SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE RESERVE DIVISION TWO
LONDON LIONS RESERVES 3 SUN POSTAL SPORTS 2
Strikes from Shai Revivo, TJ Keterman and Ben Joseph kept London Lions Reserves flying high with a two point lead at the top of the table after a battling win over SPS.
The Lions recorded an eight successive victory against a SPS side that played with a spirit, resolve and a good deal of quality that made a mockery of their lowly league position.
In fact it needed a last-minute Revivo goal to do so as a host of spurned chances and a couple of uncharacteristic defensive lapses kept this game in the balance throughout.
The visitors arrived at Rowley 10 minutes after the scheduled kick off time, but not minded to win games anywhere other than the pitch Lions agreed to a delayed start.
On the fabulous surface the hosts put together a move of real quality in the opening minute that was started and finished by Ben Joseph.
Winning the ball in midfield he fed it out wide to Revivo who skipped past the full back before delivering a delicious cross that Joseph planted into the net via a fine diving header.
As with the previous week, the visitors brought with them a goalkeeper in inspired form as he saved well from Dan Lipman and Nick Goodman while collecting various crosses with assured hands, but in truth Lions were really not ruthless enough, most glaringly when Revivo, with seemingly half the pitch to himself, failed to apply the goal that would have settled things down.
As it was the visitors' belief grew, and with some neat football of their own began to get sights of the Lions goal, the hosts indebted to the returning Berliner in goal for a couple of excellent saves of his own to keep the lead intact.
The pattern remained at the start of the second half - Lions in the ascendency but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping meant the heart rates and grey hairs in the home bench were rising by the second.
Goodman and Lipman made way for Ross Pincus and Jon Green with TJ Keterman pushed further forward. Pincus' energy combined well with Joseph and it seemed inevitable Lions would make the game safe, but when a routine Lions clearance was charged down, Postal's impressive skipper bore down on keeper Danny Berliner and fired into the bottom corner.
Stung into action Lions came again, but it seemed destined not to be their day when first the impressive Joseph drew a brilliant flying save before the woodwork twice came to Postal's rescue from Revivo headers.
This failure to convert was again almost punished, but once again Berliner excelled one-on-one as the visitors reminded all of the threat they continued to carry.
Entering the final five minutes the bench began to despair, but when a free kick was played short to Keterman on the far touchline a good 40 yards from goal he took a stride before unleashing a piledriver that simply flew into the top corner; a goal deserving of winning any game. Or so Lions thought, until from the kick off they were rocked when Postal latched onto a ball over the top and finished with aplomb to immediately level it up.
Lions though refused to give it up. After Green was denied what looked real good penalty shout a final mazy run by Keterman was ended on the edge of the box. The loose ball was collected by Revivo who made up for his earlier misses with a jinking run and curling shot that found the bottom corner. No mistake this time from Lions, who via a cheeky flick from Green with the last kick almost stretched their lead, but did enough to see the game out.
For all their quality, Lions must look to improve in the final third, as this lack of ruthlessness will likely be punished in the tough games that lie ahead.
Totternhoe have profited from this already once this season, so Lions will be hoping to make amends when they visit Rowley Lane next week.
Lions: Danny Berliner, Laurence Judah, Frank Hyman, Adam Klein, Ben Joseph, TJ Keterman, Shai Revivo, Max Kyte, Dan Lipman (sub: Jon Green), Zac Skry, Nick Goodman (sub: Ross Pincus)