MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS DIVISION ONE
London Lions 3 Crawley Green 2
London Lions made it six wins on the spin and moved into the top six in the South Midlands League with a superb 3-2 home win against high-flying Crawley Green.
A brace from Craig Ellis and one from Daniel Stanton kept Lions on course for that elusive second place.
The Lions produced another high octane performance to preserve a superb unbeaten run with a terrific 3-2 home win over in-form opposition.
The visitors themselves were on somewhat of a great run having been unbeaten in their last nine matches so one would have been forgiven for thinking today had a draw written all over it.
On a fantastic sunny day at Broxbourne Borough FC, Lions were forced to make two changes to the side that beat New Bradwell St Peter 6-1 the previous week. Declan Green replaced Mario Cenolli in goal and Ellis came in for skipper Dean Nyman. Ricky Engleman and Michael Sacks made up the remainder of the squad.
It was clear from the off to see why Crawley Green are so effective. Employing a very direct game playing with two very physical forwards in Vinny Shrieves and Lee Hayward, they also have a left back in Craig Savage who has one of the longest throws in the league and is able to launch dangerous balls into the box. And in Jamie Warne they have a very dangerous left winger.
The Lions players have come on leap and bounds in recent months and have shown on more than several occasions in recent months that they can now mix up their games when needed.
David Souter, who captained the side in Nyman’s absence, led the back line effectively and efficiently as he has done consistently over recent weeks, ably supported by Kyle Bentwood, Ben Lampert and Adam Myeroff.
It was the visitors who took the lead. Caught blind side and with a moments hesitation, Myeroff got caught in possession and sniffing half a chance the busy Stuart Strange nipped in and crossed for Hayward who out jumped Lampert to head home.
Keterman then had a couple of decent chances to get the home side on the score-sheet but neither opportunity came to anything.
With Daniel Stanton, Andy Glynne and the impressive Ellis showing great tenacity in the middle of the park one sensed it would not be long before the Lions drew level.
After a sustained period of pressure, Lions were finally rewarded. Josh Kennet produced some excellent attacking play down the right before finding Ellis in space. Ellis took one touch to drive past Gary Capehorn before striking a beautifully placed shot from 20 yards past the diving Dean Bull.
As the game etched towards half-time Lions went in front. Great work from Sam Sloma down the Lions left, allowed Stanton a goal scoring opportunity. His effort somehow hit the post but luckily for Lions rebounded off the covering defender and back into the goal. Lions deserved to be in front at the whistle.
The visitors drew level after the interval. A great run from Warne saw him cut inside Myeroff and unleash an unstoppable shot which flew past Green in the Lions goal and into the back of the net.
It really was game on again and anyone’s guess as to which way it would go. Crawley were not sitting back and resting on their laurels and nor were Lions as both went in search for that important winner.
With 15 minutes remaining it was Lions who came up trumps thanks to another sweet strike from Ellis which was to prove decisive. As Ellis picked up the ball 25 yards from goal it did not seem possible that the resulting shot would prove to be the winning goal. Showing great composure he worked the space, picked his spot and lashed the ball home sparking wild celebrations.
The final whistle brought to an end a great game of football which was a fantastic advert for South Midlands football.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: "It is nice not only to put in a terrific team performance but also follow it through with another great result.
"The lads are working really hard at training and that has created a real togetherness which is shining through in our football.
"The current run the team are on and the football they are playing cannot be understated. It is fantastic to see arguably some of the best Jewish footballers in the country playing so well collectively at a very competitive level.
"Ten games remain added with a demanding fixture list in March so we will continue to take each one as it comes and see where it takes us.
"A top five finish would be an outstanding achievement and one the players can be extremely proud of."
Lions: Declan Green, David Souter (capt), Kyle Bentwood, Ben Lampert, Adam Myeroff, Craig Ellis, Daniel Stanton, Andy Glynne, Josh Kennet, Sam Sloma, TJ Keterman (sub: Ben Ellis). Subs not used: Michael Sacks, Ricky Engleman