FA CUP FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND
LONDON LIONS 2 AFC DUNSTABLE 4
London Lions' run in the FA Cup came to an end on Sunday losing for the first time this season in a spirited game against AFC Dunstable 4-2.
Lions will have no complaints about the result, on the day AFC Dunstable punished the home side for their mistakes. The away sides front two caused problems all afternoon but they were helped by at times lapses in concentration at the heart of the Lions back four.
On a glorious day the 180 or so spectators witnessed what at times was a terrific game of football played in a competitive spirit.
Both sides started cagily prodding and probing trying to get the upper hand but neither keeper had much to do in the first 20 minutes.
Then the game really came alive. Lions had the first chance of the match as Adam Bolle worked some space in the box. Dragging the ball past the onrushing keeper he shot towards the empty net. Unfortunately for Lions he didn’t get the connection needed to force the ball home and a covering defender managed to get back and clear off the line.
Then the visitors hit the crossbar from a free-kick with Mario Cenolli well beaten but thankful for the little bit of luck. With the game etching towards half-time AFC Dunstable once again crashed the crossbar this time from a shot just inside the 18-yard box.
Having ridden a little bit of luck at that stage, the Lions surged in front. Josh Kennet finished off a terrific passing move involving several players.
But their celebrations were cut short on the stroke of half time when AFC Dunstable, who had been threatening to score, finally delivered. Allowed too much time to receive the ball on the edge of the box, a quick one-two was played around the Lions defence and with time and space the no. 7 ghosted in and slotted home.
The game was very much still in the balance but arguably the Lions were a little fortunate to be level going in at the break.
The higher up the football chain you go the more your mistakes are punished. In the second half Lions paid the penalty for three individual mistakes which in the end were to prove costly.
AFC Dunstable took the lead when poor defending allowed the visitors no. 9 to break free and lob the ball over an exposed Cenolli in goal.
With Lions seemingly unable to step it up and break back into the game changes were needed. Sam Sloma, who arrived back from holiday 30 minutes before kick-off, replaced the hard working Daniel Stanton and Ben Ellis took over from Daran Bern.
Within 10 minutes of the change and Lions having their best spell of the game, Sloma drew Lions level with a stunning individual effort.
With the impetus in their favour, Lions looked a good bet to go on and win the game. However, celebrations were halted almost instantly when 10 seconds after the restart AFC Dunstable were back in front. Literally from kick-off they burst straight through the middle and with Michael Sacks and Adam Myeroff at sixes and sevens, a deflected shot saw Cenolli go one way and the ball the other, that moment killed the Lions revival dead.
With 10 minutes remaining Lions still created a few more chances to get back into the game but were very sloppy when well positioned, highlighted when three free-kicks were carelessly wasted.
In the dying moments AFC Dunstable sealed victory with another defensive lapse contributing to their cause ensuring their safe passage through to the 2nd round qualifying.
Lions manager Tony Gold summed up his teams first experience of playing in the FA Cup and his side's performance on the day. "The shame of today is that we didn’t do ourselves justice defensively. It was frustrating because we have actually been defending very well thus far, but the old adage is true, against better sides mistakes more often than not are punished. Today we just make too many individual mistakes.
"I’m immensely proud of the players and I hope they are too. They have etched forever a little bit of history, being the first-ever all Jewish side to compete in the FA Cup that is something to look back on with enormous satisfaction.
"These are the sides we want to be playing week in and week out, continuously testing ourselves, so we know what we have to do moving forward if we want to realise that dream.
"I said before the game we will found out a lot about ourselves today and we did."
Lions: Mario Cenolli, Guy Helman, Adam Myeroff, Michael Sacks, Aron Barnes, Craig Ellis, Daniel Stanton (sub: Sam Sloma), Andy Glynne, Josh Kennet, Daran Bern (sub: Ben Ellis), Adam Bolle
Scorers: Josh Kennet, Sam Sloma
Man of the match: Andy Glynne