London Lions hit South Midlands summit
MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
LONDON LIONS 2 BUCKINGHAM ATHLETIC 0
London Lions hit the top of the table for the first time this season following a deserved 2-0 victory over Buckingham Athletic.
A first-half bullet header from top-scorer Adam Bolle and a second-half penalty from Sam Sloma took the Lions top following Harpenden's defeat at Hoddesdon Town.
Tony Gold’s troops recorded a 16th league win of the season out of 18 kept their 12th clean sheet of the season - a club record - on another memorable day for the team.
Buckingham had picked up some decent results on the road, and settled quickly, but they rarely threatened, even though the visitors front two showed good movement and intent.
The first and only real scare for Lions came after 15 minutes when the Buckingham no. 9 squared the ball back to his team-mate who was ready to blast a shot on goal, but Lions defender Michael Sacks managed to cover and slide in to block the ball.
Gold’s side then gained momentum and deservedly took the lead. Josh Kennet burst forward from the right, and played in the perfect cross for Bolle to glance a header into the top left hand corner of the goal.
Lions were now having long sustained periods of pressure, chance after chance came and went as the home side wasted several opportunities to put the game to bed. Kennet was a constant threat going forward and with the Lions defence which has only conceeded eight goals in 18 games looking inpenatrable, only a poor lapse in concertration and the inability to kill the game off in the second-half would cost Lions three points.
After an uneventful start to the second half, Lions had the chance to double their lead through Ben Ellis. He latched onto a ball from Daniel Stanton, but his shot was well saved.
Buckingham’s front two continued to look threatening in attack, but a lack of quality service and great marshalling by Guy Morris and Sacks meant they failed to ever test Lions keeper Mario Cenolli.
Lions then doubled their lead after Guy Helman was hacked down in the box following a mazy run. Sloma took charge of the dead-ball spot-kick and fired in a left-footed shot that nestled neatly into the back of the goal, sending the keeper the wrong way.
The Lions then made several changes as Andy Glynne, Aron Barnes and Max Kyte were introduced into the action.
In the closing stages Sloma almost added a third for Lions in move of the match but the normally efficient midfielder lost his composure and blased over from eight yards.
With Harpenden going down 2-1 to Hoddesdon it meant for the first time this season Lions sat proudly on top of the league. The New Year promises to be very interesting but there is an incredible amount of work still to do and Lions need to remain focused and hungry.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: "Sam Sloma and Adam Bolle have been answering all the questions, they just need to continue to work hard.
"Ben Ellis and Josh Kennet give us great width and can go past players and to have them available means we will always be a threat.
"We have defended well recently and that is down to the superb organisation of Morris, Sacks and Cenolli. Our back four and keeper over the course of 18 games have been magnificent.
"We are progressing nicely and although there have been some comings and goings in the main, we have a fantastic set of commited lads with a great team spirit.
"We now have two important games before the New Year. It is vital we stay grounded and continue to work hard and remember all the positives which have got us where we are today."
Lions host third-placed Cockfosters at Rowley Lane on Saturday.
Lions: Mario Cenolli, Guy Helman, Danny Berg, Michael Sacks, Guy Morris, Sam Sloma, Craig Ellis, Daniel Stanton (sub: Andy Glynne), Ben Ellis (sub: Aron Barnes), Josh Kennet, Adam Bolle (sub: Max Kyte)
Scorers: Adam Bolle, Sam Sloma (pen)
Man-of-the-match: Danny Berg
1. London Lions Pl. 18, Pts. 48
2. Harpenden Town Pl. 21, Pts. 46
3. Cockfosters Pl. 19, Pts. 44
4. Crawley Green Pl. 22, Pts. 44
5. Codicote Pl. 20, Pts. 39