ANAGRAM RECORDS TROPHY QUARTER FINAL
The Eagles cup bubble for this season burst against a determined London Lions on a wet blustery afternoon at Pixmore. Eagles were unable to build on their league success against the Lions the previous Saturday but the final score line flattered the visitors. For the eagles the game turned on two key decisions by the match referee Gary Bailey, neither of which went in favour of the home side.
In the first 20 minutes neither keeper was troubled and barely touched the ball, but then Eagles went close when Ricky Small powered a header just over the crossbar from an Anthony Geary corner. Soon after Eagles felt that they should have had a penalty and Lions should have gone down to 10 men when a long clearance by keeper Brad Gillham found Charlie Thake in space on the left . He took the ball past a couple of defenders and was about to shoot for goal when he was brought to the ground by one of the chasing players. The ref who was some 40 yards behind play played on despite vociferous appeals by Eagles players, and soon after Lions raced down the opposite end scored the first goal of the game.
After half an hour it was soon 2-0 to Lions when poor marking allowed a clear sight of goal and a low shot into the corner of the net from just inside the penalty area. Lions were unlucky not to get a third before half time when the lively no 9 was given acres of space on the right but pulled his low shot just wide of Gillham’s far post with no defender in sight. Eagles were going through a bad patch but close to half time Thake almost got a goal back with a low shot from 20 yards which the keeper turned round the post at full stretch.
However, it did not take Thake long to get on the score sheet for the Eagles when a few minutes after half time he scored from a few yards out when the Lions defence failed to clear the ball. Jamie Farrar then shot just wide when well placed, and as Lions wilted under Eagles pressure Carl Williams hit a low shot from outside the penalty area through a sea of legs and an unsighted keeper for the equaliser on the hour.
Both sides were pushing for the winning goal when Eagles suffered their second piece of bad luck. A shot from 15 yards struck Joe Humphries on the arm, the referee awarded a penalty to Lions amid more protests from Eagles players and supporters, and a low shot down the centre of the goal beat Gillham diving for the corner.
In the last 10 minutes Eagles defence fell apart as the team pressed for another equaliser, with poor marking allowing Lions to score twice more. Jamie Farrar almost got a goal back in the dying minutes but the young Lions keeper completed another impressive display by producing a great save.