Strike duo on target as Lions close gap on league leaders
Stamford Lions took advantage of Peterborough League leaders Moulton Harrox having no game by closing the gap at the top of the Premier Division table to just two points after a battling 2-1 win away at Leverington Sports on Saturday.
Their strike duo of Tom Edwards and Luke Ball netted the crucial efforts to take their joint goal tally this season to 37.
Manager James Sheehan commented: “It was the classic case of not taking our early chances when we were on top and then the game became a real battle.
“We showed the tough side to our game though. We dug in and got the desired result. It’s another tough away game that we have picked up three points from and we are pleased with that.
“Luke (Ball) and Tom (Edwards) have 37 goals between them in just 17 games. It’s a partnership that has developed into a real threat and we have reaped the benefits.
“With both lads still only in their early twenties and both showing a real hunger for every game, there is still room to improve on that.”
Lions started the game in full flow and nearly took an early lead when Danny Sheehan fired a low shot just wide of the goal within the opening minute.
Rob Forster then had an effort cleared off the line before Ball fired in the rebound but saw the shot blocked.
Stamford had the home side penned in and were probing with constant attacking football but the Leverington defence withstood the early onslaught as time and again they blocked shots and cleared crosses.
As the half hour mark approached the Lions made the breakthrough. Neil Speck headed a Dan Aust cross down into the path of top marksman Luke Ball who made no mistake, slotting a low shot past the keeper to claim his 20th goal of the season.
The feeling was that the opening goal would be the start of things to come for the Lions but in fact the goal had the reverse effect as Leverington came on the attack seeking an equaliser.
Keeper John Swales saved well to keep out a goalbound strike and Jake Walton was forced into a last ditch tackle to prevent a shot as the Lions were on the back foot defending to take the slender lead into the half time break.
The Stamford side began the second period back on the front foot looking to double the lead.
Edwards crashed a shot into the side netting and Shaun Sanderson saw his powerful header clawed away by a fantastic reflex save.
With an hour played Leverington smashed in an equalising goal as they sprung a counter attack the forward unleashed a fierce left foot strike that flew into the top corner.
Lions charged forward desperate to regain the lead and they didn’t have to wait long as Ball played in his strike partner Edwards who this time curled his shot past the keeper into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
Stamford worked hard to control the game amd limit the home side to chances while Tom Lees curled a shot wide and Josh Collins sent an effort over the bar.
A late Leverington free kick, on the edge of the box, made for a nervy last kick but as the ball was sent just over the bar the game finished 2-1 and a crucial three points for the Lions who host Warboys on Saturday.