Five-star Lions Vets show true grit

London Lions battled back from an awful start to record a league double over a typically spirited Greenford side.



London Lions battled back from an awful start to record a league double over a typically spirited Greenford side.

On a filthy wet and windy morning at Rowley Lane, the Lions were missing a few players, but they drafted in Danny Reuben, Scott Levy, Nick Astaire, Alex Norman and Richard Baum to bolster their ranks.

The driving rain and gusty wind meant keeping the ball on the deck was the order of the day, but despite a bright start from an attacking perspective the hosts were rocked when Greenford scored with what seemed to be their first two forays into Lions territory.

A throw-in seemed to pose no issue, but when Lions backed off the Greenford front man turned, stepped inside and rifled a fine low finish into the bottom corner.

The lead was doubled two minutes later, as Greenford broke a cross-shot was mis-judged in the wind by keeper Brad Lee, the ball slipping through his fingers and finding the back of the net.

Lions were rocked, but all the while it was clear that they had more than enough going forward to still be right in the game. And this belief was enhanced when Hadley Silver beat the offside trap before centring low for Craig Pearl to sidefoot home.

Lions began to push. Kaye's great run was pulled back for Alex Levack but he couldn't keep his effort down, Paul Lenchner was then denied by a superb double save from the Greenford keeper before Jon Rayner broke away and was also denied by the keeper, although with two men in the clear a pull back would have probably been the better choice.

However, they were rewarded with the equaliser before the break, and a fine goal it was. Levack and Pearl combined well in midfield, the latter's through ball inviting Silver to drive in a peach of a ball that Lenchner, sliding in at the far post, expertly finished.

To reach half time, having come back from 2-0 down, with the scores level at 2-2 allowed for a different message to be given at the break by Dan Jacobs. His instructions was simply to be more careful with the ball and to keep pressing, as their counterparts would no doubt tire as the game progressed.

On 48 minutes, some good work on the right hand side saw Baum and Rayner link up, feeding Pearl who played a neat one-two with the tireless Kaye and then, taking advantage of the conditions, he hit a grass cutter that shouldn't have caused the Greenford keeper any trouble but at the last minute swerved out of the reach of the slightly embarrassed stopper and sneaked in off the inside of the post. 3-2.

Greenford responded by launching a few attacks down their right side which were dealt with by Andrew Myers and Astaire, the latter though making a great lunging tackle to thwart an almost certain equaliser at the far post after some rather unorthodox defending in the Lions penalty area.

The visitors continued to probe and prod, and after some tidy interplay again down the hosts left-hand side, the ball was pulled back from the bye line to the edge of the Lions box which was met first time and the ball arrowing for top corner was somehow tipped away to safety by Lee to make amends, the save earning the praise from both sets of players for his acrobatic effort.

With the game entering the final 15 minutes and the weather deteriorating, a Greenford corner broke to Silver halfway inside his own half, who looked up and spotted Kaye's run which beat the offside trap, giving him a free run on goal, and showing great composure to hammer the ball past the onrushing keeper, grabbing a goal that his performance truly deserved.

The result was made safe when Lenchner grabbed his second goal of the game and 21st goal in 20 appearances this season, this time played through by Pearl he outpaced the now dead-on-his-heels centre back and showed unusual calmness to slot the ball to the keeper's right and into the bottom left of the net from the edge of the box.

Not the greatest performance in some pretty awful conditions, but still Lions played some good stuff, scoring some fine goals and battling back from the early setbacks to continue their recent run of good form.

LIONS: Brad Lee, Jon Rayner, Craig Henry, Andy Myers, Nick Astaire, Danny Reuben, Alex Levack, Craig Pearl, Hadley Silver, Adam Kaye, Paul Lenchner. Subs (all used): Scott Levy, Max Radford, Richard Baum, Alex Norman

Scorers: Paul Lenchner (2), Craig Pearl (2), Adam Kaye

Man-of-the-match: Adam Kaye

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