INVITATIONAL CUP SEMI-FINAL
MACCABI LONDON LIONS 5 OLD SALVATORIANS 0
Conway secured a hat-trick, coupled with a brace of goals and assists from Mike Pearson saw a Lions side, anchored superbly by Alex Levack, make it through to the Invitational Cup Final to be played at Rayners Lane next month.
While the final score implies a one sided affair, the game itself was very different with the visitors certainly starting the brighter – quicker to the ball, snappier in the challenge and all over on the front foot. Lions however were resolute defensively, Guy Morris and Rob Glass flanked by the pace of Jon Rayner and Tony Gold stood up to the early pressure.
From their first real bit of quality Lions however took the lead. A ball forward saw Pearson rise to hold the ball up before laying it off to Conway some 30 yards from goal. His first touch nicked it passed his marker, his second saw him unleash an absolute worldie that flew over the despairing keeper’s dive right into the top corner. A truly stunning goal.
And when five minutes later Pearson drove forward and shot goalwards, Conway reacted first to the keeper’s parry to stab home and double his tally and Lions’ lead.
With the cushion in hand Lions began to play a bit more, but still Salvatorians remained in the game, but for all their good play they fell just short in the final third.
The second half began with the expected onslaught, but any hope of a comeback was snuffed out when Lee Cash, Craig Pearl and Dan Stanton combined, the ball eventually delivered across for Conway to head home and complete a well deserved hat-trick.
Levack and Matt Kleinman were everywhere in midfield, ensuring defensively Lions were rarely tested, Brad Lee was tidy and confident in goal on the occasions he was called into action.
As Lions rang the changes all put in a real shift, Brad Lazarus’ first sortie saw three touches and a rocket inches wide before Radford cracked a thunderbolt just over. Pearson rifled one across goal before from Cash’s corner he rose to glance a superb header into the net to make it four. And he grabbed his second in the closing stages, racing clear from Hadley Silver’s perfect pass before applying an emphatic finish.
Lions reach a second final of the season where they’ll play with Hadley or Interwood on April 22.
LIONS: Brad Lee, Jon Rayner, Guy Morris, Rob Glass, Tony Gold, Craig Pearl, Dan Stanton, Alex Levack, Mike Pearson, Lee Cash, Saul Conway. Subs: Paul Lenchner, Brad Lazarus, Max Radford, Matt Kleinman
SCORERS: Conway 3, Pearson 2
MAN OF THE MATCH: Alex Levack