Lions' FA Vase dream ends at second hurdle

By Danny Caro, September 23, 2013


London Lions run in the FA vase ended at Stotfold following a 2-0 defeat.

The young Lions side worked hard and showed glimpses of promise but the side lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Their misery was compounded with a serious ankle injury to Ricky Engleman which could see him sidelined for over a month.

The visitors started brightly and the sway of the tie could have been different had Ben Ellis taken a good chance 20 minutes into the game, but his placed effort was well saved.

Lions fell behind on 28 minutes. Ben Winters paid the price for getting the wrong side of his player and then hacking him down in the box leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. The spot kick gave Dan Lee no chance and Stotfold were 1-0.

Lions tried hard to fight back and were still very much in the game until lady luck completely deserted them when they lost Ricky Engleman to a serious ankle injury five minutes before half-time.

It was important for the visitors to start hard and fast in second-half. Ben Joseph, Sam Sollosi, Ryan Sellers and Joe Sharpe tried hard to conjure up that little piece of magic to get the team back on an even keel, but everything that was thrown at the Stotfold defence was thwarted.

Lions resolve was finally broken 20 minutes from time. A poor piece of collective defending and then an individual mistake gave Stotfold a 2-0 lead and left Lions with a mountain to climb.

The visitors continued to press right to the final whistle but in truth they never looked like scoring and their journey in the FA Vase came to an end for another season.

Lions manager Tony Gold said: "It was a disappointing result, but I couldn’t fault the lads for effort and for the first 20 minutes I thought we were the better team. Had Ben converted that early chance we created then maybe the result would have had a different outcome, but it’s all ifs and maybes.

"When things are going against you other areas tend to manifest towards the negative and that has been compounded with recent injury to Jake Gottlieb and now to Ricky Engleman.

"From day one we have faced a test of character and that hasn’t changed. Unfortunately, until we get a settled group of players who can offer consistency and quality that test becomes even harder.

"Steve and I can’t pick apart what the lads do because we have a different 11 players every game, so we have to come back Tuesday against Harefield, work hard and start again, that is all we can do."

Last updated: 2:46pm, September 23 2013