SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
CRANFIELD UNITED 1 LONDON LIONS 3
Strikes from Andy Glynne, David Soutar and an own goal earned London Lions three excellent points as they rekindled their promotion hopes with an impressive performance at fourth place Cranfield United.
Having endured an incredibly difficult start to the season, the Lions put in a phenomenal effort to come away with a deserved victory.
The Lions lost Kyle Bentwood and Danny Berg before kick-off due to two freak injuries and with Sam Sloma already out injured, the team that lost so valiantly to London Colney the week before had to be reshuffled. Ben Ellis started up front, Soutar moved into centre-half alongside Guy Morris and Josh Kennet switched into an attacking midfield role. Dan Lipman and Ben Joseph made up the Lions bench after the reserve team game got called off.
The visitors sprang out of the traps with Matt Stock, Dean Nyman and Kennet all looking threatening in forward areas.
Lions forced two early corners and it was the latter one that they took the lead from. Kennet drilled in an awkward ball which caused panic in the home team's defence. Unable to clear the danger the ball hit a Cranfield defender and spun into the goal.
It was just the start the Lions wanted. That lead was doubled 10 minutes later but where there may have been an air of fortune in the first goal there was no such detail in the second.
Kennet once again delivered a teasing cross which Soutar attacked with purpose and rising above his marker he expertly guided the ball home with his head.
Cranfield continued to play their part in an end to end game playing some composed and effective football of their own and following a decent 10-minute spell pulled a goal back. Lions allowed the home side to get in behind and from six yards and unchallenged were allowed an easy tap in which Mario Cenolli could do nothing to prevent.
Lions then soaked up a brief spell of pressure before doubling their lead again just before the break. Andy Glynne, who has been in a rich vein of goal scoring form, finished off a great team move which involved several players and quick one-two passing.
The Lions management must have been very happy with that first 45 minutes but no-one could have predicted a goalless second 45 minutes.
A fine goalkeeping performance from Cenolli in the Lions goal and with defences from both sides coming out on top that is exactly what happened.
Andy Glynne, David Soutar, Ben Lampert and Josh Kennet put in some eye catching performances but stand-out performance of the day went to Matt Stock with the only element missing from his 90 minute contribution being a goal.
To beat a team fourth in the league, in their own back yard and on the back of a heart breaking quarter-final defeat shows great character.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: “I have the utmost respect for Cranfield Utd. They are a strong footballing side and are very well run. To come here on the back of a very unlucky defeat last week, play the way we did and get three points takes a lot of courage and I have nothing but admiration for my squad.
“What makes the win even more impressive is the fact we did it without Sam Sloma, Danny Berg, Kyle Bentwood and Ricky Engleman which shows the depth and quality of the squad we have worked so hard to construct.
"Nine points off second place gives us a fantastic target to chase.
“We now lose Guy Morris for a minimum of a month which will be a real loss. In many respects he is irreplaceable. He is a great competitor and winner and always leads by example but we still have a good enough squad to cope with his departure.
“Now we have a much deserved rest before our last game of 2011 against Hoddesdon on the December 27."
Lions: Mario Cenolli, Guy Morris, Adam Myeroff, David Soutar, Ben Lampert, Josh Kennet (sub: Ben Joseph), Daniel Stanton, Matt Stock, Andy Glynne, Dean Nyman, Ben Ellis (sub: Dan Lipman)
Scorers: own goal, Andy Glynne, David Soutar
MOM: Matt Stock