Revivo helps Lions roar into cup semi-final

A cool finish from top scorer Nick Goodman, a well-taken brace from Shai Revivo and an assured all-round performance saw the Reserves into the semi finals of the Reserve Challenge Trophy


London Lions Reserves 3 Hadley Reserves 1

A cool finish from top scorer Nick Goodman, a well-taken brace from Shai Revivo and an assured all-round performance steered London Lions Reserves into the semi finals of the Reserve Challenge Trophy.

They booked a spot in the last four with a hard fought but well deserved victory over Hadley, a team once again battling for the title in the league above.

Despite last week's eventual loss in the quarter-finals of the County Cup to Kings Langley, who are currently top of Hadley's league by four points, Lions took plenty of confidence at having taken such a high-ranked team all the way to extra time.

With another week's fitness under the belts of the returning players it was a strong Lions that took the pitch, all be it disappointed to have lost young forwards George Fierstone and Franks in the hours leading up to the game.

The core of the side remained as was - keeper Danny Berliner, so good last week, remained in goal while centrally Frank Hyman and Laurence Judah at the back, Craig Ellis and Ben Joseph in midfield with scoring duties falling again on skipper Goodman and livewire Revivo. To assist them up top came Ben Ellis, in midfield returned Ricky Engleman from suspension while at full-back James Stanley was fit to start on the right and the returning Guy Helman played on the left.

The game started at a frenetic pace, with some crunching tackles early on topically testing the referee's interpretation of "reckless". Neither side gave an inch, so with space at a premium there were little by way of clear cut chances to match the endeavours of both sides.

Lions looked solid at the back - the centre halves strong in the tackle and the air while the pace at full-back snuffed out much of Hadley's threat.

Slowly Lions got a grip, Stanley's teasing cross just too high for Goodman, Revivo's run and cross blocked at the near post while a Goodman run saw the angle too tight and the keeper saving well with his legs.

Ben Ellis then got himself involved, and having seen a curling effort plucked out of the air by the Hadley No. 1, he skipped inside two tackles before sliding a perfect pass into Goodman's path that with great aplomb he dinked over the onrushing keeper to give Lions the lead.

The home side continued to press, Ellis should really have done better, but having done all the hard work in getting clear saw his effort smothered by the keeper. But then he again turned provider. Revivo, who'd been having a really solid game to that point, latched on Ellis' pass and, like Goodman before him, the finish was clinical.

Two up at the break Lions knew they had to be resolute but that on the break they'd get chances. Sure enough Hadley attacked with renewed vigour, and in failing early on to shut down the crosses allowed two great chances - the first headed wide with the goal gaping, the second forcing a Berliner wonder stop, somehow getting enough in the way of a volley from barely six yards.

However, on the hour, his goal was eventually breached. Another teasing cross was blocked, the ball though spooning up into the air and wrong footing keeper and centre half, the ball eventually bundled in to give Hadley hope.

However, Craig Ellis was a man mountain, and along with Joseph and Engleman ensured the visitors were kept arms length.

And before they could get up a head of steam Ellis intercepted, fed Goodman who in turn rolled in Revivo. With plenty to do he danced round his marker before executing a quite exquisite finish as the keeper rushed out.

Defensively Lions remained solid, and with Max Kyte, Andy Sheena and Dan Lipman all introduced to add a freshness the hosts more than competed.

Chances were traded at both ends but none were taken and Lions progressed to a semi-final date away at league leaders Kent Athletic in early March.

It's a return to league action meantime as Lions hope to cement a position in the promotion spots so as to enjoy tough fixtures like these last two each and every week.

Lions: Danny Berliner, Laurence Judah, Frank Hyman, Craig Ellis, Guy Helman, Ben Joseph, Ricardo Engleman, James Stanley (sub: Max Kyte), Shai Revivo (sub: Andy Sheena), Ben Ellis, Nick Goodman (sub: Dan Lipman)

Scorers: Shai Revivo (2), Nick Goodman

Man-of-the-match: Shai Revivo

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