MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS RESERVE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
LONDON LIONS 2 RISBOROUGH RANGERS 0
London Lions Reserves opened their First Division campaign with a high quality performance against recent rivals Risborough.
Second half goals from Jon Ellis and Shai Revivo earned Lions maximum points but it was the midfield three who really caught the eye - Liron Mannie and George Fierstone a constant threat and Myles Beerman earning the man of the match award for a near-faultless performance.
The pitch at Rowley was it's usual excellent self, with a heavy shower just before kick-off ensuring it was nice and slick, ideal for zipping passes on.
The hosts started brightly, built on a really solid foundation with Frank Hyman, Ellis and the Newman brothers settling together quickly. Ellis took a heavy whack resulting in a dead leg early on, but he manfully continued on, his power key. But it was a bit of guile from him that led to the first real sight of goal, a quick pass from a free kick freeing George Fierstone who's curling effort beat the keeper but also the far post.
In teenagers Fierstone and Liron Mannie, Lions had plenty of creativity in the midfield engine room. With Myles Beerman on top form it allowed the youngsters to really play their football. With the pace of Jamie Bernstein and Marks out wide Nick Goodman was assured of service. The skipper was leading by example, working hard through the middle and forcing one fine save, although after a great run and cross by Marks he was disappointed not to open his account as he stabbed the ball wide at the far post. More fine work from Marks soon set up Bernstein, but his clever flick was again well saved.
Lions were on top, but Risborough as we know are a tough nut to crack and had moments of their own. The back four stood up well though, although one mistake saw the Rangers no. 9 clean through, Danny Berliner though with an excellent save to ensure parity at the break.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Beerman continued to give Lions the platform from which to play, and play they did. But the goal wouldn't come; the closest they came was a Mannie piledriver that brought a spectacular save from the visitor's keeper.
Lions continued to press, and with Revivo on at half time to replace the tiring Bernstein, they carried a little more threat in the opposition box - the substitute arriving late only to see his shot deflected wide for a corner. While the kick itself was cleared it fell to Josh Newman. As Risborough pushed out he delivered a peach of a ball in that Ellis beat the keeper to, his header nestling in the bottom corner to give Lions a deserved lead.
Green replaced Goodman up front as Lions introduced fresh legs and moments later it reaped reward. Jordan Marks slid Green in, a burst of pace saw him nip the ball round the keeper before steadying himself and squaring across goal where Revivo was on hand to tuck the ball home.
Ellis couldn't carry on, Aviel Schwarz coming on at left-back with Josh Newman slotting in at centre half. Clean through on goal Fierstone was then crudely upended - the free kick from Schwarz was wasted but worse for Lions saw Fierstone unable to continue.
Ten minutes with 10 men it was to be then, but a great collective defensive effort kept Risborough at arms length. They did have one great chance to make it an interesting closing period but Berliner pulled off a fabulous trademark save and Lions saw the game out without further alarm.
St Margaretsbury, who's 1st Team play in the Premier Division, visit the Lane next Saturday in what will be another really tough test, but that's what this team want and is reward for last year's promotion.
Lions Reserves: Danny Berliner, Myles Beerman, Jonny Ellis (sub: Aviel Schwarz) David Newman, Frank Hyman, Josh Newman, Nick Goodman (sub: Shai Revivo), George Fierstone, Jamie Bernstein (sub: Dan Green), Jordan Marks, Liron Mannie
Man of the match: Myles Beerman