Lee Vally Lions roar past Mustangs
- Credit: Archant
Invicta Mustangs 3 Lee Valley Lions 4
Lee Valley Lions came back from three goals down to beat their Invicta rivals and make it three wins in a row.
Having beaten defending National League Division Two East champions Chelmsford a week earlier, then defeated Wightlink in a challenge match the next night, the Lions travelled to Gillingham in good spirits.
But they were without nine players, including captain Nick Alley, Chris Fox and Lee Hounslow, and fell behind in the ninth minute as Thomas Dennis struck on a powerplay, with both Simon Jones (high sticks) and Matt Hepburn (cross-checking) serving penalties.
Jake Luton doubled the home side’s lead within a minute of the restart and James Laming made it 3-0 just past the midway mark to leave Lions with a mountain to climb.
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But the visitors scored twice in quick succession towards the end of the period to cut the gap to one, as stand-in skipper James Hepburn opened their account and then set up Henry Aiken on a powerplay.
The double whammy gave Lions renewed hope for the final frame and they were back on terms with barely four minutes played as Oliver Glover converted Ross Sin-Hidge’s pass during a spell of 4-on-4.
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A tripping call against Invicta’s Lucy Gruber then gave Lions another powerplay chance and they made it count as Aiken and Glover combined to set up man of the match Simon Geldart for the winner, completing a superb turnaround as James Andrew made 46 saves in the visiting net.
Victory should give Lions a psychological edge as they host Mustangs in a quick return meeting next Saturday (February 4).
Scorers, Mustangs: Thomas Dennis 1, Jake Luton 1, James Laming 1, Kwame Holt 0+2, Aaron Ferris 0+1, Danny Terry 0+1.
Lions: James Hepburn 1+1, Henry Aiken 1+1, Oliver Glover 1+1, Simon Geldart 1, Ross Sin-Hidge 0+2 Matt Hepburn 0+1.
Penalty minutes: Mustangs 24 Lions 12.
Shots faced: Matthew Passmore (I, 59.13) 16-12-16=44-4 James Andrew (L) 17-21-11=49-3.