Lions Come From Behind Again to Take 3 Points and Extended Winning Run to 19 Matches!
Cinderford 2-3 Lions
A slightly shorter match report this week as I was busy reffing!
The Lions were without the dynamic duo of Harry D and Thomas for the match away at Cinderford on Saturday, but their ranks were bolstered by Hugh who was available to make his first appearance of the season. Due to a combination of both the lack of a league official and the Cinderford coaches’ reluctance I volunteered to referee – which is always a pleasure down in the Forest!
The Lions started with a strong squad with Luca in goal, protected by a back two of Noah and Louis. George F and Freddie continued their partnership in the centre of midfield and were flanked by Dylan and Nina on the right and left wings respectively. The Lions prolific strikeforce of George and Olly started upfront, with Olly dropping into the number 10 role for the first half. Harry C and Hugh were eagerly awaiting their chance from the bench.
The match was relatively even in the opening exchanges with neither team really able to take control for any period of time. The Lions attack continued to probe for gaps in the Cinderford back three and the Lions defensive players all kept hold of the dangerous Cinderford attackers.
With around 12 minutes played the deadlock was broken when Cinderford pounced on a Lions goal kick and the attacker made no mistake in firing past Luca to make it 1-0 to the home team.
The Lions kept their heads up and continued to battle for every ball with Harry C and Hugh joining the action to add to the strength at the back for the Lions.
Olly and George E had been linking up particularly well in this first half and with around 20 minutes played this paid off. Olly carried the ball out of midfield to exploit the space in front of the Cinderford back three and laid the ball off to George E who was to his right on the edge of the box. George fired the ball in across the goalkeeper to find the inside of the far post, giving the keeper no chance of keeping it out.
The remaining 10 minutes of the first half saw the Lions and Cinderford battle for the ball in the midfield with Louis, Freddie, Nina, Dylan, George F, Noah, Harry C and Hugh all on top of their game to nullifying the opposition threat.
As the referee blew for half time the match remained tied with the result still in the balance. The Lions rearranged slightly at half time with Olly pushing forward and George E playing either just behind or from the left wing in the second half.
The second half continued much as the first half had finished with chances from open play proving hard to come by and set-pieces began to take centre stage.
After a tense opening ten minutes of the half where tackles were starting to fly in from the opposition, the Lions edged themselves ahead from a corner. The ball was whipped in by Dylan but the defence were able to get to the ball just ahead of Olly and Nina to knock the ball away from goal. Luckily for the Lions this clearance fell straight to George E just inside the box who sent a first time strike straight back across goal which the keeper barely even saw before it nestled in the back of the net. 2-1 to the Lions with their perseverance and excellent attacking play being rewarded on the scoreboard.
Everyone continued to play their hearts out and, despite being on the receiving end of some wayward tackles, kept their composure for the rest of the 2nd half.
Luca was forced into action over the next 5 minutes or so, making excellent saves with both hands and feet to keep the lions ahead in the game.
Cinderford did manage to equalise with ten minutes left, and again it was a set piece which created the goal. The Cinderford player whipped the ball in and the striker was unmarked just a couple of yards out from goal and was able to stoop and head the ball in to make it 2-2 as the game entered its final stages.
The Lions have shown time-and-time again that they never give up and saw this goal merely as a temporary setback as it took less than a minute for them to take the lead again, from yet another corner. This time George E was on corner duty and put a tempting ball in towards the front post, which was met by Dylan who attacked the ball turned the ball in with the back of his head from close range. The Lions had edged ahead again to make it 3-2 and the game restarted with around nine minutes left.
The final few minutes were not without their controversy as with 4 minutes left the Cinderford coaches and parents protested loudly that they should have had a freekick on the edge of the Lions box. From the perspective of the referee (who did have players in between him and the incident) it seemed like a 50/50 ball where both players swung towards each other (and the ball) and George E got a touch on the ball before the players made contact with each other and the Cinderford player went down. From the perspective of the opposition coaches and parents the Cinderford player had been kicked in a dangerous manner, and their disagreement with this one decision led to the referee being accused of cheating. Anyway, the match was restarted with Cinderford in possession and the Lions spent the last 4 minutes of the match defending a number of corners.
The resolute Lions defence held out and as time was called the Lions secured a well-deserved 3-2 victory to extend their unbeaten run and get their first win of the season.
The players all played superbly on the day but Louis was selected as player of the match for a solid and tough tackling performance in midfield and defence and for some excellent passing to set his teammates on the attack.
Captain – George F
Goals – George E x2, Dylan
Assists – Olly, George E
Player-of-the-match - Louis