A match-winning hat-trick from Connor Perlmutter helped the Lions maintain joint-fifth place in the Premier Division.
MGBSFL Premier Division:
London Maccabi Lions Blue 4 Woodford Wanderers 2
Sunday, 11 January, 2015
The first half was a tight affair with Lions coming up against the wind and glare of the sun, which proved to be cause some issues for the back four of Green, Peters, Lipton and Kosky. Connor Perly forced the first chance picking up the ball on the edge of the box and forcing the keeper to tip a well struck effort over the bar. It didn’t take long for the midfield trio of Rich Gold, Lampert and Cutter to take hold of the game, moving the ball around in close triangles and using Beresford and Dan Green on either wing. On the half-hour mark Lions broke the deadlock with a dizzy run from Dan Green who linked up well with his brother to beat the offside trap and force the Woodford defence to bring him down in the box as he rounded the keeper. Despite the penalty not being given, the ball fell to the inform Perly on the left hand side of the box and his swerving shot nestled in the bottom right hand corner, leaving the keeper helpless. 1-0 Lions.
It wasn’t long before Woodford brought the pressure to Lions and it could have been 1-1 had the boys from Essex’s shot hit the bar and bounced over the line. Goal line technology showed that the ball had not crossed the line. David Kosky was forced into more action as he prevented a one on one closing the angle well and, forcing a corner. From the corner Lions had a lapse of concentration and saw some sloppy defending as the ball pin balled around and eventually ended up in the net, despite Kosky’s best effort to pull off a David Seamen-esque save vs Sheffield United in the 2002 FA cup.
With the score poised at 1-1 at half-time and a rallying team talk from Kyte, Lions came out in the second half knowing that the next goal was crucial in changing the course of the game. The ‘boys in blue’ managed to get that much needed second goal as Lampert shifted the ball to Adam Kosky on the left wing, who used some nifty footwork to beat his man and put in a low cross which found Jonny Cutter on the penalty spot. Flicking the ball up with his first touch, Cutter then rifled a powerful shot into the net which caused pandemonium in the Lions camp. 2-1 Lions.
Lions then continued to apply pressure to the Woodford defence with Richard Gold doing his best to get on the score sheet after some forceful runs which Yaya Toure would have been proud of. Unfortunately Gold’s finishing was not up to scratch. The very opposite could be said for Connor Perly who was played in neatly by Cutter and neatly finished the ball with his weaker foot to give Lions some breathing space to make it 3-1. Kyte then made a tactical shift, bringing on the stalwart Joel Rueben to sure up the Lions defence. Perly was not finished for the day and wanted to make the headlines on the Monday morning with a hat-trick and he got his deserved match ball when he was played in by Lampert to finish in the bottom corner. Credit must be given to Woodford who continued to force pressure and with Aviel Schwartz pulling the strings for the Essex team, a late comeback nearly paid off had David Kosky not tipped a shot onto the post, showing the type of form which triggered the chant ‘Lions, Number 1’ from the terraces of Rowley Lane. With Lions soaking up the pressure, Woodford did get a consolation goal and the game ended 4-2 to Lions.
An ideal start to the year gave Lions a much needed three points to boost morale in the camp. With the games coming thick and fast over the next few weeks, this was a crucial win which pleased gaffa Kyte. Men-of-the-match goes to Jonny Cutter and Connor Perly who showed their class and finesse.