FA VASE FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND
Welwyn Garden City 0 London Lions 3
Strikes from David Souter, Ben Ellis and TJ Keterman helped London Lions maintain their perfect start to the season with a comfortable victory at WGC in the FA Vase.
Having gone out on a whimper in last season’s FA Vase, Lions this time round ensured a safe passage.
Lions manager Tony Gold took the opportunity to rest several regulars following a hectic schedule which was starting to take its toll on the players. This gave a number of players who have been on the periphery a chance to shine.
Souter and Guy Helman made their first appearances of the season with Michael Sacks, Craig Ellis, Jake Gottlieb, Daniel Stanton and Andy Glynne all rested, although the latter two made up the Lions bench.
The pitch at Welwyn hadn’t improved since Lions last visit almost three weeks ago, when the Rowley Lane outfit left with a 3-0 win and three league points.
Coincidentally the result this time round was the same and the state of the pitch contributed considerably to a scatty performance.
The FA Vase in its own right is still a prestigious competition with the final held at Wembley and Lions who did not do themselves justice in the tournament last year wanted to make sure this time round they rectified that blip.
Following a scrappy opening 15 minutes it was clear there was only one side trying to play football and that was the Lions. Matt Davis in the Lions goal won’t have a more comfortable 90 minutes all season as for the majority of the game he was a virtual spectator.
Ninety percent of the game was played in the Welwyn half and on 25 minutes the visitors took the lead. Having forced a corner a fine delivery from Daran Bern caused panic in the home side’s penalty area. A scramble followed and with Welwyn unable to clear the danger the ball fell invitingly to TJ Keterman who from six yards bundled the ball home.
As a spectacle this wasn’t for the football purists. The game continued to be scrappy but with Lions still trying to play their passing game. Six minutes before half-time Lions doubled their lead.
Goal-scorer Keterman found some rare space and delivered a teasing cross which Ben Ellis was first to react to expertly heading the ball into the roof of the net.
The second half carried on in much the same vein, bitty, scrappy and untidy. On 60 minutes the game was ended as a contest when David Souter unleashed a 30-yard pile driver which flew past the Welwyn keeper and nestled into the back of the net.
The game then fizzled out and Lions booked their place in the next round for the first time in its history.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: "We made a host of changes today to give several players a much-needed rest and to freshen things up.
"With the changes and a shocking pitch to contend with we lost a little fluency, however we always tried to play football which was pleasing.
"The key is to keep producing clean sheets and focusing on the next 50 games. What’s done is done."
Lions: Matt Davis, Ricky Engleman (sub : Tony Gold), Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris (capt) (sub: Daniel Stanton), David Souter, Kyle Bentwood, Guy Helman, Daran Bern, Adam Bolle, Ben Ellis, TJ Keterman (sub: Andy Glynne)
Goals: TJ Keterman 25, Ben Ellis 39, David Souter 60