Lions emerge as top cats

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Lions Nathan Reardon rises high to meet the ball

Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)

Lions have kept their advantage atop the Brisbane Premier League table, repeating last year’s 1-0 result against Easts at Heath Park on Sunday afternoon. Tynan Diaz was the lone goal scorer on the day.

Lions set the tone early when Kenya Takahashi played on for Diaz who thundered one in for Easts keeper Tom Carroll. The pace of the ball forcing him into a half-fumble but was able to snatch before a lurking Tarig Hammad could take advantage.

Carroll was again forced into a sharp save when Nathan Shepherd attempted to head home a cross at the far post.

Another Diaz bullet signaled the visitors’ intent. From 25 yards out his shot was narrowly off-target to the right of the upright.

Lions had a heavy advantage in possession during the first half, as much as 70% at stages, and they continued being the ones leading the attack. Nathan Reardon saw a header just over the bar midway through the half.

Easts got themselves in the contest for the first time in a five-minute period after the half hour. Carter Glockner delivered a low cross to the back stick for Jarod Lancaster with a good smothering effort from Ajdin Fetahagic stopping the home side from opening the ledger.

It would be Lions who would do exactly that minutes later. A long throw-in by Jack Lewis found Marco Jankovic and with a clever flick-on played on for Diaz who blazed past Carroll from around ten metres out.

Easts commenced more promisingly after halftime. Daniel Cunha launched an effort from just outside the box that Phil Zabaks initially had difficulty with. The rebound fell for Lancaster with the Lions gloveman forced into another save, this time turning it out for a corner.

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Lions Josh Ahern (left) and Easts Michael Ryan contest the ball

Midway through the second period, Shepherd delivered two wicked corners. The first saw an equally wicked flick-on header by Reardon that Carroll reacted well to push out for a corner. The second saw an unmarked Lewis ghosting in towards the six-yard line putting one over the bar.

The home crowd rejoiced as Lancaster had the ball in the back of the net with five minutes remaining but the assistant’s flag canceled that out.

Zabaks and Carroll had to be alert in the remaining time remaining with both sides launching all out attack. Both repelling several efforts from the opposition attacks in the dying embers of the match.

In reality, Lions had control of the match pretty much throughout. Easts were only able to get some traction in their attack on rare occasions.

Easts 0 v Lions 1 (Tynan Diaz 39’)

Statistics:

Possession – Easts 44%, Lions 56%

Corners – Easts 3, Lions 7

Shots on – Easts 5, Lions 9

Shots off – Easts 3, Lions 4

Easts: Tom Carroll, Toru Amano (Corey Sewell 81’), Alex Barnett (Killian Flavin 81’), Matt Boyd, Nelson Burgess, Daniel Cunha, Carter Glockner, Jarod Lancaster, Costa Psaros (Todd Norris 75’), Michael Ryan, Ryan Stenhouse. Sub not used: Jack Richards

Lions: Phil Zabaks, Josh Ahern, Tynan Diaz, Ajdin Fetahagic, Peter Gaffney, Tarig Hammad (Shoheel Khan 67’), Marco Jankovic, Jack Lewis, Nathan Reardon, Nathan Shepherd (Michael Butters 75’), Kenya Takahashi (Mattheus Spiandorello 85’). Subs not used: Tim Morgan, Declan Murphy.

Referee: Adam Kersey

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