London Lions rediscover winning formula
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London Lions returned to winning ways with a morale-boosting 4-0 victory over St Albans City.
In their last three outings, the Lions have played well but had nothing to show for it. Here, they produced another excellent performance and, this time, took their chances to beat a top quality side.
Goals from Guy Morris, James Gershfield, Daran Bern and Daniel Stanton gave Lions the points over a St. Albans side that were unbeaten in their last 10 games.
With last weeks game against Kings Langley called off due to the bad weather, the Lions were desperate to put the 5-0 defeat to Hoddesdon on January 3 behind them.
Lions arrived at Clarence Park remembering the good times of last year - having spent a season ground sharing with their hosts.
The two sides met earlier in the season at Broxbourne with Lions winning 3-2 right at the death in what was described at the time as a high octane and excellent game of football.
St. Albans named a strong side with Magwood, Chrysanthou, Shields and Petrucci - regular first team players - playing due to the first team not having a fixture.
Manager Tony Gold was forced to make a couple of changes prior to kick-off due to lateness and non-arrival of certain individuals but no-one would not have known as the Lions flew out of the traps from the first whistle.
Playing on a pitch they know well, the visitors defended the slope in the first-half and looked impenetrable with Guy Morris, David Soutar, Tony Gold and Adam Myeroff keeping a high line and defending immaculately.
However, it was the midfield three of Craig Ellis, Daniel Stanton and Aron Barnes who ran the show, with the support of the pace out wide of Daran Bern and James Gershfield. TJ Keterman played down the middle and linked Lions' good attacking play.
The first 20 minutes saw the match locked in midfield. Then on 35 minutes Lions were awarded a free-kick out wide on their right hand side. Barnes delivered a wicked ball that Morris reacted first to and he somehow managed to bundle the ball home.
The lead was well deserved as Lions started to look the more threatening going forward. At the break the hosts could not have any complaints.
The second half carried on where the first ended with St Albans pressing for an equaliser, but they were thwarted every time they went forward by the superb Lions back four.
Both sides knew the importance of the next goal and it went the way of the Lions. The impressive Bern released Barnes who buried the ball into the back of the net.
Lions grew in confidence and shortly after added a third. Stanton raced through to net with a precision finish.
Lions introduced Andy Glynne and Matt Stock for Ellis and Bern respectively and with 15 minutes thanks to Gershfield killed the game off.
Having made a whirlwind start to the campaign, Gershfield, the Lions top-goal scorer this season, has been on something of a drought of late, but he finally broke that hoodoo and scored a lovely forth.
Describing the win as a very important three points, Lions manager Tony Gold said: "Historically, December and January are poor months for Lions due to player availability, lack of training, games being called off and injury.
"Hopefully we are over the worst and bar four long-term injuries to Rob Glass, Danny Berg, Josh Kennet and Alex Sesto, we are back to full strength.
"Four regular first team players played for the reserves today which means we finally have competition back for places which hopefully will keep everyone on their toes and performances high."
Gold went on to say: "Prior to today, our last three performances have been good but our lack of fitness in the final 25 minutes of games and lack of quality in front of goal have cost us.
"Today it all came together and I have to give the players an incredible amount of credit. In the last few weeks they have all made a real effort to train harder and show more commitment.
"We are always capable of results like this if that desire continues.
"St Albans are a well-established club, plying their football at a very good level. This result will install a massive amount of confidence to the lads."
Lions: Danny Berliner, Aron Barnes, Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris, David Soutar, Tony Gold, Daniel Stanton, Craig Ellis (sub: Darren Yarlett, TJ Keterman (sub: Matt Stock), Daran Bern (sub: Andy Glynne), James Gershfield
MOM: Guy Morris