Nottingham Lions 9-0 Soho FC (agg: 15-2)
Strongly motivated players and a true desire to progress saw the Lions breeze into the GFSN play-off semi finals in style, over a plucky Soho outfit who, to their credit, never gave in.
Lions were on the front foot immediately with James H causing havoc down the left wing. His whipped cross saw Gabi shoot wide on six minutes before intercepting a goal-kick and nonchalantly chipping a curling effort into the top corner with (would you believe it) his right foot.
James H was too hot to handle and an exquisite cross saw the visitor’s ‘keeper smother a dangerous ball at Sean M’s feet.
Soho hit back with two half chances but then the game lost it’s flow for ten minutes as numerous free-kicks were conceded, making for a rather scrappy affair.
However, Sean M chipped home from fifteen-yards to light the touch paper once more, with the game opening out with chances at both ends.
‘I felt we were relaxed…even before kick-off, because we had prepared well in training…’Ian R | Nottingham Lions manager
A superb fingertip save from debutant Liam onto the crossbar was amazing, whilst Lions missed an open goal but at least they were creating opportunities.
As half-time approached, Soho looked destined to score just two-yards out. Once again, a strong palm saw Liam keep his clean sheet intact and in doing so inspire Nottingham to kill the game with two quick goals. Gabi chipped an onrushing goalkeeper, before an energetic high press paid rich dividends as Treaders added a fourth.
A Soho corner to the back post was wasted as the unmarked player headed over.
HT: LIONS 4-0 SOHO (agg: 10-2)
With an eight goal advantage on aggregate, it would have been easy for Lions to relax but they forged on.
Robbie’s first-time shot went wide but his strong desire to win a 40/60 header was pleasing on the eye.
Mat H and Sean M had decent efforts saved but with Soho’s threadbare squad tiring, the floodgates were about to open up.
A calm head from Sean M saw a fifth from close range before Jake M “the enforcer” cooly scored his first club goal, to the delight of everyone in the home camp.
Sean M then completed his fourth career hat-trick (in only his 24th start) with a clinical finish which just oozed class.
James H rounded off an emphatic victory scoring twice more. Firstly, Gabi fired over a pinpoint cross finding an unmarked James. Then on 83 minutes, Lions club top scorer moved onto 109 goals and secured his fifth career hat-trick sneaking in at the far post.
FT: LIONS 9-0 SOHO (agg: 15-2)
If this is a honeymoon period for the new manager let’s hope it never stops. Pre-match tactics worked perfectly again. Everyone knew their roles, even if asked to play out of position.
There is a vibrancy and purposefulness within the squad and this victory further hightened the confidence gained from the character-building win in Leicester.
Fourteen months ago, Lions produced an outstanding first leg display in Islington. Today, was just the icing on the cake.
‘Everyone [is] working for and supporting each other unselfishly, and playing their roles well. All 18 players made an important contribution’ .Rob C | Nottingham Lions coach
A final word for referee Jay, who showed a no-nonsense attitude and was decisive in his decision making… another Lions success story.
Composed by John C Smith & edited/moderated by Josh Wing.