London Lions reserves in seventh heaven
A strong Lions side eventually ran out emphatic winners away at Tring on Saturday, but the gale force wind and heavy, sloping pitch meant they had to work hard to see off spirited opponents.
Two early runs from Ben Ellis set the tone for Lions' attacking intentions, but with the slope in their favour and the cross wind making things tough full stop, Tring were able to get out and at Lions, with the swirling balls tough for Frank Hyman and Adam Lauffer at centre back, the latter though again excelling in unfamiliar territory.
Having spurned a couple of early openings, Lions took the lead 12 minutes in. Adam Stolerman's deep cross from the right was recovered by Ellis who made mincemeat of his marker before intelligently pulling back for Josh Newman to take a touch and rifle home from 20 yards in an almost carbon copy of last week's opener.
Yet some sloppy play at the back with 20 minutes on the clock allowed the hosts back into the game, a delicious right wing cross was powered home via a diving header by the host's lively number nine.
Lions though re-asserted their superiority within a minute, and courtesy of Stolerman, gave themselves breathing space two minutes after that. He started the move, spraying a fine ball out to the overlapping Lew. He crossed back into the path of Stolerman who's first touch lifted it over the defender, his second forcing the defender to prod the ball passed his own keeper. Then the Lions forward controlled a poor keeper’s clearance on his chest 30 yards out before coolly volleying a lob over the stranded stopper's head.
The 3-1 interval lead was no more than Lions deserved, with Ben Lauffer, Newman and notably Ross Pincus having totally control of the centre of the park.
Lions really should have been further ahead, but Ellis, Stanley, Stolerman, Lauffer and Goodman were all unable to convert openings, and they were indeed actually grateful to keeper Matt Davis for a fine save to deny Tring renewed hope.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Despite the conditions and the pitch cutting up the visitors continued to try and play and continued to dominate possession, but whilst the score remained 3-1 Tring retained hope. They certainly put everything into it and even got the odd sight of the Lions goal, although in truth Davis was not unduly troubled. Yet there was certainly a degree of relief when Goodman, who moments earlier had seen a thunderbolt crash back off the bar, was upended in the box. Newman's penalty was as near perfection as you could get.
The floodgates now opened for Lions as Tring knew they were beaten. Goodman was again clipped just as he was about to score, Newman again despatching from the penalty mark before Pincus made it six with a goal direct from a corner.
There was still time for Ellis to get a confidence boosting goal and Lions' seventh, latching onto Lauffer's incisive pass before shooting first time across the keeper, the ball finding the net via the far post.
All in all a decent win with Lions playing the conditions and opposition as well as could be expected. Good game time for some of the returning wounded and a confidence boost for the squad as they look forward to cup football against sides from the league above, next Saturday (home to Hadley) and then the following Tuesday (away to St Margaretsbury).
Lions reserves: Matt Davis, Adam Lauffer, Frank Hyman, Jacob Lew, Ben Lauffer, Ross Pincus, Dan Green (sub: Shai Revivio), James Stanley, Ben Ellis, Adam Stolerman (sub: Dan Green), Nick Goodman