HSCL Prem Division:
London Lions 2 Hertford Heath 3
Player inconsistency and unavailability are close to destroying all of Lions’ hard work this season as they suffered another set back at home, losing 3-2 to Hertford Heath.
With so many player changes week in and week out, the side have lost that momentum which they had in abundance prior to Christmas.
A frustrated manager Tony Gold commented: "At this moment in time, at the most crucial part of the season, the players are getting exactly what they deserve. Like with anything in life if you don’t work hard at it and show a little dedication more often then not you won’t get anything back and that is exactly what has happened to us on a football front.
"Player unavailability since Christmas and the dedication to training from the majority of the players has been nothing short of a joke. You could understand if we were mid-table or struggling but we are six points from promotion and I am just at a loss to understand it."
Looking at the remaining four fixtures, it is hard to see where those magical six points are coming from. A tough away game at Park Street next week followed by an equally difficult away trip to Standon then champions Met Police at home and Evergreen away mean Lions will have to do it the hard way.
What was clear to see during Saturday’s defeat was the poor fitness levels of some of the players in the final 25 minutes. When asked about this, Gold said: “Fitness levels have dropped 40 per cent, but if players don’t train and then don’t add a little extra on top during the week what do you expect? It’s not rocket science.”
Having gone a goal down and trailing at the break, Lions took off the ineffective Ben Ellis and moved the petulant Dominique Cheniart up front and after five minutes of the second-half scored two goals in five minutes to turn the game back in their favour with Ben Lampert notching and a screamer from Adam Stolerman doing the damage.
The euphoria lasted precisely 15 minutes as Hertford took advantage of sloppy Lions defending and individual mistakes. Deciding to mess around with the ball in the box after a good save from Lions keeper Rob Abrahams, a Hertford player pounced and after seeing his shot hit the crossbar he read the rebound and followed up by heading the ball home.
The final nail in the coffin came from, yes you’ve guessed it a corner when once again, seemingly not having learnt lessons from Lemsford two weeks prior and unable to challenge and deal with most corners, the Hertford player brushed a weak challenge from Adam Myeroff aside and headed home.
Looking to the game at Park Street next week, Gold concluded: "We have some good players here, but that stands for nothing if it isn’t complemented with hard work and some of these so-called “good players” have stopped working.
"The players and the players alone will now have to show how much this means to them. I have given certain players more then enough time to show what they are about at this level but no more. I need players now who can show fight and show a strong mental attitude and who are capable of getting what is now a difficult job done."
Lions: Rob Abrahams, Tony Gold, Danny Berg, Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris, Rob Glass, Ben Lauffer, Lampert, Dominic Cheniart (sub: Eddie Manson), Adam Stolerman, Ben Ellis (sub: Andy Glynne