MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE RESERVE DIVISION ONE
HOLMER GREEN 0 LONDON LIONS RESERVES 9
Matt Stock and Nick Goodman were in top form as London Lions Reserves hit the jackpot with a thumping 9-0 success at Holmer Green.
Making light of a difficult pitch and spirited opponents, particularly early on, the Lions ran rampant at Holmer Green on Saturday, notching nine unanswered goals on their way to secure the three league points on offer.
With the 1st Team in a top of the table clash, manager Tony Gold opted to take a full 16-man squad meaning the usual round of changes from the Lions side that won well at Luton the week before. With Cohen injured, Kyte and Green not available and Barnes and Bern with the first Team Lions were delighted to welcome back Bentwood, Jake Gottleib, George Fierstone and MAtt Stock, with Ollie Craig and new signing from the Sunday section Jonny Cutter making up the squad.
The heavy rain overnight left the pitch pretty heavy, but credit to the groundsmen, who had obviously worked hard in the week to ensure that overall the surface was perfectly playable.
With a new manager in place, and on the back of a win against reigning champions Kings Langley, the hosts were out in determined fashion. The opening five minutes saw some less than composed Lions defending, but once settled down the back four excelled once again.
Down their right Lions threatened first - great link-up between Laurence Judah and Shai Revivo saw the latter find the run of Goodman into the box where he squared for Stock to finish expertly with his right foot at the far post.
Not to be outdone the left, boasting the pace and trickery of Stock and Craig combined to great effect, Stock eventually bursting through only to see his shot parried, Goodman though on hand to rifle home the rebound.
It was now one-way traffic as Lions really dominated in all areas with some crisp and incisive passing. Fierstone freed Stock with a beauty of a pass, the Lions forward drilling the ball home despite the covering defender's best efforts.
It should have been four when Revivo's shot was saved, much to the dismay of the unmarked Fierstone who'd have had a tap in. But Fierstone wasn't to be denied for long, his well placed shot from the edge of the box nestled into the corner.
Cutter came on for his debut at half time, doing well, and was soon in the action, beating a man and feeding Gottlieb who burst through but got caught in two minds allowing the keeper to save. Lions were denied by several more good stops by the home keeper, Bentwood starting and almost finishing a fantastic team move as he came into midfield with Smith on at centre back.
Holmer Green were pressing high as they sought a way back in, and to their credit never gave up - a number of balls into the box had Lions defence at full stretch to ensure they kept their clean sheet. Keeper Danny Berliner made a couple of smart saves himself to do his part.
In truth though it was all Lions. Oli Craig added a fifth via his head from a corner before Fierstone's stunning ball sent Stock away to outpace his man before slamming home a fine finish for his hat-trick and Lions' sixth.
Goodman was then played in and rolled home a seventh, Stock's trickery and fine strike gave him a fourth and Lions an eighth before the Goodman completed his hat-trick and the scoring, tapping home from close range after Fierstone's deflected free kick came back off the bar.
Tougher tests lie ahead, but was still good to see Lions keep pressing to the end and to see them finally take the chances presented to them.
Lions Reserves: Danny Berliner, Shai Revivo (sub: Jonny Cutter), Kyle Bentwood, Frank Hyman, Jake Gottlieb (sub: Nick Smith), Laurence Judah, Ben Lauffer, George Fierstone, Oli Craig, Matt Stock, Nick Goodman
Scorers: Matt Stock 4, Nick Goodman 3, George Fierstone, Oli Craig