Gold and Pearl power Lions Vets to victory in Garston League

Maccabi London Lions bounced back from last weeks’ cup exit to record a hard-earned league win over an excellent Colney Heath side at a sodden Rowley Lane.




But it wasn’t just the opposition they had to overcome as, on their way to the ground, forwards Paul Lenchner and Hadley Silver were involved in an accident – thankfully they weren’t hurt but the car and deer they hit both were, ruling out their attendance and leaving the side with just 12.

The appointed match official then failed to show, but one of Colney’s entourage agreed to take the whistle.  And within a minute of the start he had a big decision to make, deeming Lions keeper Rob Abrahams had gathered a back pass. Lions, not out of the blocks yet, failed to set up well enough but take nothing away from an exquisite finish into the top corner that gave Heath the lead.

Credit however the hosts who, despite this early setback, got themselves back into the game with aplomb and played, for the next 50 minutes, some of their finest football of the season. Defensively as solid as a rock – Rob Glass, Adam Myeroff, Andy Myers, Adam Harvey and Jon Rayner all excelling and ensuring Abrahams had little bar the routine to deal with.

Alex Levack was his effervescent self while Danny Daggers had an excellent and influential game in driving the side forward.  Tony Gold was having a field day down the left, Brad Lazarus showing great touches down the right while Saul Conway was a menace from the off. But it was Craig Pearl, driving from midfield, who was becoming the dominant player in the game.  A fine spin from Daggers put Lions on the front foot from where Pearl took the ball on before slipping in Lazarus.  He drove into the box and crossed to the far post where the on-rushing Gold had the simple task of nodding home to level things up.

Pearl thumped one just wide and then slid in at the far post, just unable to divert Gold’s low cross, but he wasn’t to be denied for long. Levack this time sent Lazarus away, his early cross initially seemed too long as it evaded the dive of Conway. But the ball was recycled, fed back to Pearl who this time curled a quite perfect lob over the giant Heath keeper to give Lions the lead.

The referee then became centre of attention, denying a penalty so clear, when the keeper wiped out Conway, even the opposition players were appealing for it. Incredibly it was not given. But just two minutes later and from Lazarus’ cross again the keeper flattened Conway, getting nowhere near the ball in so doing, but this time the loose ball cannoned into the path of Gold who sidestepped his man and fired home.

On the whistle Pearl really should have wrapped the game up, breaking clear he got his attempted chip horribly wrong.

3-1 and playing well that really should have been it. Lions continued on the front foot and twice had the ball in the Heath net early in the second period, but twice the referee ruled the goals out even though the second time there was no flag. It was getting hard for the man in the middle and the players as it was unclear whether he was or was not taking advice from his assistants.

Heath were still in the game – they are a good side who carry plenty of threat. From one such break Abrahams made a great block with his legs as he dashed across goal, but in doing so aggravated a calf injury that meant he couldn’t continue. This meant an introduction for manager Dan Jacobs between the sticks. He had an early save or two to make but with 15 minutes remaining more offside confusion when everyone stopped when the linesman flagged.

With the game at a standstill the referee then seemed to indicate play on, Heath worked the ball across goal and the forward drilled home. Suddenly, from nowhere, it was game on.

Things were getting tetchy, players on both teams putting the man in the middle, who was doing his best, under undue pressure. Lions, however, defended a couple of free-kicks well and generally kept Jacobs very well-protected before, in the dying stages, Conway got revenge on the man who’d moments early given him a sly elbow off the ball by skinning him and racing clear, squaring as the keeper came out to Pearl who got a deserved second goal to wrap up a 4-2 win.

LIONS: Rob Abrahams, Jon Rayner, Adam Harvey, Rob Glass, Adam Myeroff, Alex Levack, Danny Daggers, Craig Pearl, Saul Conway, Brad Lazarus, Tony Gold. Subs: Andy Myers, Dan Jacobs

SCORERS: Craig Pearl (2), Tony Gold (2)



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