GARSTON VETS COUNTY CUP
LONDON MACCABI LIONS 5 WHITEWEBBS 0
London Maccabi Lions progressed in the County Cup with a 5-0 demolition of Whitewebbs.
While some teams are finding the going tough this season, one group within the London Lions family that is positively flourishing is the Masters side who compete in the ultra competitive Garston Vets League.
Under the watchful eye of Paul Wise since its inception, the side slowly began to evolve, improving each year in terms of quality of personnel and results. Building on Wise's great work and his own experiences in leading the over-35's to Israel, Dan Jacobs has taken over the reigns alongside club legend Dan Reuben, with the pair determined to make the side more competitive each and every week.
With the core of last season's squad bolstered by the likes of Paul Miller, Hadley Silver, Matt Kleinman, Adam Kaye, Marc Greene and Paul Lenchner, the early season signs have been promising. Up against teams who generally boast several players who used to earn their livings playing football, it is a tough task.
So far they've faced players who have graced clubs from Charlton to Wycombe to Marseille to Birmingham, along with names like Alan Kernaghan, Junior Lewis, Darren Currie and Jimmy Carter. Results have been really promising, and although they have suffered defeats to last season's top two, the management have taken great heart in the fact that both were great games in which the side competed to the end, losing only narrowly each time.
Last Sunday saw the side venture into the County Cup. With Miller and Silver away, Greene injured and Buxton suspended, plus only four under 40 allowed, their resources were stretched, but is was still a strong and fit squad that took the field against a Whitewebbs made up of a couple of ex-Spurs players as well as a group against whom many of our boys would have competed back in Herts County days.
The blustery conditions didn't help what transpired to be a very flat first half. Although dominating possession, Lions failed to make too many telling openings, far too often thwarted by the linesman's flag. The best chance fell to Adam Kaye, who latching on to Piler's through ball held off the covering defender but drilled his shot inches wide of the far post.
Reminded of their methods of play at the interval, it was thankfully an altogether different Lions performance in the second half. Brad Lazarus' acrobatic effort from Radford's low cross flew just over from the first attack of the half, but within 10 minutes the net was bulging following a fabulous team goal.
Matty Kleinman fed Kaye inside left, he drove across goal to Lazarus who's pinpoint return pass across the six-yard box was gleefully smashed home at the far post by Piler.
Whitewebbs tried to respond, but Myers, Miller, Rayner, Reuben and Henry ensured Jacobs had the quietest of mornings. But at 1-0 the job wasn't done, so Lions pressed hard for a second. It duly arrived when Lazarus was again provider, this time freeing Lenchner who poked the ball expertly under the on-rushing keeper.
The visitors sensed the game was up, but any lingering doubts were removed barely two minutes later when Lenchner robbed the centre half, rounded the keeper and finished well from an ever tightening angle.
It became now a question of how many. Kaye passed up a couple of decent chances to get himself on the scoresheet, but a fourth arrived, this time Lenchner passing up a shooting chance of his own to tee up his partner in crime Lazarus who curled home into the far corner.
The hat-trick though the Lions front man deserved duly arrived when Reuben and Kleinman combined to spring the hosts forwards. The ball found its way to Lenchner who this time needed no second invitation to crash home an unstoppable strike from 20 yards that had the keeper beaten the moment it left his foot.
5-0 can only be a comprehensive win, although the scoreline fails to reflect the hard work and energy Lions had to put in to create the platform for the late goals that put the gloss on another excellent team display, especially in the second half, and they'll be hoping to take this form forwards into their upcoming league and cup fixtures.
LML Vets: Dan Jacobs, Andy Miller, Dan Piler, Andy Myers, Jon Rayner, Dan Reuben, Matt Kleinman, Craig Henry, Paul Lenchner, Adam Kaye, Bradley Lazarus, Max Radford
Goals: Piler (50), Lenchner (65, 68, 79), Lazarus (71)