It was a wet and rainy day down in London, but neither the weather nor the 4 hour car journey dampened the spirit of the players. The game started with both teams being evenly matched, possession shared between the two teams as players sized each other up. The Titans soon found form and began mounting pressure on the Lions’ backline, winning a free kick just in front of their attacking centre circle. This free kick was flicked on by another Titans player, ultimately finding the feet of an unmarked Titans striker in the box. The Titans were now 1-0 up after the first 15 minutes. However, the Lions did not give up. Attitudes remained positive and the players continued to pressure the Titans, with most of the last 20 minutes of the first half spent in the Titans’ half, unfortunately however not being able to find that finishing touch to equal the scoreline. The half time break came with the score still at 1-0 to the home team.
The second half whistle blew and the Lions continued the form they had shown at the end of the first half, taking the play to the Titans and forcing them to sit in their own half. With the ball coming over the top of the Lions’ backline and landing at the feet of an offside Titans player, an unclear decision saw the scoreline increase to 2-0 with a Titans’ striker having a free shot on goal. The Lions took this on the chin, but after battling hard to find the equaliser and coming away another goal down was hard felt by most of the players on the pitch. With the Lions down in spirit, the Titans soon capitalised on this and scored their third goal from another structured attack. The Lions worked hard to keep the scoreline as it stood, opting for “the best defence is a strong attack” approach with Asher D making some great movements off the ball up the pitch and demonstrating key skills on the ball to eliminate players. Asher D took a shot, passing the keeper but unfortunately being cleared off the line by a well positioned Titans player. On another attacking move, entering the 18 yard box, Asher D was brought down by a Titans defender, unfortunately this was not awarded a penalty, with Craig I receiving a yellow card for dissent. With a comeback becoming unachievable, the Titans continued to apply structured pressure to the Lions, resulting in the scoreline finishing at 4-0 to the home team.
Manager Craig I reviewed the match as a test of the Lions’ mental strength and willpower to focus in a situation where decisions weren’t going their way, as they often do in sport and still play the football they have proved they can in previous matches. There were many positives to take from the match, with great attacking football for long periods of both halves and an overarching effort shown by all players on the pitch. It was great to see everyone so positive after a hard-fought match.
On behalf of the Lions, I would like to say thank you to the London Titans for hosting us in the GFSN national league, thank you to the players for making the long journey down to London in less than ideal conditions and thank you to supporters John S and Basil L for cheering on the Lions from the sideline.
Next week, the Lions take on the Brighton BLAGSS at our home venue of Gresham playing fields. Details of this game can be found on the Fixtures page of the website.
We hope to see you there!