MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE RESERVE DIVISION ONE
London Lions Reserves 0 Hadley FC 3
League leaders Hadley extended their 100 per cent record with a fairly comprehensive victory over a Lions side who chose the wrong day and wrong opponents to put in a below-par performance.
The home side may well point to a number of missing players - skipper Goodman along with Frank Hyman, Lauffer, Myles Beerman, Liron Mannie, Newman and a host of others were unavailable. And their cause was further hampered when George Fierstone failed to make it past the warm-up.
Yet the XI that took to the pitch still had plenty of quality, but after a bright start were guilty of a some elementary errors that allowed Hadley to gain a control of the game that they never relinquished.
Jonny Ellis was partnered at the heart of defence by debutant Nicky Smith who can look back at his own performance with a great deal of pride. Along with Judah and Klein, they were stretched to contain Hadley, but having done so without any real alarm to Danny Berliner they will be hugely disappointed with the goals they conceded.
On 20 minutes Ellis for once lost out in a tackle midway inside the Lions half. The ball was slipped in but Klein seemed to get there first before a nudge sent him off balance. He did though manage to get in the sliding tackle, only for the ball to fall invitingly to the support player who squared for the simplest of tap-ins.
Before the half hour the lead was doubled, and again Lions will be furious in the manner it was conceded. A deep corner should have been headed clear but David Soutar was only able to glance on to a man free on the edge of the six-yard box. He simply took a touch, chipped it across where a free header was never going to be missed.
Danny Berg and TJ Keterman tried to inject some life into proceedings while the front three ran hard, but in truth the ball failed to stick up top, Hadley's keeper only having to work hard on his tan.
Injuries to Judah and Green saw Schwarz and Gold introduced for the second period, with Keterman moving up front and Klein to right back.
Having received some harsh words at the interval the hosts came out with some renewed vigour. Berg prompted Lions forward with Jordan Marks and Keterman driving at Hadley at every opportunity, the hosts doing far more in possession than they had in the opening 45.
A goal to get back in the game was the order of the day, but try as they might clear-cut chances were few and far between.
At the other end Lions worked harder and made fewer mistakes, Ellis and Smith were excellent and brave while Klein sensed the danger on several occasions to be on hand covering round to keep Lions in it.
On the odd occasion the back line was breached Berliner was on hand, saving twice in one-on-one and pulling off a stunning one-hander to ensure Lions retained hope.
Lions never gave up, but in truth never really looked like getting back in the game. It was though a little harsh on their second half performance to concede a third goal on the break in virtually the last minute.
In the last two weeks Lions have been taught the harsh realities of life in this division. When chances come they need to be taken at one end while at the other mistakes will often be punished. If they are to progress this season these are lessons that need to be learned and learned quickly, especially with last year's champions being next up at Rowley next Saturday.
Lions Reserves: Danny Berliner, Danny Berg, Adam Klein, Laurence Judah (sub: Tony Gold), Nick Smith, Jonny Ellis, David Soutar, Dan Green (sub: Aviel Schwarz), Shai Revivo, Nick Goodman, Jordan Marks, TJ Keterman
Man of the match: Danny Berliner