HSCL Prem Div:
London Lions 1 Lemsford 2
Suspensions, injury and player unavailability is starting to take its toll on second-placed Lions as they lost 2-1 at home to Lemsford making it four defeats in their last six games.
With 7 first team regulars unavailable, manager Tony Gold was forced to make two loan signings on Friday night with Michael Sacks and Steve Summers joining, however the latter was forced to withdraw on Saturday morning due to illness.
Lemsford turned up full of confidence and in the end showed just what a strong unit they are but for the first 40 minutes it was Lions, even with all the player absentees, that in fact played some of the best football they have all season.
Lions moved the ball around purposefully and confidently with Alex Levack at the heart of everything good. Sacks slotted in alongside Guy Morris at centre half perfectly as they handled the busy Lemsford forwards with assurance.
With all the good play being generated chances were few and far between and it was no surprise that eventually all three goals were scored from set-pieces.
It was the Lions who deservedly took the lead on 35 minutes thanks to a Gold free kick but that is where the celebrations ended.
Keeper Matt Davis tore his thigh muscle five minutes before half time and literally had to play the whole second-half on one leg.
As the game wore on Lions seemed to tire drastically and Lemsford were starting to turn the tide. They were eventually rewarded for their endeavours on 65 minutes when from a corner with Lions failing to clear their lines and Davis unable to move the Lemsford forward from eight yards bundled the ball home.
Things were to get worse five minutes later when from another needless corner this time from six yards out the Lemsford forward unchallenged headed home.
Levack, who injured his hamstring, Ben Lauffer and Adam Lauffer were all replaced by Danny Cole, Danny Castle and Ben Ellis to try and inject some much needed urgency but the mountain was too high to climb as all the ascendancy was with the away side.
After the game Lions assistant-manager Steve Grenfell said: “This is obviously a very disappointing result given that for the first 30 minutes we played some of the best football we have all season. “Player inconsistency, in terms of availability for match games and training, has played a massive part for the reason behind the inconsistent form of late.
“No team at any level of football can cope with having the amount of players out as we have had the last six weeks. The team loses flow and that important understanding.
“Before Christmas we had on average 25/30 players at training now we are lucky if we get 14. At this level you can’t be complacent or take things for granted, if you do you get found out and we have been found out in the last six weeks especially in the fitness department.
"We now have a monumental game against Codicote next week and it’s down to the players to go there and show what they are about and more importantly to show how much this means to them."
Lions: Matt Davis, Michael Sacks, Guy Morris, Alex Levack (sub: Danny Cole), Ben Lauffer (sub: Danny Castle), Adam Lauffer (sub: Ben Ellis), Ben Lauffer, Tony Gold, Ben Lampert, Dominic Cheniart, Adam Stolerman
Man of the match: Tony Gold