Sloma brace helps Lions Vets complete comeback win

Maccabi London Lions overcame a two-goal deficit against an excellent Interwood side, featuring several ex-pros, to win 4-3 and continue their promising start to their season.




Having started brightly, Lions looked in control and a goal seemed imminent for the home side. The Interwood keeper pulling off a couple of smart saves to deny the hungry Lions forward line.

Interwood had their first real foray into the Lions half after 15 minutes, putting a dangerous ball into the box which Lions keeper Rob Abrahams managed to get a fist to but fell to an Interwood player who duly passed the ball into an empty net.

It was 2-0 five minutes later as the handful Fitz Hall found a chink in an almost flawless Lions defence, flicking the ball through the space between full-back and centre-half and, via a slight Danny Piler deflection, the ball was slotted past Abrahams.

Lions could easily have capitulated but they kept playing their game using the ball well and pressing the Interwood defence high up. Saul Conway was the prime example of fitness and desire being a lethal combination and his work was rewarded when he crossed from the left touchline after good build-up play and the Interwood centre-half could only divert the ball into his own net under Paul Hakim pressure. Game on.

Trailing 1-2 at the break, the message from the Lions' management was to "up the intensity and keep playing the same way. Keep moving the ball, probing and look to exposure a high and flat Interwood defence".

Apart from a good five minutes from Interwood in the second period, it was all Lions and the score line could have been so different if the five one-on-one chances with the keeper were taken. Regardless of the finishing, the build-up play, movement and decision making from back to front was exemplary and with Daniel Stanton pulling the strings with an ever willing worker in Josh Bentley, accompanied by Craig Pearl and James Abrams behind him in midfield, it was a pleasure to watch what could be Lions' best performance this season.

Hakim made it 2-2 with a class finish from a tight angle and the third from Sam Sloma won’t go into the history books as his best finish but it was a pivotal one. It was to less than Lions deserved and within five minutes Sloma made it 4-2 and game should have been over. But it wasn’t.

Another couple of guilt-edged chances were missed from Lions and Interwood found a gap in Lions back line soon after to make it 4-3. Nervy times. Abrahams who won’t have been happy with his first concession made up for it with a crucial one-on-one save and then a goal-line scramble with David Soutar kept Lions in the lead.

Interwood piled on late pressure but the defence of Guy Morris, Adam Myeroff, Pete Lazard, Dan Piler and Soutar coped well, with a strong midfield protecting them and when the full-time whistle arrived, every spectator agreed that the best team had won.

Lions go away feeling very proud. Knowing they still need to be more ruthless in front of goal, the combined positives of the effort, quality and resilience made for a great result.

LIONS: Rob Abrahams, Guy Morris, Adam Myeroff, Dan Piler, David Soutar, Josh Bentley, Craig Pearl, Daniel Stanton, James Abrams, Saul Conway, Paul Hakim. Subs: Pete Lazard, James Abrams, Mike Pearson

SCORERS: Hakim, Sloma 2, own goal

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