Lions FC 2 (Carlos 20′; Hatfield 90+5′)
Western Pride 0
An injury time strike from Chris Hatfield along with Shaun Carlos’s first half goal gave Lions FC a deserved but scrappy success over Western Pride at Lions Stadium on Saturday night.
In blustery conditions throughout; the game was always going to make things tricky for the players but the contest turned into a real scrap the Lions will be grateful to have come through unscathed.
The hosts almost opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes when Joe Duckworth’s header was blocked on the line following Josh Brindell-South’s ball in.
Andy Thompson’s free kick from the edge of the box just before the 20 minute mark almost crept in but a superb save from Griffin Bambach in the Pride goal denyied the Lions defender.
A minute later though the hosts did take the lead when Shaun Carlos latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the box and drilled the ball low past Bambach.
The Pride keeper was on hand to pull off a good save later in the half to deny Carlos his second on the night after good link up play between Joe Duckworth and Jheison Macuace to pick out Carlos on the edge of the box, but Bambach made a strong save.
The second half saw Pride return with greater purpose and they almost levelled on 55 minutes when Mustafa Jafari forced a good save from Luke Borean.
The game took a scrappy turn though for much of the second term with the hosts guilty of perhaps being too intricate.
Lions did have the ball in the back of the net shortly after the hour mark when Jheison Macuace was put in by Duckworth to place the ball past Bambach but Duckworth was adjudged offside when receiving the ball.
Lions pressed on and created the better of the opportunities but were unable to find that buffer to ease coach Warren Moon’s nerves.
With the clock into added time the hosts seemed to waste moments to wind down the time further but in the 5th minute of injury time, Lions broke with Marek Madle putting the ball clear into space for Hatfield to chase onto. With Bamback coming off his line, Hatfield chipped the Pride gloveman to seal the three points.
With the best defence in the league it was no surprise that Lions maintained their position at the top of the table but they’ll be pleased to have got through this local derby.
The only blip on the result was the early departure of Thompson in the 38th minute, replaced by Nathan Shepherd following a knock.
Next week sees a third consecutive home game against basement dwellers SWQ Thunder.
“The conditions made it a bit scrappy but I thought we were good in the first half. We played some good football and created plenty of chances but weren’t ruthless enough.”
“Credit to Pride, they came out in the second half with more intent to cause us problems and I think that’s why it became a bit scrappy as they were in our faces more and were a bit more direct. We had to battle it out. We’ll take the three points. It’s another tick and we’ll roll on and edge closer but it proves there’s no easy games and we have to be at out best to make sure we pick up the results.”
Team Line ups:
Borean (gk), Jarrard, M. Hore, H. Hore, Duckworth, Macuace, Reardon, Brindell-South, Thompson, Kim, Carlos.
Subs: Riley (rgk), Madle, Sawyer, Shepherd.
Bambach (gk), Scriggins, Crestani, Flavin, Jafari, Parsons, Minett, Maynard, Morrow, Nazary.
Subs: Norris, Brown, Hawash, Cupac (rgk).
Referee: John Vasiliadis