Lions Start to Roar Again

John Rooney’s goal four minutes from time gave the Lions their first win in ten games and in that moment lifted the doom and gloom that has surrounded Nethermoor since the start of the year.

In only his second game in charge Caretaker Manager Sean St Ledger has halted a dismal run of seven straight defeats and restored some direction and purpose into a team that looked to be in free fall and heading for certain demotion.

With the rookie manager restored to centre back together with Darren Holden at left back and John Rooney and Alex-Ray Harvey back in midfield the home side proved an equal match for seventh placed AFC Fylde, a side who had only recently put a total of eleven goals past leading promotion contenders Macclesfield and Tranmere.

The match started at a frenetic pace and Will Hatfield was first to sting the hands of Jay Lynch with prolific marksman Danny Rowe testing Luke Coddington at the other end.

With the home side on the front foot Rooney put a range finder over the angle and shorty after Dayle Southwell fired a low shot just the wrong side of the post.

Rowe showed his class in taking down onto Jonathan Smith’s long ball only to be denied by a great stop from Coddington and James Hardy had two half chances in a breathless opening half hour.

Fylde nearly went behind just before the break as St Ledger’s shot-cum-cross was deflected behind by Jordan Tunnicliffe and just beyond Ash Palmer’s reach.

As expected the visitors ramped up the pressure on the restart with Jonny Smith and Tunnicliffe going close.

With the game seemingly heading for a stalemate Southwell again put a powerful shot just wide, but it was left to then returning Rooney to grab the headlines as he took advantage of a deflection and shot under Lynch from the apex of the six-yard box to send the home support into raptures.

The Lions then proved a point as they played out a total of eight minutes, including time added on, without giving Fylde so much as a sniff at goal.

With the two teams immediately above Guiseley, Torquay and Chester, losing and Solihull and Barrow only drawing the win leaves the Lions eleven points from safety and with three of these four still to play there might just be a smidgen of hope in what just a week ago seemed like a hopeless cause.

1 Coddington
38 Crookes
29 St Ledger
10 Rooney
5 Palmer
34 Holden
8 Hatfield (Wesolowski 77)
15 McFadzean (Roberts 73)
36 Harvey (Purver 77)
35 Liburd
12 Southwell

4 Wesolowski
13 Green
17 Purver
19 Odejayi
39 Roberts