London Lions Vets reach Middx County Cup semis


London Lions Vets cruised into the semi-finals of the Middlesex County Cup with a 3-1 success over Spelthorne.

A long journey to Staines on a Sunday morning is not something many would choose, but for their efforts in making the trek Lions were rewarded with passage into the last four after what proved a reasonably comfortable win.

With a number of players still injured or unavailable, the squad was stretched, but the side were able to welcome back Paul Lenchner after knee surgery, fit for a spot on the bench for the first time this season. With Andy Myers still not back the Lions called on the services of Guy Morris, and it was he who thought he’d given Lions an early lead.

Intercepting on halfway he drove forward, exchanged passes with Saul Conway before slotting home, only for the goal to be chalked off for a very debatable offside.

Lions were in the ascendency, a great take and turn by Craig Pearl should have led to the opener but he blazed over before he again made himself space in the box, this time though denied by a brilliant save by Spelthorne’s keeper.

Dan Reuben had time to shoot but dragged his shot just wide, Conway had an effort well saved, Max Radford couldn’t keep his shot down and Alex Levack's free-kick curled narrowly off target.

Spelthorne failed to get too much joy, but a rare breakaway and a slip from Morris saw them through on goal but Dan Jacobs stood up well to make a crucial save. The ball was cleared, worked through Reuben and Dan Piler until it found its way to Pearl found the bottom corner to give Lions a deserved half-time lead.

With the wind in their favour Spelthorne launched a number of long balls as they battled to gain early territory in the second period, but in truth Craig Henry, Lazard, Morris and adam Myeroff dealt comfortably with all thrown at them.

Reuben and Levack again had the upper hand in midfield and with Jon Rayner and Dan Piler offering decent width Lions were soon back on the offensive. A great move – Myeroff to Henry, via Levack on to Piler carved Spelthorne open, the latter’s deep cross met with a spectacular Rayner flying header that was inches over.

A second goal though did duly arrive and it was that man Pearl again finding the bottom to double the lead and give Lions the breathing space they deserved.

Lions introduced Lenchner and he soon had a snapshot just off target. Moments later though and the game was made fully safe, Levack’s well struck shot was destined for the target, the deflection though taking away any hope the impressive home keeper may have had at saving it.

The last 20 minutes saw a host of gilt-edged chances passed up by Lions, failing to hit the target on several occasions when they should have done better.

A little of the gloss then taken off a good all-round performance when Spelthorne grabbed a goal in the last minute, a breakaway initially brought a fine save from Jacobs, but the loose ball was recycled and eventually curled home by their substitute.

Still, a semi-final now on the cards in the new year against either Salvatorians or Holyport who’s tie fell foul of the weather. Both will present a real test and will need Lions at their very best if a cup final spot is to be achieved.

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