MOLTEN SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
New Bradwell St Peter 1 London Lions 6
London Lions made it four wins on the bounce following a two-week break due to the adverse weather, to move up to seventh in the league with a scintillating 6-1 away win at New Bradwell St Peter.
The visitors had a score to settle following last season’s 4-0 defeat and settle it they did.
Two goals from man-of-the-match TJ Keterman and one-a-piece from Dean Nyman, David Soutar, Josh Kennet and Ben Ellis wrapped up a fantastic afternoon's work.
Lions recent surge up the league table has been no fluke. Victory over New Bradwell St Peter on Saturday was their fourth consecutive straight win on the bounce.
Tony Gold's men have come a long way since the first three months of the season where they picked up only seven out of 30 points. Since October Lions have lost four out of 20 games which has seen them rise to seventh in the league and three points off third.
The team is now unrecognisable to the flimsy outfit that started the season. It now has real quality in all positions, strength in depth and a real cohesiveness throughout the squad.
New Bradwell did not hold to many fond memories for Lions. Last year Lions were comprehensively beaten 4-0 in a lacklustre performance that Gold described as "shocking".
After the heavens opened up just before kick-off spraying the pitch with water, the sun came out and the football got under way.
Lions started brightly and never looked back taking the game to their hosts with some great football on a testing surface.
The first goal of the afternoon was scored by TJ Keterman following some great play and vision by Sam Sloma.
Lions doubled that lead shortly after when Kennet’s free-kick evaded everyone including the keeper and rolled into the net.
As the half drew to a close Lions missed two great chances to score a third. Firstly, Keterman shot wide when well placed and then secondly, Dean Nyman blazed over from 12 yards. However, the latter managed to make amends just before the half-time whistle and put Lions in a commanding 3-0 lead with a superbly executed finish.
Lions had to contend with defending the hill in the second half and were grateful for the three goal lead as New Bradwell showed a little more purpose.
Lions went 4-0 up as Keterman scored his second of the game finishing off another impressive move from the away side.
Ellis and Connor Perlmutter were introduced with 30 minutes remaining replacing Kennet and new daddy Adam Myeroff, who had a baby boy earlier in the week.
It didn’t take Ellis long to get on the scoresheet as he pulled away from his marker after being put clear by Sloma and finished coolly with of all things his left foot.
Lions made it six with 15 minutes remaining. Soutar rose like a salmon from a corner to head home impressively.
The hosts pulled back a late consolation to finish off the scoring but it was to be a great afternoon for the Lions.
Steve Grenfell, Lions’ assistant-manager and coach, said: "Our recent run of good form is reflecting all the hard work shown by the lads in training.
"It is a real shame we didn’t have this cohesiveness and quality for the first three months of the season because we would now without doubt be real title contenders.
"Our aim now is to continue to finish the season strongly with second place still achievable although out of our hands and finish as high as we can.
"We finished eighth last season and given the start we made to this season taking only 7 points from the first 10 games to finish higher than that would be incredible."
Meanwhile, Lions manager Tony Gold was tying up the loan signing of ex-Bradford City winger Liam Bartle for the remainder of the season from Hemel Hempstead whose first team play in the Evo-Silk Southern Premier league.
Gold said: "Liam is one of few Jewish footballers to have played consistently at a very good level. Hemel haven’t had the best of season's to date and injury has kept Liam on the sidelines for long periods. However, now fully fit and looking to get playing again his experience and winning mentality will be infectious and I am sure he will settle in really well for the time he is here."