London Lions visited Letchworth Eagles in the first of a two consecutive games against the league leaders – and fell to an undeserved defeat.
Herts Senior County League Premier Division:
LGC Eagles 1 London Lions 2
Saturday, 13 February, 2016
On a bitterly cold, wet and windy afternoon with a heavy Letchworth pitch, it was going to be all about desire, attitude and teamwork.
Lions started brightly and James Gershfield brought a good save from the Eagles keeper after 18 minutes, a minute later Nick Landesberg went close, his headed attempt just looping over the bar from a Will Beresford corner.
Zac Rose, playing as an attacking right-back, worked his way to the Eagles box and was scythed down only for the referee to give a free-kick on the edge despite the claims of the Lions players that the foul was well inside the box.
But the Eagles broke the deadlock five minutes later, when Rose was muscled off the ball leaving Ruby Rabstein with no chance as Charlie Thake powered his effort into the goal to give Letchwoth a 1-0 lead. This took the edge of the Lions team and Eagles went close again and only a great save from Rabstein kept Lions in the match. But with just five minutes remaining before half-time, Letchworth doubled their lead when Paul McGennity headed home when left unmarked at the far post from the in swinging corner.
Lions came out for the second half with their tails up and the wind assisting. Charlie Kasler went close with his free-kick just going past the post, and on the hour, an Eagles player handled the ball in his own penalty area only for the referee to ignore his assistant who had flagged the offence and continue with play, despite strong appeals from the Lions team.
Adam Burchill, Adam Abodi and Nathan Schindler came on for Austin Lipman, Josh Pistol and Rose as Lions threw everything at Letchworth. Max Kyte and Josh Kennet moved up front to join Gershfield and the last 15 minutes saw the Eagles start to feel the pressure.
With five minutes to go, Gershfield scored with a great finish to halve the deficit, but Lions were unable to get the equaliser that they probably deserved, leaving the team left thinking what would have been the result had either or both of the penalty shouts been given.
They travel next week to the same venue with the same opponents in the Anagram Trophy, hoping for a different result and a stronger performance – which will be required to get a victory.