AFA VETS TROPHY QUARTER-FINAL
LONDON LIONS 7 ICARUS FC 2
Lions progressed to the semi-finals of the AFA Vets Trophy thanks to a convincing win over Icarus FC, the side representing the officers of the RAF.
With several away and with this being an over-40's competition, Lions had to work hard to get a side out, including an unwell Richard Baum. And when Bradley Lazarus pulled up lame after just 20 minutes it left only manager Danny Jacobs as substitute.
It was, however, clear from the outset that Lions were that bit fitter and stronger than their opponents, and when they got the ball down and played were able to carve out a number of opportunities. A combination though of excellent goalkeeping as well as some less than convincing ball striking saw a whole bevy of chances pass Lions by, and with 35 gone the score remained goalless.
The game though suddenly sprung to life, as before the half was up the net had been found five times. Star man Tony Gold gave Lions the lead with a first-time shot from the edge of the box that found the net off the underside of the bar, before a bizarre own goal from Lions keeper Bradley Lee levelled things up with almost Icarus' first real foray forward.
Lions responded immediately, though, with Gold turning provider for super-sub Gideon Barnett to finish from close range before they added a third through Paul Linger.
Yet a lack of concentration allowed the visitors back into the game on the half-time whistle as they broke clear and finished well.
The Lions side had learned their lessons and put the tie to bed in the opening five minutes of the half, Linger converting a fabulous volleyed finish and Myers with a towering header from a corner.
Lenchner got his customary goal before The Lord created a miracle, sending some magic into Craig 'Thierry' Henry's right foot that allowed him to spank home Gold's pull-back from 20 yards for his first Lions goal since records began.
Both teams could and probably should have added to the score as the game became stretched in the closing stages, but a match played in an excellent spirit on a fine surface at Rowley Lane was brought to a close by the referee, with Lions able to look forward to a semi-final date with Old Woodhousians on January 24.
LIONS: Bradley Lee, Tony Gold, Pete Lazard, Danny Schindler, Andy Myers, Paul Linger, Richard Baum, Danny Reuben, Bradley Lazarus (sub: Gideon Barnett), Paul Lenchner. Sub not used: Danny Jacobs
SCORERS: Craig Henry, Andy Myers, Paul Lenchner, Paul Linger (2), Tony Gold, Gideon Barnett
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Tony Gold