Stamford Lions FC were forced to come from behind twice to walk away with three vital points in a 5-3 victory over local rivals King’s Cliffe in the battle for top spot in the PDFL Division One .
Lions applied all the early pressure on the 3G pitch at Borderville but fell behind from a swift Cliffe counterattack as a well weighted through ball was collected by lively forward Tom Lees who calmly slotted the ball under keeper Jimmy Russon as the visitors took a surprise lead.
Stamford hit straight back thanks to excellent control and finish from in-form Sean O’Donnell who scored his sixth goal in six straight games.
Lions continued on the front foot but found the visitors in resilient mood.
Ryan Brown burst away from the defence and rounded Stuart Markley in the Cliffe goal but his shot bounced off the upright.
O’Donnell then saw his effort also crash against the post before Markley pulled off a double save to deny Barry Burton.
If the home side were frustrated at not going in at half time leading then they were shocked when Cliffe re-took the lead at the start of second half with their second shot of the match which flew through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner.
Again the lead was short lived as the impressive Jake Walton curled in an equaliser from just inside the area.
Walton was causing havoc to the King’s Cliffe back line as he was crudely taken down in the area and a penalty was duly awarded.
Jack Travers stepped up and he sent Markley the wrong way but saw his spot kick crash against the post.
The pressure continued as Brown drilled his shot against the opposite up right before Walton beat his marker and fired in a low cross which Brown this time tucked away to give the Stamford side the lead.
In keeping with the match an equalising goal soon followed.
A deep cross was headed home by striker Gary Hayes and the scores were level again at 3-3.
Both sides attacked looking to win the game.
Markley pulled off a great save to push away a Jack Travers shot heading for the bottom corner before Russon bravely threw himself at the feet of Hayes to prevent the striker from getting a shot away.
With just ten minutes remaining the hosts grabbed a vital fourth goal.
Rob Forster whipped in a cross from the left and Luke Ball met it with an outstanding diving header that left Markley with no chance.
Cliffe were not finished, they surged forward in search of an equaliser and a levelling goal looked certain as a looping shot sailed over Russon but this time it was Cliffe denied by the goal frame as the ball cannoned off the bar.
The visitors were all out attack and the Lions dug deep, captain Danny Sheehan preserved the lead with a desperate header to clear the ball off the line with only a minute to go, as the ball was hoofed clear Tom Edwards gave chase and with King’s Cliffe committing so many players forward he had time to take a touch and lift the ball over the keeper to seal a vital win and wrap up an exciting game in favour of the Lions, 5-3.
Stamford Lions FC - Jimmy Russon, Luke Ball, Joe Lippett(Michael Webb), Sam Bush, Jack Travers, Barry Burton, Danny Sheehan, Jake Walton, Ryan Brown(Rob Forster) , Tom Edwards, Sean ODonnelll.