Spartan South Midlands League Division One:
Buckingham Athletic 8 London Lions 2
Saturday, 7 February, 2015
What made the result all the more galling was that the last time the club visited Athletic back in April 2013, the side secured the Spartan South Midlands Division One title thanks to a great headed goal from Ben Ellis in the final few minutes of the game.
However, fast forward two years and Lions will want to forget their latest visit as quickly as possible. Had the great American contemporary horror novelist Stephen King been in the sparse crowd watching, after the 90 minutes he would have had all the material needed to write his next bestseller.
Some of the titles of King’s previous pieces of work would have been extremely apt in summing up Lions performance on the day, Misery, Bag of Bones, Desperation, Skeleton Crew and Insomnia. With the exception of Captain Josh Kennet and the persistence of Charlie Kasler the rest of the team came up miserably short in every department. Lions cause of course wasn’t helped by the fact that they gifted their opponents four first-half goals in what can only be described as a kamikaze 45 minutes of football.
A despondent management team, lost for words, mustered together a plan for the response they wanted implemented, but the Lions team didn’t need telling, they knew their inadequate 45 minutes was completely unacceptable. Thirty seconds into the restart of the second-half and Lions responded, pulling a goal back from a great Kennet finish to make it 4-2.
That mini revival however was as good as it got for the rest of the game, as Lions once again hit the self-destruct button causing an eruption of self-capitulation on an epic scale. Three penalties, four goals, a sending off and one brawl later and Sergio Leone the director of the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly had everything he needed for the sequel. Dan Lee in one moment of madness, decided to re-enact a scene from Mean Machine and take on the role of Jason Statham’s “Monk”. Following an unnecessary tussle with one of Buckingham’s players, Lee inexcusably throw a punch which unfortunately incited a mini brawl. Once calm had been restored Lee was given his marching orders along with Buckingham’s manager and Lions had to play out the final 30 minutes with 10 men. Rick Jacobson drew the short straw and was given the job of keeping goal. Buckingham scored four more times to rub salt deeply into Lions wounds.
Lions manager Tony Gold said: “With the exception of Josh and Charlie, the rest of the players that wore the Lions badge today let the club down. In all my years having been involved with the first team I have never witnessed such a lame, pathetic, insulting and depressing performance.
“Getting beat is part of football and I never have any issues losing football matches. However, when a team rolls over before the game has even started and the attitude, desire and application isn’t there, then I do have to question the character of the players. Andy, Steve and myself were very comfortable with the side chosen given the players that were unavailable to us and that makes it even more depressing.
“The last seven months we have worked really hard to turn around what has been an incredibly difficult corner for the club in the last year. Results have improved tenfold and been good and performances at times have been excellent. Today we took a gigantic step backwards and that is what is extremely disappointing.
“I hope today was just a really bad day at the office and that on Wednesday against a very powerful and tremendously talented Broxbourne side, the players give the club a desired and anticipated response.”