HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
BELSTONE 1 LONDON LIONS 4
London Lions won this top-of-the-table clash at Belstone by a convincing margin, but had to work very hard for this vital win.
The visitors had goalkeeper David Myers to thank for the three points after a string of saves kept Belstone at bay.
Despite missing some key players, it looked like it was going to be another straightforward win when after only five minutes of the tie Lions were in front. Belstone lost the ball to Jake Furman in midfield and his pass found Charlie Kasler, who fed the ball through smartly for Austin Lipman; the Lions winger made no mistake and slotted the ball into the near post.
Despite efforts from Kasler and a header on target from top-scorer James Gershfield, it was Belstone who edged the remainder of the first period as their physical strength and direct approach was making in-roads. Myers was forced to deal with a number of crosses before making a stunning reflex save after Belstone sprung the offside trap.
The second period saw both teams really press for more in attack. Belstone forced Myers into more great saves when they looked certain to score, and the one time they beat him the ball struck the woodwork.
At the other end Jordan Marks looked to have doubled Lions lead but was flagged for offside.
With Ben Goldberg making his first start, and helped by some good defensive play from Adam Lipman, Andy Glynne and Rocky Spitzer, Lions continued to weather the Belstone storm before a rash tackle on Austin Lipman saw Lions awarded a penalty. Gershfield made no mistake from the spot.
Belstone were not done however, and finally beat Myers to make it 2-1 and set up a grandstand finish.
Myers was called upon to make more blocks as Belstone closed in, but just as it looked like a nervy last few minutes, Lions broke away and Gershfield sprung the offside trap to settle the match and score his 20th of the season to boot.
Injury-time saw more drama as Belstone were reduced to 10 men after a red card, before both Lions subs combined to add a gloss to the scoreline when Adam Burchell set up Adam Arnold for 4-1.
A flattering scoreline maybe, but Lions showed they can grid out vital results, and now have clear daylight between them and the rest of the Herts County Premier League.
Andy Landesberg's men host Hatfield Social on Saturday.
LIONS: David Myers, Adam Lipman, Charlie Rubin, Andy Glynne, Ben Goldberg, Harry Hatchwell, Jordan Marks, Charlie Kasler, James Gershfield, Jake Furman, Austin Lipman. Subs: Adam Burchell, Adam Arnold, Rocky Spitzer
SCORERS: Lipman, Gershfield (2), Arnold