LIONS LAZARAS

Bradley Lazaras fires in Lions’ late equaliser
Picture: debbieram

Another high quality game saw Lions demonstrate how far they’ve progressed in recent weeks when they took Champions Met Police all the way, eventually securing a score draw and their 1st ever points against one of the top two sides.

Garston Vets League
London Lions 1 Metropolitan Police 1
Sunday, 17 November, 2013

Although wet in places, the top pitch at Rowley Lane was in perfect condition for a match between two footballing sides. MP boast several ex-pros in their ranks and other’s who played their football in the upper echelons of non-league. Buoyed though by the previous week’s cup win Lions though entered the game in confident mood. Linger came in to partner Myers at centre back, with Rayner filling the right back slot as Greene is out until January with a slipped disc. With Henry at left back, and the four well screened by Kleinman and Reuben, the Lions rearguard excelled throughout against Police’s constant threat. Linger’s reading of the game and Myers’ typical all action display particularly stood out.

Make no mistake, this was anything but one-way traffic, and in truth it was the hosts who settled quickest. Crisp two-touch passing saw them get their runners between the Police lines, Lazarus finding room for three early strikes from range that all found the target, albeit none really troubling the goalkeeper.

Lenchner was working hard to hold the ball up and bring in the likes of Miller and Radford, the latter coming close on the quarter hour but, having done the hard work in creating a yard for himself, screwed his effort wide of the post.

The visitors though began to play, ex-Fulham player Gus Hurdle denied only by an excellent fingertip stop from Lions goalkeeper Jacobs. And Lions were indebted to their number 1 twice more before the break as the Police finished the half the stronger, although he had to thank his near post for keeping out a header from Lions old boy Tony Gold.

The second half remained an even affair.  On the hour mark both sides had great chances to take the lead. From a corner the visitors had a free header from six yards that was powered at goal only for Jacobs to be in the right place to pull off a superb block before Silver, who was becoming a more influential player by the minute, got free down the left and drove in a superb ball that neither Lazarus or Lenchner at full stretch could quite get on the end of.  More fine play from Silver saw him free Miller.  He drew his man and laid off for the on-rushing Lazarus, but his fierce strike was dragged wide.

As the game edged towards the last 15 minutes the Police finally made the breakthrough. A good advantage was played by the referee as Linger and Hurdle clashed, the ball finding it’s way to Currie who capitalised on the gap to drive into the area and strike home

In the past this would have signalled a late Lions collapse, but not this time. They kept pushing forward and were rewarded five minutes from time. Kleinman won the ball in midfield, Miller took it on and fed Silver. Again he beat his man and crossed towards Lenchner. The ball nicked off the defender into the path of Lazarus who’s first touch killed the ball, his second despatching a rocket of a strike across the keeper, nestling into the net off the far post. A great finish.

Both teams pushed for a winner, Police though coming closest when first Klienman executed an outstanding goal-saving challenge before, from the resulting corner, Jacobs showed superb reflexes in clawing away a deflected goalbound header. But the final whistle went with neither side able to secure all the points.

All seemed to agree a draw was a fair result, but there’s no doubt Lions went home the happier, knowing now that they have a side that can push these top teams all the way.
Team:
Dan Jacobs, Craig Henry, Jon Rayner, Andy Myers, Paul Linger, Andy Miller, Paul Buxton, Dan Reuben, Matt Kleinman, Paul Miller, Paul Lenchner, Bradley Lazarus, Max Radford, Hadley Silver.
Goal:
Bradley Lazarus
Star Man:
Dan Jacobs