MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
London Lions 4 Kentish Town 1
London Lions ended the season on a high beating Kentish Town 4-1.
Max Kyte came off the bench to score a double, Dean Nyman bagged his 19th of the season and a bullet header from Tony Gold completed what in the end was a convincing win.
With several players still unavailable, Lions have shown in recent months that they no longer need to reply on the so called ‘bigger’ players to get results.
The Lions welcomed back Guy Morris from his travels in South America and recalled Mario Cenolli, Andy Sheena, Avi Schwarz, Ricky Engleman and Kyte to the squad.
Cenolli returned to goalkeeping duties with the back four remaining the same, Adam Myeroff, Ben Lampert, Michael Sacks and Kyle Bentwood resuming regular defensive duties. Avi Schwarz was deployed in the holding midfield role with Craig Ellis out injured and Ricky Engleman was back in his favourite attacking midfield position, with Sam Sloma out celebrating the birth of his daughter. Josh Kennet filled the remaining midfield hole with Dean Nyman, Andy Sheena and Ben Ellis leading the attack.
Earlier in the season Kentish Town had given Lions a tough, bruising encounter which the Lions won 3-0 thanks to a marvellous hat-trick from Nyman.
The visitors arrived at Broxbourne with several new faces, but intent on taking three very important points. Lions were focused on building on last weeks impressive 3-1 away win at Chesham Utd and finishing the season on a high.
Thanks to several recent downpours the Broxbourne pitch had lost that rock hard bumpy bouncing element enabling Lions to revert back to their footballing game.
Lions were virtually camped in the visitors half for the first 45 minutes of the encounter. The home side created several chances but not for the first time this season were incredibly wasteful in front of goal.
Nyman, Ellis, Kennet, Andy Sheena and Bentwood were all guilty of missing good chances although the latter was unfortunate to see his header cleared off the line.
The excellent officiating of referee Geoff Garnham allowed the game to flow and as the half drew to a close Kentish Town nearly took the lead on the counter-attack. Fortunately for Lions Walid Aimaq blazed over when in truth with a bit more composure he might have done better.
With the scores level at 0-0, even with Lions on top, it was still anyone’s game. In a half where there were no goals it was hard to imagine the watching crowd of 40 were to see five in the second period.
Ten minutes into the second half with the scores still level Lions manager Tony Gold made two changes - off came Schwarz and Sheena to be replaced by Morris and Kyte respectively.
Within minutes of the changes great work from Kennet in the middle of the park released Ellis down the Lions right. Cutting in his shot was well saved by Ryan Moore but parried to Kyte who had the awareness to follow-up and unopposed slotted home into an empty net.
Going in search of a second goal Lions were hit on the counter and a long ball over Bentwood and Sacks caused confusion as Adam Murad broke clear. Cenolli rushed out to make a brave save at his feet but the referee decided he played the man and not the ball and awarded a penalty. Upped stepped Dujon Desagurante to pull the scores level.
With the scores still level entering the final 20 minutes Gold made his third and final change bringing himself on for the hard working Engleman and reverting to a 4-4-2 with Kyte and Nyman playing as a two up front and Gold and Ellis moving into left and right midfield with Kennet and Morris holding the middle.
Five minutes later Lions forced a corner. Kennet’s superb delivery was perfectly judged by Gold as he ghosted in unchallenged to head home putting the home side back in front.
Entering the final 10 minutes Lions rammed home their superiority with two more goals. Nyman notched his 19th and final goal of the season with a well taken finish to put Lions 3-1 up.
In the final minutes Nyman once again burst clear and looked odds on to score his predicted 20th goal of the season but his shot cannoned off the crossbar from 20 yards with the rebound falling to Kyte who once again was in the right place at the right time to nonchalantly chip the ball over the recovering Moore in the visitors goal.
The final whistle blew shortly after the fourth goal was scored which brought the curtain down on a long but rewarding and enjoyable season.
Summing up the efforts of his squad this season, Lions manager Tony Gold said: "The overall fact this season is the tremendous collective fighting spirit we have shown. It has been well documented that the first three months of the season were extremely difficult. We have played 25 games since October 26 - winning 16, drawing 5 and losing 4 - that is fantastic form at any footballing level.
"We have finished the season 10 points better off than last year and joint-fifth separated on goal difference, that is a superb return from the players and more then I could have dreamed of at the beginning of the season.
"Everyone is now looking forward to a well deserved rest and I hope the lads return in June rejuvenated and excited about having a real crack at promotion next season. With the right commitment and application we have shown in recent months that we are capable.
"I would encourage any Jewish footballers out there who believe they have the ability and want to step out of their comfort zone and push themselves to get in touch and consider their football at London Lions next season."
Lions: Mario Cenolli, Ben Lampert, Adam Myeroff, Kyle Bentwood, Josh Kennet, Aviel Schwarz (sub: Guy Morris), Andy Sheena (sub: Max Kyte), Ricky Engleman (sub: Tony Gold), Dean Nyman, Ben Ellis
Man of the match: Dean Nyman