Lions arrest the champions
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Herts Senior County League Prem Division:
London Lions 2 Met Police (Bushey) 0
London Lions secured a mammoth three points on Saturday beating recently crowned league champions Met Police 2-0 at Rowley Lane.
It was the kind of performance that showed exactly what the Lions are capable of when practically everyone is fit and available.
Lions have now given themselves a huge chance of promotion should they beat Evergreen in their last game and Baldock, with three games to go, drop at least one point.
On a glorious day at the Lane and for the first time in almost two months, manager Tony Gold had almost all his squad to pick from with the exception of Guy Helman, who was still suspended and Danny Castle (away), Nick Goodman, Aron Barnes and Andy Glynne all injured.
Lee Cash returned to the side work free in his normal wide position and Danny Berliner got the nod over Matt Davis in the Lions goal.
The Lions' players knew the importance of the game and from the first whistle made sure Met Police were never given the chance to get a foothold on the match.
Gold, who had watched the Police play on the Wednesday, got his tactics spot on as his side quite literally pinned the visitors into their own half for vast amounts of the game.
The home side could have and probably should have been three up inside the first 25 minutes. Top-scorer Adam Stolerman was guilty of missing two good opportunities followed by Cash somehow missing from eight yards.
With all the dominance and missed chances Lions must have been praying that it wouldn’t come back to haunt them as it had the previous week.
The Lions' workrate and tenacity was very impressive and eventually they got exactly what they deserved, the opening goal. Cash, who was a constant threat, finally managed to burst through one-on-one with the keeper and, thanks to a second bite at the cherry after seeing his first shot saved, the ball rebounded off the keeper then himself and rolled into the goal.
At the break it was Lions who were in total control of proceedings but they knew the game should have been out of sight and that any lapse of concentration could have a devastating effect.
Again they applied the same conviction and desire at the start of the second-half as they did throughout the first-half as Met Police started to become more and more frustrated.
Berliner in the Lions goal was a virtual spectator due to the excellent defending of Adam Lauffer, Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris and Eddie Manson and the work ethic of the Lions midfield and attack of Ben Lampert, Ben Lauffer, Rob Glass, Danny Cole, Cash and Stolerman.
Still a second goal was needed to ease the nerves and it came via the penalty spot after Cash was cynically fouled in the Met Police penalty box. Stolerman calmly stepped up and converted the spot kick with meaning to effectively kill the game off.
With 15 minutes left Lions kept the ball well to see the game out and inflict only the fourth defeat on the champions all season.
After the game, a delighted manager Tony Gold commented: “I’m really thrilled for the players today because they grafted for that result and showed against the champions what a bloody good side they really are, it was almost the perfect performance.
"Player consistency and availability has been poor in the last two months and as a result our results have reflected that, however, today apart from Helman, Castle, Barnes, Goodman and Glynne we were at full capacity and it showed what a difference it makes.
"We now have a very tense and exciting finish ahead of us and although a part of it is out of our hands, we must ensure we go to Evergreen next week and get another good performance and three points and then hopefully we will get the little bit of lady luck the players quite frankly fully deserve."
Lions: Danny Berliner, Adam Lauffer, Danny Cole (sub: Tony Gold), Eddie Manson (sub: Dan Green), Adam Myeroff, Guy Morris, Rob Glass, Ben Lampert, Ben Lauffer, Lee Cash (sub: Ben Ellis), Adam Stolerman
Man-of-the-match: Ben Lampert