Lions overcome a tricky test to stay in second spot

Joe Lippett was in the thick of the action for Stamford Lions
Joe Lippett was in the thick of the action for Stamford Lions
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Stamford Lions remain in second spot in the Peterborough League Premier Division table after registering their eighth successive league win with a 4-2 away victory at Sutton Bridge on Saturday.

Manager James Sheehan was pleased to negotiate a tricky trip for his in-form side against newly-promoted opposition.

He said: “We were pleased to get the fixture on a sunny day as it has been a notoriously tough place to go and get three points in the past.

“We were not at our best but again our attacking threat has won us the game. We were all very pleased to come away with a solid win and the three points.”

The Lions started on the front foot and looking for an early goal as Tom Lees beat his marker but put too much on his cross as he looked to pick out the unmarked Luke Ball charging into the area.

Tom Edwards then had a shot well saved before Neil Speck fired just wide as Sutton Bridge weathered the early pressure and then grew into an attacking threat themselves.

Goalkeeper Aiden Finn palmed away a fierce shot before tipping a free kick around the post at full stretch while Joe Lippett then made a vital headed clearance with the forward waiting to pounce.

With half-an-hour played, the game was well balanced until Edwards curled a free kick around the wall and past the keeper to open the scoring.

The goal turned the game into the Lions’ favour and the lead was soon doubled when Rob Montgomery rose the highest to head home a Lees cross.

The Stamford side looked to kill off the game as the first half neared the whistle. Ball was played in but was denied by a brave save from the keeper before a second chance saw the leading scorer fluff his shot in a rare miss.

With injury time being played at the end of the first half, Sutton were given a lifeline back into the match when a deep cross saw Lees tangle with the forward who hit the deck and a penalty was awarded and dispatched confidently to halve the deficit.

Both sides had chances early in the second half as Lions captain Danny Sheehan made a superb last ditch block to deny a goal scoring opportunity while at the other end, Lees was just inches away from turning the ball into an empty net after Josh Collins had rifled a low cross past the keeper.

Edwards then saw his free kick well saved and Finn did well at the other end to gather a cross under pressure.

Both sides were pushing for a goal and it arrived with less than 20 minutes to play courtesy of top scorer Ball, as he slid the ball past the keeper after being played in by Lees. It’s the seventh successive game that Ball has scored and that was his 11th strike in seven games.

Sutton Bridge did not give up though were soon back in the game when a header was flicked on in midfield and well finished.

The game was then delayed for more than 10 minutes as a clash of heads involving Lippett left the Sutton Bridge forward with a nasty gash on his head.

As the game resumed it was the Lions who looked the fresher and Collins made a surging run into the box and was met by a clumsy tackle that resulted in a penalty. Edwards fired home the spot kick and the two goal cushion was restored.

With only a minute remaining Sutton Bridge were reduced to 10 men when Lippett was the target for an off the ball incident.

The victory leaves Lions four points behind table-topping Moulton Harrox, but the Stamford side do have a game in hand.

Moulton edged to a narrow 3-2 home success over Langtoft at the weekend with goals from Robbie Ellis and Darryl Todd giving the high-flyers a fright.

Netherton remain two points behind Lions after a 5-1 home success over Deeping Rangers Reserves whose consolation came from Rob Conyard.