New-look Lions win WFL crown
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WATFORD FRIENDLY LEAGUE UNDER 16 DIVISION
London Lions 9 Garston Boys 0
London Lions Under 16 Yellow division, effectively the Lions Under 16b team have won their league at the first time of asking under joint managers Matt Taylor and Steve Barnett.
Drawing on a whole host of new players and some returning players, the team clicked from day one with all the boys gelling with each other and with the management.
Expertly coached by Steve Grenfell, the first team coach of the Lions team in the Spartan South Midlands League, the boys from Rowley Lane started like a steam train, winning their first nine league games and also beating Croxley Guild Jaguars, who were top of Division 1 at the time, in the County Cup.
The best result was probably a 2-0 defeat to Borehamwood Youth, who should win Division One at a canter. This result showed how well the team could play and they grew from this.
The squad was based upon a team ethic, with outstanding leadership at the back from the captain Brandon Sassoon who formed an almost unbreakable partnership with Oli Smith, supported by the ever versatile Dan Cohen. When they were beaten Sim Cohen proved that the family goalkeeping genes are strong.
The Lions full-backs - Aaron Taylor, Isaac Virchis and Adam Dousie - all proved their worth with some strong displays and vital goals.
It was in midfield that the team gelled best with the outstanding Zack Case and Sam Stead forming a rock of a central midfield partnership which allowed Julian Meir, Ben Leigh, Jake Erlich, Charlie Hyman and Elliott Freer to support the leader of the line James Barnett - who was outstanding and scored over 20 goals in the season. He was well supported by Oli Hart with his energy and brilliant crossing ability.
Clark Norton and Oli Grossman were the most versatile members of the squad and gave everything wherever they played.
The boys had played some lovely football and most of this against bigger and stronger opponents, but only once did they give up the battle, when the title was almost won.
Lions joint-manager Matt Taylor said: "We are extremely proud of each and everyone of the players in the way they have integrated and progressed in their football with the excellent coaching that Steve Grenfell has provided us with.
"We have a fantastic squad of boys who have shown their commitment and enthusiasm not only in training but on match days too."
Joint Manager Stephen Barnett said: "They have been a credit to themselves, to Lions and to Jewish football."
Lions: Simeon Cohen, Adam Dousie, Isaac Virchis, Sam Stead, Julian Meir, Clark Norton, .Elliot Freer, Aaron Taylor, Oliver Grossman, James Barnett, Jake Erlich, Zac Case, Charlie Hyman, Daniel Cohen, Oliver Smith, Brandon Sassoon (capt), Oliver Hart, Ben Leigh