Four-midable Lions march on in FA Cup
Goals from Daniel Stanton, Aron Barnes, Ben Ellis and Sam Sloma helped London Lions turn on the style to win their first-ever match in the FA Cup following a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Clapton at Hemel Hempstead FC.
FA CUP EXTRA PRELIMINARY ROUND
LONDON LIONS 4 CLAPTON 0
It was an historic day all-round for the Lions who were also the first ever all Jewish team to win a competitive match in the FA Cup.
Playing their first game at Hemel Hempstead on a lovely summers day, Lions arrived at their new ground share in fine spirits and were looking forward to making a little Lions history.
The crowd of 80 were in for a football extravaganza as Lions produced a footballing display way above the level they currently play. Mario Cenolli started in goal with Morris, Michael Sacks, Ricky Engleman and Jake Gottlieb filling the defence. Andy Glynne, Daniel Stanton and Aron Barnes slotted into midfield with Josh Kennet, Ben Ellis and Sam Sloma driving the attacking force.
Clapton who have a rich history and lots of experience playing in the FA Cup arrived buoyant and full of confidence. Following the final whistle they left perplexed wondering what had just hit them.
As the whistle went getting the game under way Lions went straight for the jugular. Playing some fantastic possession football the home side had Clapton chasing shadows. Settling into a good rhythm Lions opened proceedings with Daniel Stanton going down in Lions history as the first player at the club to score in the FA Cup.
The Lions were the better team throughout and it came as no surprise when Stanton opened the scoring with a powerful finish at the far post following a dangerous, low cross from the impressive Josh Kennet.
The goal helped Lions settle further and they started to turn it on with some neat exchanges. The move of the game saw a wonderful Kennet shot tipped onto the cross bar following a build up involving no less than 12 passes and six different players.
Barnes doubled the lead minutes later when a speculative effort from distance was spilled into the net by Clapton keeper Mason Durrell.
The visiting management team didn’t hold back at the break as the rollicking coming from the away dressing room could be heard for miles. For Lions it was more of the same in the proceeding 45 minutes.
It was crystal clear that the next goal was going to be very important. Clapton needed it to feel they were making some contribution to the game and finding a way back in, and Lions to pretty much kill the contest off.
Two goals to the good at the interval, the Lions continued to take the game to their opponents from Essex and their perseverance was rewarded when Ben Ellis curled home a low shot from 20 yards.
Sloma was another thorn in Clapton's side throughout and his hard work was rewarded with a stunning finish, as he curled a shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
With Lions leading 4-0 going into the remaining 30 minutes changes were made. Daran Bern, Adam Myeroff and Kyle Bentwood were all introduced to replace some tired legs.
Clapton looked most dangerous at set-pieces but Mario Cenolli in the Lions goal and his defence were equal to everything they had to offer with Cenolli showing great hands and his defence making good early decisions to alleviate any unnecessary pressure.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: "What a marvellous day for London Lions and the Jewish community. The players were a credit to themselves and this fantastic club.
“A lot of people from the backroom staff, players, directors and administrators have put an awful lot of time, effort and hard work into this club especially over the last five years. Within that five year period we have made small but significant steps. Today’s result and occasion was dedicated to all those individuals who have been on that journey from day one of my appointment as manager with special mention going out to Steve Grenfell, Basil Wein, David Kyte, Neville Zeller, Neil Myeroff, Darren Yarlett, Paul Wise and David Snelman.
“I am extremely proud of all my players today and am honoured to be involved with such a tremendous group of lads who may not realise it, but have developed and grown into some very good footballers.
"Playing in the manner we did today and the way in which the players applied themselves makes all the hard work worthwhile and shows how much certain players have really improved their overall games”.
“No matter how long we have left in this competition we will make sure we make the most of every single second of every round.
“Our football at times today was unplayable and our finishing was on another level again testament to the work put in by the players, Steve and Darren at training.
“We will enjoy the next few days and then turn our attentions to Wednesday night where we start our long league campaign away at Welwyn Garden City”.
The Lions will take on Oxhey Jets or Leverstock Green in the next round.
Lions: Mario Cenolli, Ricky Engleman (sub: Adam Myeroff), Michael Sacks, Guy Morris (capt), Jake Gottlieb (sub: Kyle Bentwood), Josh Kennet, Aron Barnes, Andy Glynne, Daniel Stanton, Sam Sloma, Ben Ellis (sub: Daran Bern)