Lions on the cusp of historic promotion

SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
CHESHAM UNITED RESERVES 1 LONDON LIONS 3

London Lions produced a scintillating performance at Chesham United to pull three points clear at the top of the Spartan South Midlands League Division One.

A win against Cranfield United on Thursday will guarantee promotion to the Premier Division, cementing this group of player’s names in Lions history forever.

Missing several influential players through unavailability, Lions manager Tony Gold reverted to a 4-4-2 formation. Goalkeeper Mario Cenolli was given a welcome rest as Maccabiah-bound Tomer Sherman deputised between the sticks. Paul Hakim partnered Adam Bolle up front following their blossoming partnership in the Welwyn Garden City game a week before.

It took Lions 20 minutes to get going in a game that was played at a high tempo. With a foothold finally established in the game, Lions deservedly took the lead. The Chesham keeper had a part to play in the goal as his rushed clearance fell invitingly to Hakim whose lofted shot looped into the goal.

Lions were still guilty of giving away possession cheaply and that sloppiness led to Chesham’s equaliser just before half-time. Conceding a needless free-kick on the right side of the 18-yard box, the resultant delivery was defended poorly and the ball was lashed home from six yards.

The following 45 minutes were arguably one of the best in what has been a fantastic season for the Lions thus far. For long periods Lions popped the ball around with Chesham at times chasing shadows.

The visitors regained the lead on 65 minutes. Josh Kennet, who is playing at the top of his game, mustered the space and created a bit of magic to break clear and finish superbly to put Lions 2-1 up.

Goal of the night came courtesy of Daniel Stanton and it was this goal that cemented all three points. A terrific move involving several players and eight passes, ended with Stanton finishing with aplomb.

Andy Glynne replaced the industrious Ben Ellis for the final 25 minutes as Lions kept the ball well to see out the game.

Lions coach Darren Yarlett said: "We were on fire in the second half and played some terrific football which is amazing given the amount of the games we have had to play recently. But that is testament to the quality of the players we have here. They have been mentally and physically strong - two areas that have improved unquestionably over the last two years."

Lions manager Tony Gold said: "Five games left and one win away from promotion. The enormity of what these players could achieve cannot be underestimated.

"They have answered every question that has been thrown at them in the last two weeks with so many games in a short space of time and have done so with quality and grace.

"They are a special group and one Jewish football may never see the like of again.

"Now they must remain focused and go and finish what they set out to do all the way back at our first pre-season back in July."

Lions: Tomer Sherman, Jake Gottlieb, Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris (capt), David Soutar, Dan Stanton, Sam Sloma, Josh Kennet, Ben Ellis (sub: Andy Glynne), Paul Hakim, Adam Bolle

Goals: Paul Hakim, Josh Kennet, Dan Stanton

Man of the match: Adam Myeroff

Last updated: 11:41am, April 17 2013