side which was full of running and heart. The first 25 minutes were competitive and tight although the home side controlled the tempo of the game. Then after a sustained period of pressure Lions surged in front. Morris
The visitors had a couple of fleeting chances as the game ebbed towards half-time but nothing that was to trouble Cenolli in the Lions goal.
Young Lander and Engleman were constant outlets out wide and the former runs into the visitors’ box were causing problems. Lions eventually doubled their lead at the end of the half. A terrific through ball from David Soutar released the super charged Nyman and his run into the box and deadly finish ripped into the back of the net.
An injury to Berg meant a change at half-time with Ben Ellis moving to wide left and Lander to wide right.
From the restart Lions moved up a gear and started to play the football they have become well known for. Several chances went begging in a 15-minute period. Glynne hit the cross bar from distance, Hakim saw a rasping shot sail over the bar and Gold’s 18-yard free-kick smashed against crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Then on 70 minutes Lions went 3-0 up. Lander was on hand to head home from close range following a scramble in the visitors box. That goal finished off a great couple of weeks for the 18-year old who the previous Sunday scored the comeback goal in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final at Wingate & Finchley.
Soutar then a had great chance to get on the scoresheet, but his header from Gold’s cross was headed wide. Lander, Glynne and Ben Ellis all add chances to increase their three goal advantage, but it was the calmness and clinical finishing of Hakim that made it 4-0.
Bringing the ball down superbly in the box and under pressure he impudently dinked the ball over the keeper and into the goal finishing off a great night and setting up what will be a fantastic finale on Saturday.
Lions assistant-manager Steve Grenfell said: “Tony has eluded to the fact on many occasions in the last few weeks, but this season really has been absolutely fantastic.
“I’m delighted for everyone involved with the club - it was obviously a tremendous feeling last weekend at Buckingham knowing we had the won league. We have been there and there about since December with questions being asked all the time about whether the players have the staying power, etc. Well look at the league table and there is your answer.
“I’m delighted and pleased the players have shown the mental strength and character to have that consistency to just keep going and going, being relentless.
“That’s what we have been this last month – relentless. The lads should be very proud of their achievement and enjoy the moment."