MASTERSBALLWEBLondon Lions suffered a heartbreaking defeat at Hatfield as they were denied a deserved points by a 90th minute free-kick.

Spartan South Midlands League Division One:
Hatfield Town 2 London Lions 1
Tuesday, 14 April, 2015

TABLE

The Gosling pitch was once again at its grand best, rock hard and bumpy and those faithful few watching from the stands had their neck braces at the ready. To the hosts’ credit, they moved the ball around with purpose and always tried to play where possible and Lions had to have their wits about them from the start.

The tempo of the game was high and in the early stages it was Hatfield taking the initiative, pressing and probing, but they were unable to penetrate

Lions had their opportune moments but too many long hopeful balls either ran through to the goalkeeper or were blasted high and wide of the goal. On the half-hour mark, Lions somewhat against the run of play, took the lead. Once again talisman Charlie Kasler showed his footballing qualities taking a rasping shot from 20 yards which left the Hatfield goalkeeper with no chance – it was a strike of the highest quality.

The lead lasted 10 minutes, as five minutes before half-time, Hatfield were back on level terms. From Lions’ perspective it was a soft goal, from Hatfield’s it was the minimum they deserved for their first-half endeavours. As they did on Saturday, Lions made a few tactical adjustments at the break and came out a different proposition for the second period. The visitors suddenly found themselves on the back foot as Lions pressed and explored the space just in front of the home side’s back four. David Soutar, Tony Gold, Charlie Kasler and Omri Brinner all had opportunities to extend the visitors lead, but Hatfield’s goal led a charmed life.

The Lions’ back four looked comfortable with Will Beresford and Nick Landesberg putting in a terrific shift. With the game entering injury time and a good point looking like it was secured for Lions, the referee awarded an extremely debatable free-kick to Hatfield 18-yards from goal. It was debatable due to the fact that the free-kick should have gone the other way, with the foul very much looking like it was committed on the Lions player and not the opposition opponent. Cenolli lined up his wall but the free-kick was just too good, as the ball sailed over the five standing bodies and nestled exquisitely into the left hand corner of the goal. It was a rough bit of justice for Lions, as they certainly did enough in the second-half to gain a point, but far too many times this season Lions have been undone by small margins in games.

Player-manager Tony Gold said: “It was another case of so close. We have played the top five in our last six games and taken five points, losing two of the games by one goal. Small margins but enough to make the difference. In the end it was Hatfield’s night, we felt given our second-half performance we deserved at least a draw, but sometimes football is like that.

“If the 11,12, 13 players that rock up from game to game continue to show that fighting spirit and effort we will be fine in our remaining five fixtures and hopefully finish with a few more wins.”