Away league match played on 25 November 2012.
Kicked off at 11:30 AM

With the Lions still licking their wounds from last week’s exit from the League Cup and end to their seven game winning run, it was back to league business this week for a very important Selkent C League game away against Titan Tigers Black. It must be said though that the boys did themselves proud last week against B league opposition playing one under par half and only a bizarre refereeing decision denying them victory in the other game. The B league will not be taking the Lions lightly next year if they achieve their much deserved promotion.

This week brought a new challenge to the Lions they were to be without their manager Jason for the whole weekend and goalkeeper Josh for Sundays match. Martin took charge for the weekend, taking training on the Saturday which was arranged at a rain soaked Phoenix football ground. Again, the inclement weather had put pay to the training sessions for most other clubs but not the Lions. Martin had drafted in the assistance of coaches Shaun, Joel and Ryan who put the boys through their paces with passing sessions, shooting sessions and special goalkeeping sessions for Josh & Tom. A drenched and tired set of Lions were fully prepared for what the Tigers would possibly throw at them on Sunday.

The weather prospects were not great and parents and Lions spent the night wondering if the torrential rain would stop and allow a match to take place. Good news – The rain ceased overnight and the morning sun and strong wind lent a hand in drying out the pitch – the match was on!

With Josh absent, it was down to an eager Tom to deputise in goal. Unfortunately for Tom he had to play in worn out goalkeepers gloves and Archie’s tracksuit top as no goalkeepers top could be found (not exactly the premiership !!). Did this affect him? Of course not!

In the first half the Lions were playing up the slope and against an extremely strong wind which Titan Tigers took full advantage of early on keeping the Lions camped in their own half for the first 5 minutes. That said Titan Tigers created no clear cut chances as a result due to some good defensive work by the team but especially defenders Jai & Charlie. Gradually though the Lions played their way into the game with a good run from Ben from defence resulting in a wayward shot and two good chances for Archie, one wide and one at the goalie. In the latter part of the half the Titan Tiger forward who was showing good feet was put clean through but Tom advanced from his goal and closed him down sufficiently to make him rush his shot and put it wide.

Half Time: 0-0

An unexpected scoreline you might have thought but it was generally felt that the slope of the pitch and the strong wind had played a major part and in the second half the Lions would enjoy the benefit of the downward slope and the wind at their backs.

The second half started as we had expected with the Lions on the attack and the Titan Tigers defending for their lives. It didn’t take long for the Lions to capitalise on the situation. Jack picked up the ball on the right side of midfield and beat a couple of players before being tackled, the ball broke loose over to the left hand side of the pitch but Jack showed fantastic determination, chased the player down and tackled to win the ball back. He then played a short pass to Ben who was waiting just outside the area and shot with the outside of his right foot over the Titan Tiger goalkeeper and into the top of the net. What a goal !  1-0 Lions.

You could feel the sense of relief amongst parents and players alike as the first goal seemed to settle the whole team down who then went on to completely dominate the match.

1-0 became 2-0 shortly after with continuous Lions pressure creating another corner. The corner was expertly taken by George and met in the box by a fantastic Charlie header which was parried by the Titan goalkeeper but followed up by Archie who netted with a half volley. 2-0 Lions.

It was complete one way traffic now. Henry & Archie up front were making excellent runs off the ball pulling the Titan defenders all over the place. James was making some great runs from defence with only last ditch Titan Tiger tackles from stopping him getting on the score sheet. Charlie was also making some great runs down the right and making passes from midfield which almost got the reward that his efforts deserved on a couple of occasions, the first when he met Archie cross on the volley which the goalie saved and the second when his goal bound shot was unfortunately headed over by Archie.

Archie was to make immediate amends though when another excellent George corner into the box wasn’t defended by Titan Tigers and he hammered in from close range. 3-0 Lions

The Lions didn’t have it all their own way though and with most Lions players advanced for another attack, Titan Tigers broke and played their forward in who was clean through again only for Tom to do enough to make him shoot wide. Tom then played a long kick which found its way to Henry in an advanced position, who then held the ball up fantastically and unselfishly played the ball to Archie on the right. Archie then played a first time shot from a relatively close angle across the Titans goalie and into the corner of the net. An amazing goal to round off Archie’s hat-trick. 4-0 Lions.

The fourth was quickly followed by the fifth. This time with Archie and Henry reversing roles. Archie, as provider, playing an expertly hit corner into the box and Henry making one of his trademark headers into the bottom left corner. 5-0 Lions.

It could have been worse for the Titan Tigers with a few late chances including a one on one between James and the goalie which the goalie just managed to keep out.

Full Time: Titan Tigers 0 Phoenix Lions 5

Another excellent weekend for the Lions who remain top of Selkent C League East with a record of six wins and one defeat with just two games to go. Next up is an away league match against Meridian White.

Come on you Lions !!!!!!

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