SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
AMERSHAM TOWN 0 LONDON LIONS 1
An injury time strike from Adam Bolle earned promotion-chasing London Lions what could prove to be a priceless three points as they ended Amersham Town's excellent run in the South Midlands League Division One.
If ever there was a game that could go a long way in deciding the league at the season's end, then this could be it.
Darren Yarlett and Steve Grenfell took charge of their second game in four days as London Lions travelled to an in-form Amersham Town side who had won five of their last six league games, with Aron Barnes and Jake Gottlieb missing from the weekend win at Cranfield. Lions were forced to shuffle the pack, a 7.30pm kick off also had an effect with three players not making it to the ground before 7pm resulting in two out the three sitting on the bench.
Lions started off very bright and carried on where they had left off from the weekend by popping the ball around for fun. Sam Sloma and Daniel Stanton were taking charge and starting to dictate play. Chances were being created with Josh Kennet and Daran Bern causing real problems for both Town’s full backs.
Lions went close on numerous occasions but the Amersham’s goalkeeper was in fine form making a string of unbelievable saves, the best coming from a great move involving the lively Sam Sloma and Daniel Stanton.
In the view of the match reporter, the referee was doing everything in his power to ruin a good game by booking players and making strange decisions. Lions should have been awarded what looked a stonewall penalty when Bern was chopped downt in inside the box, but the ref gave a free-kick on the edge; the sight of the Amersham keeper replacing a huge lump of grass inside the box really gave it away, but the ref thought otherwise.
Lions came out for the second half in similar form to the first - creating chances - at times Amersham, who played on the counter, looked extremely dangerous and Mario Cenolli had to be on his guard in the Lions goal.
The game was end to end with Amersham coming back into it and three Lions subs were introduced with David Soutar, Guy Helman and Ben Ellis replacing Bern, Andy Glynne and Adam Myeroff.
It was the 17-year-old Town keeper who was the busiest; in the space of 10 minutes he pulled off what can only be described as three world-class saves - two coming form Ben Ellis and Daniel Stanton strikes which were heading into the corner of the goal. Then, from a resulting corner, Ben Ellis jumped highest and powered a header towards the top right of the net; he was already off celebrating but somehow the keeper clawed the ball from behind him out of the goal - an amazing save.
With 10 minutes remaining this game had a draw written all over it, with Lions playing all night and not scoring, but they visitors kept plugging away with Adam Bolle smashing the crossbar with a few minutes remaining.
Indeed the ref was looking at his watch when Ben Ellis drove down the left, beat his full back and put in a cross for Sam Sloma to strike, the ball travelled at the keeper who spilled it into the path of Bolle to put Lions deservedly 1-0 up in injury time.
The action was not over as with seconds remaining, Lions skipper Guy Morris fouled the Amersham right-winger on the corner of the box. The free-kick was driven in an almighty scramble followed, with Cenolli making an outstanding goalline save to keep Lions in front. From the resulting clearance the ref blew his whistle.
Lions coach Darren Yarlett commented: "Steve and I had our target of six points from the last two games whilst Tony [Gold] is away and playing them both away from home in difficult conditions within four days was a tough ask, but the lads have been tremendous.
"We managed to utilise the squad and make a few changes, but it had no real affect - which shows the strength in depth that this club have.
"Since losing our first league game last month, we have won our last four - scoring 14 and conceding 0 - we have won 11 out of 12 and sit third in the league having played less games then team above us.
"Once again, I must credit the players; the effort they put in is a manager's dream and having that winning mentality inside helps.
"The pleasing thing for the staff is the way we play the game, I know I keep banging on about it but the football is a joy to watch at times.
"We now have a tough home game against Wodson Park on Saturday followed by a massive away game at Cockfosters on November 11.