SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
LONDON LIONS 2 BERKHAMPSTEAD 2
London Lions claimed their first point under new boss Andy Landesberg with a gutsy performance against Berkhampstead at Hemel Hempstead FC.
In front of a big crowd on a cold night the fans were warmed by some great football and spectacular goals.
In a first half that was dominated by defences, Dan Lee in the Lions goal was relatively quiet but needed to be at his best to push a good effort past the post midway through the half.
The Lions backline was marshalled superbly by skipper Guy Morris along with Frank Hyman rolling back the years at the centre and Ricky Engelman returning at right back after an eight week absence and Laurence Judah outstanding in an unusual left-back position.
With Max Kyte, James Belchak and Sam Reeves controlling the centre of midfield and supported by the fleet footed and hardworking Dan Green and Sam Shooter, Lions managed to create a handful of opportunities for striker Jonny Haik. The best move of the game came just before half time with Reeves and Shooter linked well only for Shooter to be denied by a fine save from the Berko keeper.
Inspired by manager Andy Landesberg’s half-time teamtalk, there was a new belief in the Lions and even though Berko went one up after 55 minutes.
Lions' heads did not drop and they continued to dominate the middle of the park. The hosts drew level in spectacular fashion when a dipping 35-yard half volley from 16-year-old Belchak flew into the net after 60 minutes.
Haik put the Lions ahead with a solo effort starting just inside the Berko half and finishing with a 25- yard screamer.
Jess Alexander replaced the outstanding Dan Green soon after and fitted into the role seamlessly.
Dan Lee pulled off two more great saves and the Lions were twice saved by the woodwork.
Berko continued to rally hard and with 10 to go scored a fine equaliser themselves.
Lions' resolve to get something from the game was clear and when the referee blew for time after five long minutes of injury time a draw was a pleasing and fair result.
The end of a poor run and hopefully the start of a new and good one for Lions.