London Lions FC v Virginia Water – Saturday 1st October 2022 – Rowley Lane Sports Association

Today I came with a friend, to the Elstree/ Boreham Wood area, to watch this Combined Counties Premier Division North tie between London Lions and Virginia Water.

Alan Mattey stand at the Rowley Lane Ground

London Lions FC are known by their full name as Maccabi London Lions FC, having been founded as an all-Jewish club in the 1990s. The London Lions won the Combined Counties Division 1 in their first season at the level in 2021-22 and have made a powerful start again this season. The Lions play at the Rowley Lane ground, which they were able to return to after some time away, in 2015, once floodlights and a new stand, named the “Alan Mattey Stand” after one of their players, who had sadly passed away.

Combined Counties Premier League North Division, prior to kick off –
Courtesy of http://www.full
Virginia Water FC warm up prior to kick off.

On arrival at the ground my friend and I were directed to the very modern clubhouse and got refreshment and watched the North London derby. We also saw an active campaign to recruit for the Anthony Nolan bone marrow trust, a message which was reinforced in a welcoming conversation on the turnstile. This is a friendly club where everyone takes time to talk. The grass pitch was in great condition and the ground sits in a beautiful setting.

London Lions warm up, prior to kick off.

London Lions are currently in second place, in the 20 team Combined Counties North Premier league, with 14 points from seven games. Virginia Water FC sit back in tenth place with 9 points from just five games played. Casey Bocarro top scored, for the visitors, going into the tie, with five goals from seven games. Austin Lipman, London Lions’ forward, was their top scorer prior to the fixture, with ten goals from eight games.

London Lions Matchday team.
Both teams enter the pitch pitch, London Lions in white shorts and blue shorts. Virginia Water in an all maroon strip.

The first half was well contested with London Lions feeding into their top scorer, Austin Lipman, which he would hold up, to release others in the forward line. Virginia Water pushed hard on both flanks, creating opportunities but often being let down, by the final pass.

In the 23rd minute there was a clear foul in the box and Virginia Water‘s Casey Bocarro stepped up to take the penalty. Sadly for the away team, it was struck poorly and Samberg, in the London Lion’s goal, saved well

Penalty save on 23 minutes.

The remainder of the half saw no further clear cut chances. So both teams went into the break tied at 0-0.

The second half saw the balance of play sit more tightly with the home team. Repeatedly Weinberger and Kyte got into space down the left side, but to no avail, as the crosses failed to present any clinical opportunities.

As the final whistle approached both teams had chances but at full time a shared point seemed a fair result.

Despite the goalless score draw , this was an entertaining match and a great venue in which to watch the beautiful game.

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