The Lions had their defence to thank for this hard-earned victory over old rivals Park Avenue after Danny Boshell had given the home side the lead just before the half-hour with what proved to be the only goal of the game.

With the pitch passing a late inspection, this keenly-anticipated clash went ahead under a leaden sky. The home side saw midfield playmaker Danny Boshell restored to the starting line-up after serving a period of suspension, while James Walshaw partnered Kevin Holsgrove up front. Avenue included former Lion Alex Davidson up front as well as their ex-‘keeper John Lamb, who came out of retirement just before the festive break to solve Avenue’s shot-stopper injury crisis.

Within five minutes of the game’s starting, the rain began to fall steadily and it continued for the duration of the match. Danny Boshell was booked for an early challenge and Steve Drench pulled off a good stop from Jamie Jackson. Nathan Hotte became the second player to receive a yellow card, but following a series of counter-attacks, Boshell fed Holsgrove down the right. The big striker held off two defenders  before crashing a shot against the upright and when the ball ran loose it was Boshell who steadied himself to rifle it into the to corner on 25 minutes.

Josh Wilson then tested Lamb before Drench saved from Davidson and Andy Pearson blocked a shot from the same player. Jamie Clarke replaced the injured Gavin Rothery and the full-back became the third player to go into referee Greenwood’s notebook for a challenge on Paul Walker. Walshaw also incurred the wrath of the official and was cautioned.

Jackson then missed a glorious chance to equalize when he could only direct his shot into the arms of Drench, whilst at the other end Holsgrove brought a good stop from Lamb just before the break.

In a second half where Avenue enjoyed much the greater share of possession, the home side had Danny Ellis and Drench to thank for a series of stops and clearances as they clung on to their slender lead, while Pearson also made a crucial clearance in the dying minutes. For their part, the Lions went closest when Boshell played a delightful ball in to Walshaw only for the striker to see Lamb deflect his shot over. Avenue’s keeper then diverted Wilson’s shot on to the bar and Pearson put a header wide from a good position.

Team:

  1. Steve Drench
  2. Andy Holdsworth (Captain)
  3. Rhys Meynell
  4. Jack Rea
  5. Danny Ellis
  6. Andy Pearson
  7. Josh Wilson
  8. Danny Boshell
  9. Kevin Holsgrove (Hardy, 90)
  10. James Walshaw
  11. Gavin Rothery (Clarke, 25)
  12. Jamie Clarke
  13. Aaron Hardy
  14. Andy McWilliams
  15. Zack Dale
  16. Jacob Giles