Lions reserves in seventh heaven
London Lions Reserves rounded off their Spartans Midland Reserve League Division Two campaign in impressive style, with a 7-2 victory against Tring Corinthians.
A much-changed side saw Declan Green make a season's debut in goal, with starts given to the returning Craig Ellis in midfield and to Harry Franks, fresh from securing a scholarship to study/ply his soccer skills in the US.
The game was pretty much settled after barely three minutes. The shooting boots, so badly left at home on Wednesday night, were well and truly found as with their first two attacks Lions scored great goals.
Forward Jason Goldstein and Franks combined, the ball worked out to Ben Ellis who thundered home on the half volley from the edge of the box giving the keeper no chance.
Less than a minute later the lead was doubled, Goldstein bursting clear and unleashing a rocket of his own that simply flew in.
It was one-way traffic. Franks and Goodman were denied goals by fine saves, Goodman and the livewire David Cohen passed up great chances before a third arrived. Goodman struck the bar but recovered possession to lay in Jacob Lew to power home his first goal of the season.
Tring hit back, Goldstein volleying in an own goal under pressure from a Tring set-play. Not to be denied Lions were back on the attack, Craig Ellis this time smashing home after Tring could only half clear.
The second half saw Lions at it again. Goodman's power header was destined to be blocked on the line before David B. Cohen improvised with a cheeky back-heel into the roof of the net before the same player nipped in to collect Franks' through ball, rounding the keeper and firing home from the tightest of angles.
Jacobs then rang the changes with still 35 minutes remaing - Revivo, J Green and Gold making up an all new front three. Within minutes Tony Gold showed pace belying his years, beautifully dinking the ball over the on-rushing keeper to grab Lions' seventh.
The football was a joy, but a series of poor decision making and fine goalkeeping saw Lions pass up further opportunities; on another day Green and Gold may both have recorded hat-tricks, while Franks' stunning volley on the run from fully 25 yards crashed back off the bar.
Tring registered a second with a long-range effort, and with the game stretched threatened on occassion but Green showed some fine handling to ensure no further damage.
Lions have played some great football this year. They ha've proven themselves to be amongst the top sides in the league, arguably the better team in every game they have played. Occasionally though they'have lacked the ruthlessness in each penalty area or have not had the rub of the green with some key decisions, particularly in the two games with Risborough.
But with a team as young as this (half the 14 were aged under 20 today) they will only get better and they'll hope to end the season with a trophy next week as the young Lions take on Hatfield from the league above in the Challenge Trophy Final.