Wednesday 20th January 2016 ko 19.30
Hertfordshire Senior County League Premier Division
LONDON LIONS 2 (Kyte 25 36)
STANDON & PUCKERIDGE 1 (L Endacott 39)
Abandoned after 39 minutes due to a frozen pitch
Entry & Programme £5
It’s the lot of of the groundhopper that when the freezing weather comes you start to fret. You find that one patch of your back lawn and dig your foot in hard. The turf barely moves, but you kid yourself the game’ll still be on even though the thermometer says its minus 2, and its only 3pm….
The London Lions are the adult football side of the London Maccabi Association, and provide sport for the Jewish population of the capital. They’re based in Rowley Lane, Arkley, to the north of Barnet. The ground used to be home to another Jewish club, Wingate FC, before their merger with Finchley to form Wingate and Finchley FC. Lions had a 5 year stint in the Spartan South Midlands League but opted to drop back into the Herts League for this season.
Part of the reasoning was that Rowley Lane had no floodlights so all home games were played at the rather distant Hemel Hempstead Town, but the over-riding reason was the travelling involved playing in a league where they were one of the most southerly clubs in it. I can vouch for the fact that travelling up and down the M1 soon loses its appeal!
But the club has clearly spent extensively and well in improving their home. There’s a very smart 200 seat stand named after former player Alan Mattey who died tragically young, just 40. The ground is now fully Step 5 complaint should the club ever want to make the step up again. It is by any standards a mighty fine ground.
The only trouble was the pitch! As good as it is, it looked white and hard when I arrived at 6.30 and despite the game being pulled forward 15 minutes, the game never looked likely to last the full 90 minutes as the pitch rapidly hardened, especially at the far end. The Lions raced into a two-goal lead including an absolute thunderbolt from Max Kyte, but the end was near.
Standon forced a corner, the ball was swung in, but defender Josh Kennet slipped as Lewis Endacott headed home with keeper Ruben Rabstein unable to keep him footing either. That was enough for referee Jordan Gibson, and while there was some disappointment it was the correct decision.