|Managerial masterstroke yields second win for Lions B
By Hadley Silver
JC MSFL Prem Div: Faithfold A 1 LM Lions B 2|
On a blustery morning in Bushey Lane, Lions B took to the field determined to put right a string of defeats against a Faithfold side just starting to find their rhythm in the Maccabi Premier League.
Gavin Stollar was able to field a strong 14 including the experience of centre halves Danny Schindler and Nick Astaire, Bradley Lazurus and the debut of Dan Levy and the return from injury absentee Danny Rueben.
It was in fact the latter that gave the Lions first blood in what saw good hassling from skipper Hadley Silver down the left forcing the exuberance from the home goalkeeper dribbling the ball from outside the area and subsequently losing it for Rueben to cleverly chip over a couple of defenders in to the what was then the empty net.
Faithfold started to play their usual style of football with Elliott Cohen and Daryl Phillips a threat each time they were on the ball. The ex-Lions B player Richard Baum was also in the thick of the action committing players with mazy runs before being pulled down on several occasions at the edge of the box. Although the resulting free kicks saw no danger it was one of these mazy runs and a lay off to Phillips that saw Lions keeper Ben Adaki pull of a brilliant save low down and not being the first time he was called into action proved that each game his confidence is growing and will not be long before he will be pushing for a place in the first team.
The pressure was mounting from the home team and excellent defending, bravery from Schindler, Firmin, Astaire made sure that the away goal was well protected.
A tactical move from Stollar, moving Scott Levy from central midfield to centre forward alongside the hardworking Lazurus paid dividends and the crucial second goal came. Neat interchanges from Faithfold midfield broke down and with the loose ball there to be won it became a straight race between Silver and Levack, Silver not known for his blistering pace managed to slide to the ball first and cleverly played Levy in for him to finish with aplomb. Levy not needing many chances to convert goals made it three from four and is in hot form.
After half time the expected happened. Faithfold came out searching for a route back in to the game and found one as early as the 46th minute. A long ball from Paul Lenchner found the head of Phillips who neatly headed home for what looked like a quick comeback.
Lions defended deep but were committed with both full backs Dan Levy and Sam Castle excelling in their roles.
Faithfold rattled the bar, clearances off the line and the rare attack from the Lions was the pattern for the remainder of the game however a sterling team performance and a vital three points was what was claimed in the end to the away team.
Lions boss Gavin Stollar said: "Today was a 'backs against the wall' victory. My team defended resolutely and took the chances we had. Faithfold will feel they should have taken something from the game but we've had that feeling three of four times this season and have come away with nothing. I'm a firm believer that things even themselves out over a season and we are delighted with this win. Special mention to Danny Schindler and Dan Levy - both were immense today."