Leigh late show preserves Lions U16's unbeaten run


Maccabi London Lions U16 White drew for the third time in four matches after a six-goal thriller against Olympiacos in the Watford Friendly League.

The Lions are gaining a reputation as the Red Division's draw specialists. But whilst it is great that they remain unbeaten, they need to start converting draws to wins if they are to have a realistic chance to challenge for the title.

In game, at times played in a gale-force wind that was constantly changing directions, both teams produced an entertaining and competitive match that, considering the conditions, was punctuated with some excellent football.

Olympiacos seemed to settle into the conditions far quicker and looked much the hungrier of the two teams in the first 10 minutes.

It was not long before Lions conceded the first goal from a mix-up between goalkeeper and full-back allowing the Olympiacos striker to nudge the ball past the keeper and pass the ball in to the empty net from a tight angle.

Before Lions had a chance to regroup they were two down. A quickly taken free-kick caught them cold and the ball broke to the Olympiacos striker in the penalty box and he hammered the ball past Jack Rifkin.

Lions finally woke up after 30 minutes and they started to get a foothold in the game. Following some neat passing football, the ball broke to Jack Mattey who dispatched his shot past the keeper into the bottom corner.

Five minutes later and it should have been 2-2. Mattey was again put through however this time he chose to try to round the keeper who got a hand to the ball which took it away from Mattey. The ball broke to Nathan Davis and his effort was cleared off the line by a defender.

Lions swapped things around at half-time and pushed Sam Shackleton up from full-back to centre forward. He provided much a much-needed focus to the attack and after 10 minutes scored the equalising goal after forcing a mistake out of the Olympiacos center back.

Lions continued to press and created one or two excellent chances to take the lead. The chances were squandered and with about seven minutes remaining, it was Olympiacos who scored what looked to be the winner on the counter attack.

However, this Lions team are possessed with a never-say-die attitude and with almost the last kick of the game Alex Randall flighted in a lovely cross from the right-hand side, the ball got held up in the wind and the Olympiacos keeper misjudged the flight which allowed George Leigh to head the ball home to the delight of all concerned.

A Lions spokesman said: "A draw was probably the right result although had we taken our guilt-edged chances at one end and not made uncharacteristic mistakes at the other end, it could have been a very different outcome."

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