Lions need one win to take the Championship
London Lions 2-1 Wormley Rovers
James Gershfield is denied by the Rovers keeper and (right) Matt Davis and Craig Ellis contest a high ball
The seeds of success were sewn long before London Lions' victory over leaders Wormley Rovers, but James Gershfield's decisive strike made the celebrations that followed feel all the more real.
The win left Tony Gold's men needing one win from their last two games as they closed in on winning the Herts Senior County League Premier Division for the first time.
Adam Stolerman and Gershfield were on target as the Lions moved to within a point of Rovers after a nail-biting contest at Rowley Lane. It put the Lions within touching distance of reaching the South Midlands League Division One.
In what Gold described as "arguably their biggest game in their history", the Lions ran out worthy winners against a Rovers team for whom victory would have clinched the title. A tension-filled afternoon saw the hosts dealt an early blow when left-back Guy Helman pulled his hamstring.
A reshuffle was needed and Gold brought on Ben Lauffer and moved Craig Ellis back into the middle with Danny Cole switching to left-back and Adam Myeroff to right-back.
The change did not affect them as Lions drew first blood with top-scorer Adam Stolerman in the right place at the right time to open the scoring with a smart far post finish.
Gershfield spurned a chance to double the lead. After cutting in from the right, he found himself one-on-one with the keeper who got a vital touch on the ball which was hacked clear.
Rovers came into the match as the half wore on and a misunderstanding in the Lions box gifted them an equaliser with the ball looping in on the stroke of half time.
Nerves played a big part in the second half where the Lions had a goal disallowed for offside. The hosts looked the better team and the introduction of Dean Nyman saw them finish strongly. The defining moment saw Gershfield latch on to an exquisite pass from Lee Cash and find the net with an inch-perfect lob. Rovers rallied late on but keeper Matt Davis stood firm to spark celebrations at the final whistle.
The Lions complete their season at Bovingdon tomorrow.
Gold said "If ever a set of lads deserved to win a league then this is the set. They have been through the mill both mentally and physically especially over the last few weeks but never once have they waned from the objective which is ultimately winning this league."
Lions: Matt Davis, Danny Cole, Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris, Guy Helman (sub: Ben Lauffer), Craig Ellis, Andy Glynne (sub: Ben Lauffer), Daniel Stanton, Lee Cash, James Gershfield, Adam Stolerman (sub: Dean Nyman). Sub not used: Jonny Ellis