Lions FC 3 (Madle 52′; Thompson 60′; Shepherd 90+5′)
Eastern Suburbs 0
Second half goals to Marek Madle, Andy Thompson and Nathan Shepherd gave Lions FC a deserved 3-0 success over Eastern Suburbs in the rescheduled RD20 NPL clash at Lions Stadium.
A tense first half saw few chances for either side but it was the visitors who almost went ahead in the first minute when Preston Hugo struck the post with their first attack of the game.
Lions then found the woodwork themselves on 8 minutes when Joe Duckworth’s cross was cleared only as far as Thompson who drilled the ball goalward from 25 yards, beating Easts keeper Sam Long but not the upright.
Shortly after Duckworth then tested Long with an effort that forced a good save from the Tiger’s gloveman.
In a half of limited opportunities, the only other chance fell the way of the visitors and they should have taken the lead 36 minutes when Preston Hugo, having forced a rare save from Luke Borean to win a corner, had a free header from the resulting set piece but could only guide the ball wide.
The second half saw Lions dominate the play and soon after the restart they took the lead.
A pin point cross from Josh Brindell-South saw Lions top goal scorer Madle jump and beat an onrushing Long to the ball, heading high into the back of the net for the opener.
Minutes later the hosts doubled their lead with yet more good work down the left side. This time Mitch Hore’s deep cross evaded an attempted bycile kick from Madle but not the boot of Thompson who slammed it past Long at the back post to make it 2-0.
Lions continued to press and looked the most likely to score again but wasted a handful of guilt edged opportunities to kill off the Tigers.
Midway through the half Madle almost had his second when breaking clear. With the Easts defence closing him down, he curled a power shot from the edge of the box around Long, only to see it cannon off the bar.
With less than 10 minutes remaining substitute Nathan Shepherd powered his way to the edge of the box, picking up Duckworth’s through ball, before cutting it across the box for Hore who’s effort was superbly blocked by Long.
Minutes later, Hore was yet again thwarted, this time by the bar when Shepherd teed up the Lions midfielder, but from just 8 yards out, he managed to find the woodwork when it looked easier to find the net.
The misses kept coming just over a minute later with Duckworth in on goal. With just Long to beat from just inside the box, he managed to fire his effort wide of the mark.
With the game deep in added time, Lions finally put the icing on the cake when Shepherd capitalised on a loose ball when Long was unable to hold Shaun Carlos’s effort, the ball squirming loose and leaving an easy tap in from close range for the Scotsman.
In the end it was a dominant display with a scoreline that could easily have been double.
Next up is a trip to Brisbane City for the ‘El Classico’. A repeat of their previous meeting would be welcome.
“We were pleased with a win and pleased with a clean sheet. I was happy with the second half and although we played well in the first half, we were poor in the final third which has been a common theme of our season. I’m sure we’ll find solutions and ways to make that final pass count.”
“When we got the first goal we felt we were in control and I was happy with how we went on, happy to get the win and keep a clean sheet.
Team Line ups:
Borean (gk), Jarrard, Madle, Simic, Hore, Duckworth, Macuace, Brindell-South, Thompson, Kim, Carlos.
Subs: Riley (rgk), Shepherd, Hatfield, Reardon, Walpole.
Long (gk), Byrne, Leggett, Barnett, Yang, Son, T. Hugo, Meyer, Balarezo, Farina, P. Hugo.
Subs: Damsma (rgk), Midkiff, Fulton, Sparksman, McGowan.
Referee: Lara Lee