SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
LONDON LIONS 0 HARPENDEN TOWN 1
A poor first half showing cost London Lions their unbeaten start to the season as league leaders Harpenden Town won a closely contested game 1-0.
A first-half headed goal from a corner was all that separated the sides and but for a spectacular save from the visiting goalkeeper with 10 minutes of the game remaining, Lions would have taken in the end what would have been a deserved point following a sustained and much improved second half.
Both Lions and Harpenden had made strong solid starts to the season so this was always going to be a close contest. It was the visitors, however, who edged the first 45 minutes with far more endeavour and a greater work ethic.
That endeavour paid off 25 minutes into the game after a sustained period of pressure resulted in a corner. A terrific delivery was met at the far post and headed powerfully into the roof of the net.
Lions were just not at the races and a super save from Matt Davis 10 minutes before half-time kept the home side in the game.
As the referee blew for the interval Lions could count themselves lucky that they were still in the game.
One change at half-time saw Andy Glynne replaced by Adam Myeroff, with Craig Ellis moving from right-back into centre-midfield.
Whatever was said at half-time and with the tactical change, it seemed to kick-start Lions into gear and for the following 45 minutes Lions looked more like the side that had won 14 out of 15 games so far this season.
All the pressure was now being applied by Lions now and it seemed only a matter of time before they drew level.
That moment arrived with 10 minutes remaining but an unbelievable save from the Harpenden keeper denied Lions what would have been a deserved equaliser.
In the end Harpenden left Hemel with all three points and Lions were left to reflect on what might have been.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: "We paid the price for a poor first-half performance - simple as that.
"We were complacent and didn’t actually get going until the 46th minute of the game, but the damage was already done.
"The players are hurting after that tonight but they only have themselves to blame. On Saturday they have a chance to put it right and I expect an immediate reaction."
Lions: Matt Davis, Guy Morris (capt), Michael Sacks (sub: Adam Myeroff), Andy Glynne (sub: David Soutar), Sam Sloma, Josh Kennet, Dan Stanton, Aron Barnes, Craig Ellis, Guy Helman, Adam Bolle ((sub: Ben Ellis)