Spartan South Midlands League Division One
London Lions 3 Wodson Park 0
London Lions put Saturday’s dismal performance against Kings Langley firmly behind them with a superb 3-0 win over Wodson Park at home.
Six weeks ago Wodson Park put Lions to the sword with a 4-0 thumping but this time it was a different Lions team full of passion and desire and a vastly improved team performance.
The night did not start well for the Lions as they lost Matt Stock, Jordan Marks, Stanley Offord and Josh Kennet through illness and sudden work commitments.
A complete team reshuffle meant manager Tony Gold reverting to a 4-4-2 formation with David Soutar playing upfront alongside Dean Nyman, Danny Berg and Ben Lampert playing right and left midfield respectively and Gold dropping into left-back for a rare start.
The game started at a frantic pace with Wodson Park harassing their hosts as soon as they were in possession of the ball. The difference between this Lions performance and the one on Saturday was that as a team they were far more collectively disciplined defensively.
Wodson Park tried hard to break Lions down but they just could not penetrate the Lions rearguard. Mario Cenolli in the Lions goal was finally called into action on 25 minutes making a strong save from Wodson’s number nine Ashley Wackers.
Lions immediately hit back with Dean Nyman striking the post with a vicious shot after cutting in from the right.
The game ebbed and flowed back and forth but Lions held firm and as the half came to an end they would have been proud with the way they defended.
The second half continued where the first ended with one difference, it was now Lions on the front foot taking the game to their opponents.
Wodson Park could not find the same intensity they had shown in the first half and on 60 minutes the first goal of the night arrived courtesy of Dean Nyman. Great link work from Andy Glynne, Ben Lampert and Daniel Stanton eventually released Nyman who broke free of his marker to bury the ball into the bottom of the goal.
Before Wodson Park had time to react two minutes later it was 2-0. Danny Berg delivered a perfect defence splitting ball which Nyman once again reacted first to and as he drove forward ceasing the moment he pulled back his trusty right foot and smashed his shot in off the crossbar and into the goal.
It was just what Lions deserved for the previous 62 minutes work. Seven minutes later it was game over. David Soutar sprang the off-side trap, drew the keeper out, dribbled round him and slotted home to make it 3-0.
For the final 20 minutes Lions continued to defend strongly as a team whilst playing some lovely intricate football which they have become well known for.
The referee blew his whistle to bring proceedings to a close and Lions could be delighted with a fantastic performance and a well earned three points.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: "Tonight it was important for the lads to produce a good performance and bounce back quickly following Saturday’s debacle.
"Sometimes in the face of adversity funny things happen. I had to make several forced changes close to kick-off due to unforeseen circumstances and you can never be sure how those changes will work out.
“Each and every one of the lads tonight showed real character and they should be proud of the way they conducted themselves.
"It takes great discipline to defend the way we did tonight as a team. It certainly proves that if collectively we are mentally switched on and to a man do the jobs that have been asked we are capable of producing the goods.
“Wodson Park embarrassed us six weeks ago playing us off the park, so it was nice retribution to show them what we are really capable of.
"For the first time this season we defended strongly collectively as a team and that was extremely pleasing. It has been a long time since we kept a clean sheet but the lads deserve it they worked like Trojans for it.
“To a man everyone put in a shift and for once our result really reflected the performance."