FA SUNDAY CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND
ENFIELD RANGERS 2 LONDON MACCABI LIONS A 1
A goal from top-scorer Mike Pearson could not save the Lions from tumbling out of the FA Sunday Cup.
With Enfield unable to secure a pitch for the fixture, the game against Lions was played at Rowley Lane, the winners of which would be rewarded with a long away trip to Great Yarmouth in the next round.
With Enfield fielding a number of individuals competing at a good level of Saturday football, the game would provide a useful barometer to Lions’ progress so far this campaign.
Indeed, Enfield did not disappoint in terms of quality across the pitch and really tested the Lions side early on. Makeshift centre half Yoav Lebens, along with Jake Lew, were terrific throughout and provided Lions a real platform upon which to build. The full-backs as well were very impressive, in the form of Aviel Schwarz and David Newman, the latter in particular excelling throughout.
Lions began to find their feet in the contest and Elliott Stern almost burst clear of the Rangers backline but for a simply outstanding recovery run from the impressive Matt Arnold. Stern looked dangerous throughout and his work-rate was exemplary both offensively and defensively.
David Nezri and David Goldberg began to win a lot of ball in the midfield area and Lorian Madanes and Mike Pearson as usual, were major threats on the break.
With Lions beginning to dominate spells of possession, they were particularly disappointed to concede in the manner in which they did. A free-kick from the left struck the Lions wall but the defenders were too slow to react to the deflected ball, allowing the Rangers player an excess of space as he struck a fierce drive into the bottom left hand corner leaving Sam Singer helpless in the Lions goal.
Going in at the break a goal down, Lions know they were still well in the cup tie and it was only a matter of time with their forward players that they would fashion a chance on goal.
Pearson worked tirelessly for the cause up top and it was fitting Lions would find a way back into the game through their leading scorer. A clever free kick from Madanes on the right found Stern unmarked in the Rangers box. Stern then subsequently found Pearson who rifled home into the back of the net without hesitation from his unfavoured right side. The goal was no less than the Lions side deserved but Rangers now pushed forward in numbers in search of the winner.
Captain Lebens continued on in the same vain as his outstanding first half display and centre back partner Lew was not far behind him. Singer carried on his imperious recent form with another excellent display, making crucial saves on at least three occasions to keep the scores level.
Young Deci Spiro came on for his senior debut and showed plenty of promise whilst Goldberg too, continued to excel in the midfield area as a fiercely contested match ensued.
Rangers fortuitously regained the lead with just 15 minutes remaining as an over-hit cross caught the wind and sailed in just under the bar.
Lions were unable to recover from the setback and never really tested the Rangers keeper in the remainder of the match and they will be left to rue that lack of cutting edge in the final third and a slight bit of misfortune that could have seen them in the hat for the next round.
There were plenty of positives however to take from the game and if Lions can continue on with the same attitude, application and performance over the coming weeks, results will inevitably begin to fall in place.
Lions: Sam Singer, Jacob Lew, Aviel Schwarz, David Nezri (sub: Deci Spiro), David Newman, Elliot Stern (sub: Pete Lazard), Yoav Lebens, Josh Newman, Lorian Madanes, Mike Pearson, David Goldberg