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Lee Valley Lions coach George Alley disappointed with opening weekend

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 September 2017

Lee Valley Lions huddle on the bench (Pic: Phil Hutchinson)

Lee Valley Lions huddle on the bench (Pic: Phil Hutchinson)

Archant

Lee Valley Lions coach George Alley is disappointed with his side’s start to the 2017/18 NIHL South Two season.

The Lions suffered two defeats in the opening weekend as they were edged out by Haringey Huskies 8-7 and then lost 11-1 to league new boys Bracknell Hornets at home.

The former goalie admits his side need to improve and make sure they start picking up results against their rivals.

“It’s pretty disappointing, we need to be taking points off teams like Haringey,” Alley said.

“It’s gutting that we didn’t even get it to overtime.

“The way the game played out the longest we held a lead was for about a minute and 40 odd seconds at any point.”

The 29-year-old also believes neither side looked good enough to make the game their own at Alexandra Palace.

“We did well to keep in the game, but at no point did we really look like we were going to break away.

“Neither team really looked like they could break away, but we gave them too many opportunities in our zone.”

Alley praised the way his side scored their goals, but says their defensive work was not good enough and left goalie James Andrew exposed.

“We worked very hard and scored some really worked goals, but the amount of turnovers in the neutral zone, on their blue line, in our own end and people just not looking over shoulders and picking up players.

“It left us open and we left our goalies quite exposed all game.”

The following night the Lions lost to Bracknell Hornets, who dropped down from NIHL South One this summer, and Alley admits there is a big gulf between the two teams.

“I don’t like losing regardless,” he said.

“I was probably kidding myself when I thought we can at least compete with these teams coming down, but it seems glaringly obvious now that it’s going to be two leagues in one essentially.

“They had three lines of NIHL One players and a quarter of their squad has EPL experience.

“They’ve got so much depth that it was difficult to keep up.”

The coach did admit it was good for his side to see the challenges they’ll be up against this season and expects them to compete better at full strength.

“It was a good experience, I think once we get to full strength we can compete more with those teams, but there is a lot of work to do before we get to that level.”

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