Five-star Lions claim first win

James Gershfield

James Gershfield

A hat-trick from James Gershfield steered London Lions to their first ever victory in the South Midlands League as they thumped Cockfosters 5-1 in Division One on Tuesday night.

Having failed to win any of their first four matches, the Lions rediscovered the form that saw them crowned Herts County Senior League champions last season.

A scintillating performance was capped by goals from Ben Ellis and Aron Barnes.

The Lions finally showed what they are capable of with a near full squad as they put Cockfosters to the sword at Goffs Park.

On a very wet but relatively warm evening the pitch was in immaculate condition which allowed Lions to get their slick passing game going from the start.

Having missed a good early chance seconds before, Ellis opened the scoring inside 10 minutes with a lovely controlled finish to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

The goal injected a real confidence into the Lions with the likes of Adam Myeroff, Ellis, Guy Morris, Aron Barnes, Rob Glass, David Soutar, Daniel Stanton, Josh Kennet and Gershfield stepping up to the plate.

Cockfosters continued to work hard but were getting increasingly frustrated as the Lions closed them down, demonstrating a tremendous work rate. Barnes doubled the advantage with a well taken second midway through the half.

This was the first time since their campaign started that Lions looked in complete control of a game. Kennet continued to dazzle and terrorise down the left and it was his brilliance that presented Gershfield with the first of his three goals on the night. The industrious Gershfield trapped the ball, moved it out of his feet and dispatched it clinically past the Cockfosters keeper.

With the rain now lashing down the second half was always going to prove testing with the ball slipping and zipping off the wet surface. Cockfosters came out with nothing to lose and pinned Lions back for the first 10 minutes of the half. Kennet was replaced by Ben Lauffer who was soon in the thick of the action. Failing to clear their lines efficiently, the Lions were punished as the visitors pulled a goal back thanks to an unstoppable shot from Joe Smith.

The goal rejuvenated Cockfosters but any momentum they had found was virtually killed off as they were reduced to 10 men after one of their players was shown a second yellow card for dissent.

On 65 minutes manager Gold was replaced by Danny Berg and Stanton by Craig Ellis. After a slight wobble the Lions found their rhythm again and Gershfield helped himself to another goal to kill the game off. Breaking free of his marker and baring down one on one with the keeper he kept a cool head and slotted it perfectly into the goal.

Five minutes later he completed a deserved hat-trick. Again showing great composure he dispatched another composed shot past the hapless visiting keeper. A Lions sixth and Gershfield forth nearly arrived but his header hit the crossbar and fell to safety.

The final minutes were played out with Lions knowing they had completed a great night’s work. Summing up manager Gold said: "This is the way I want the players to continue. They worked hard, played with confidence and above all played with tempo and when those three things click more often then not you get what you deserve which tonight was an excellent three points.

"Some lads turned a corner tonight now the hardest job I have is ensuring they keep that focus and discipline moving forward."

Lions: Matt Davis, Aron Barnes, Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris, Rob Glass, Daniel Stanton (sub: Ben Lauffer), Ben Ellis, Tony Gold (sub: Danny Berg), David Soutar, Josh Kennet (sub: Craig Ellis), James Gershfield

MOM: James Gershfield

    Last updated: 2:16pm, August 18 2010