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News > Sport > OLFC heading for league cup, until….

OLFC heading for league cup, until….

A season of successes for the OLFC and a question for older OLs!
29 Apr 2020
Sport
It was a season beset by bad weather, multiple games cancelled, last minute fixtures changes to other pitches as Sudbury became water logged, and finally, of course, the premature end of the season because of the coronavirus. 

A disappointment in any year, this has been particularly galling for the Old Lyonians as all 6 teams were playing exceptionally well and were “on the cusp of multiple successes” according to the OLFC Chair, Ian Denison.  He summarised their position before the season closed:

“The First team had made it to the quarter finals of the AFA cup to be narrowly defeated and were a good bet for both the SAL Cup, having made the semi-final, and promotion from the 3rd Division. I am confident that this team will remain together and attain the success they deserve next Season.  

"Our Reserve team have struggled in a really tough division. Whilst relegation may have been avoidable, trusting the SAL retains the current divisional constitution, we have the opportunity to take stock and re-establish our position next season.

"The Third team have had an outstanding season. So good, that an end of season mega-pile up on league fixtures was inevitable. Guillaume Gerard led the 3's to victory in the AFA Cup and were due to play in the SAL Cup final. League promotion would have been a certainty. A major win for the Old Lyonians Football Club in a premier cup and unless I am mistaken the club has never won an AFA cup before. A match report for the game is below.  Highlights of the game on YouTube here.

"The Fourth team ran the 3's close in terms of achievement having made the semi-finals of all 3 cups that we play in - AFA, Old Boys and SAL. The 3's made the SAL Cup final and would have been favourites. Again, due to cup matches the 4's were way behind in league fixtures played but would have had a strong chance of promotion.

"The Fifth team were having a solid season with good league performances. A strong ending to the season would also have brought about promotion for the Old Lyonians.

"The Veterans were heading for a comfortable mid table finish, a mean defence allied to a spartan attack led to our Vets side being dubbed the draw specialists of the West London league.”  

Paul Matarewicz (OLA President) congratulated the teams and said, “I cannot recall an OL team winning the AFA cup at any level, but then again I am only 61, so there may be living Lyonians who correct me.”  There’s a challenge!  Emails to lyonianassociation@johnlyon.org.


Match report - AFA Junior Cup Final

Old Lyonians 3rd Team 1 v 0 Winchmore Hill 3rd Team

On 7th March the Old Lyonians 3rd team took on Winchmore Hill 3rd team in the AFA Junior Cup final at the 3G pitch on Mayes Lane in Barnet.

Winchmore Hill brought good numbers to support their 3rd team and we had families and friends on the sidelines making for a fun and convivial atmosphere. The game started with Winchmore on the attack and we could all see why they had gone unbeaten in the season to this point.  Slick interplay from a team that had clearly played together for a long time led to their winger being released down the Lyonian right.  A low cross and a simple finish.  A nicely made goal and we were 1-0 down. Or were we?  A raised flag put paid to that.  It was difficult to see from our angle, but just maybe not everyone was against us!

Throughout the first half Winchmore continued to generate a mixture of half chances and the odd clear chance, however the Lyonians were also getting a grip on the game and applying pressure.  Nathan H and Jason were really beginning to stretch the Winchmore defence and the physicality of Chris and Kal in central midfield began to tell.  Around 20 minutes in, we carved out a good chance as Lenny pushed forward from left back and fashioned the ball to Sledge, who persevered heading a bouncing ball across the face of the goal.  Jason was well placed to side foot half volley and Lyonians had the lead!  Not a goal of great beauty but more than enough to grace a final. The Lyonians really took control of the game from this point.  Sledge smashed over the top from short range and our midfield snuffed out the opposition.

Winchmore continued to battle well, playing good football and, after a tangle between Sledge and the talented Winchmore forward a split-second face to face ensued.  No bad foul, no overt aggression, no issue between the players.  Somehow the ref took a different view and red carded our forward...  The Lyonians would have to play an hour of the game with only 10 men.  We battled through to half time, with a mixture of good saves from Zee and wasteful Winchmore finishing.

Should the Lyonians aim to shut the game down and hang on or push forward with the pacey attackers to put the game beyond Winchmore?  Well, we tried a bit of both.  The back four of Pierre, Samuel, Jonny and Lenny were immense.  They blocked, fought, tackled hard and held an excellent line.  As the minutes went by, Winchmore became more desperate, trying to play through the middle rather than stretch the Lyonians with width.  Lenny’s passion overboiled and he talked himself into the Sin Bin taking us down to 9 for ten minutes. Michael came on at full back and was great.  Some cracking shot blocking and clever use of the ball. Whilst we on the sidelines were screaming to hoof the ball anywhere to count the clock down the Lyonians played with maturity never looking like they only had 9 players. Even though Winchmore fashioned a couple more chances, they never truly looked like scoring.  When we were back up to 10, visibly Winchmore heads dropped.  The Lyonians began to hit on the break and Nathan H, who had been brilliant all game, nearly sealed it but smashed a volley straight over the bar from short range. The final whistle signaled an outstanding team effort.  
 
The first time in many a generation a Lyonian team has won an AFA cup – perhaps the first time ever.  We have the best third team in London and with the SAL being strongest league in the country, arguably the best in the nation.  I am really proud of Guillaume and the 3rd team.  A brilliant bunch of guys who deserve every bit of this success.  With another 3rd team final on the horizon and a league to fight for, this could be a very successful season. With the 1’s and 4’s flying high and the 2’s, 5’s and Vets holding their own the club is in a fantastic position.  A word also for Winchmore Hill. An excellent team, a very well-run club who play the game in the correct spirit with real gentlemen as officials.

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