Zion City 5 Living Hope 2

Pete Hopper writes;

Our match-up began with a rousing and emotional minutes applause as a tribute to friends lost, particularly as our hosts were coming to terms with losing their friend and founder, Vin Castle.

After two minutes we had already faired better than our last clash with Zion as the score line remained 0-0!

However Zion were soon pushing us back in first 10 minutes and we were having to deal with some great pressure through the middle.

We were fortunate not to be opened up early in the game when a great ball in from the left was hit sweetly on the volley from their front man. We were relieved as it fizzed just past the right stick.

After 25 minutes in our own half, (it seemed this way anyway), we finally started to play and run and pass and move and shout and create and all that good football stuff. Some brilliant passing unlocked their midfield and produced a needle threaded ball from Pete to Callum. And with everything all to do Cal brought the ball in from the flank, struck it toward the goal from a cheeky angle with no reply from the keeper. 1-0, and one of my favourite LHC goals.

We were pegged back when an innocuous ball bounced up and was deemed to make actual contact with the arm of our skipper. The resulting penalty dispatched easily to the left post. 1-1. *sigh*

The score line really reflected the half from here on in – an even affair. Twice off the post from us and some piercing crosses whipped in from Zion.

Half time honours even.

The second half was a different story. The worst happened early on when a corner made from a tipped over free kick was ushered in by the boot of our fresh legged sub. 2-1.

With the wind out of sails and game plan out the window, Zion capitalised again quickly and made it 3-1 after catching us well asleep on the break.

We were certainly on the ropes with literal bloody noses, but credit goes to a spring legged opposite number 1 who pegged back our attempted comeback on 3 or 4 occasions.

With further changes made we still managed to waste repeated opportunities and missed chances as the arctic wind and icy rain set in.

4-1 came as our glove man rushed to collect a through ball. The Zion front man was quicker to the punch and after snatching the ball had a week to pick his spot between our two full backs.

Some good pressure got us back to 4-2 with a move finished by Pete while at least 2 Zion defenders decided to have a little lie down in the box.

We made an offensive and tactical sub and pushed three up front and left a lean defence.

Again some promising pushes forward led to nothing, and Zion were determined to lock the door on us today. And on 88 minutes a brilliant move across the box made it 5-2.

Today was frustrating, but we were well beaten by a team who looked organised, energetic and ready to play. The difference today was that when opportunities came, Zion took them.

They deserved the win. Well done Zion, and we hope that you all find peace as you cope with the loss of a great man.

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