MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
LONDON LIONS 4 CRAWLEY GREEN 0
London Lions produced a sparkling team performance to beat fourth placed Crawley Green 4-0 and give their title hopes a massive boost.
Crawley Green had won seven of their last eight games rising from mid-table to fourth and arrived at Rowley Lane on the back of a 5-0 win over Wodson Park.
Lions welcomed back from injury long absentees Craig Ellis and Josh Kennet with the latter putting in a man-of-the-match performance.
The Lions started strongly and it was the first time in six weeks where they mirrored the side that had started the season so impressively.
Crawley Green were at times over-zealous in the tackle, arriving late on several occasions with Ben Ellis, Adam Bolle and Josh Kennet all getting smashed late.
After a sustained period of pressure in the visitors half, Lions deservedly took the lead from an unlikely source. Not known for prowess in front of goal, Guy Morris rolled back the years with a finish from his right foot just inside the Crawley box which actually looked like more of a scuff. Regardless of the intent, the great news for Lions was that in resulted in them taking the lead.
Lions then should have had a stonewall penalty after Kennet was scathed down in the penalty area, but the referee somehow didn’t feel the same sentiment as he waved play on to the astonishment of all 22 players and the spectators watching.
Lions continued to ebb and flow and some of the football played was a joy to watch. Ten minutes before half-time the referee was left no choice but this time to award Lions a penalty after a blatant foul saw Adam Bolle taken out in the box after a fantastic run. Sam Sloma placed the ball on the spot and calmly tucked his 15th goal of the season away.
As half-time arrived it was without doubt the most accomplished Lions had looked for some time but it was important they stayed focused and disciplined.
The home side were certainly in the mood and carried on where they left off in the first-half with some fantastic football being played with Stanton, Sloma, Craig Ellis and his brother Ben all contributing to some great attacking play.
On the hour mark Lions were rewarded a second spot kick for deliberate hand ball and once again Sloma tucked the dead ball away making it 16 for the season so far.
Jordan Marks, Adam Myeroff and Andy Glynne were all introduced replacing Craig Ellis, Danny Berg and star man Kennet.
With 10 minutes remaining and Crawley pushing for a goal Lions broke quickly and Andy Glynne wrapped up proceedings with an exquisite finish.
It was pleasing to see Lions play well and get a great result. Now lying second in the league they entertain Langford on Wednesday knowing a win will put them top.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: “We found that spark today which we seemed to have lost in recent weeks. Everything felt right today from the team selection, the warm up and the eventual performance. When the lads play like they did today I would fancy us against any side in our league, at times we were exceptional.
“It was great to have Craig back fit and well his presence makes such a difference and the same can be said about Josh Kennet, at times today he was unplayable.
“We will bottle that performance up and ensure we bring it with us on Wednesday against Langford knowing a win will see us go top of the league, the players don’t need any other incentive."
Lions: Mario Cenolli, Danny Berg, Guy Morris, Michael Sacks, Craig Ellis (sub: Jordan Marks), Guy Helman, Danny Berg (sub: Adam Myeroff), Josh Kennet (sub: Andy Glynne), Sam Sloma, Daniel Stanton, Adam Bolle
Scorers: Guy Morris, Sam Sloma (2), Andy Glynne
Man-of-the-match: Josh Kennet