GOALS in each half from Danilo Cadete and Nick Medcraft continued resurgent Lea’s impressive rise at freezing Hanworth on Tuesday night.
Lea were under the cosh for long periods of a full-blooded clash in west London in which former Baggies striker Meshach Williams was sent to the sin bin for a tirade at the referee’s assistant at the end of the first half.
But despite lowly Hanworth’s attempt to barrack and bully their visitors, Lea made the trip back down the M3 with the three points after picking up a third win in four games.
Pacy wide man Cadete stunned the home side when he latched onto a precise ball from Usman Lalustani, zoomed toward the corner of the six-yard box and lashed an unstoppable shot inside Hanworth goalkeeper Alex Tokarczyc’s near post on 34 minutes.
And substitute Nick Medcraft, who replacecd Cadete late on, sealed the points in the third minute of stoppage time when he sent his low shot beneath the keeper after being fed by Sean Latimer.
But it may all have counted for nothing but for the heroics of Lea goalkeeper Kallum Lunn, who made a string of incredible saves to keep his side on terms in the first half.
Three times in the first 30 minutes alone he performed wonders to deny roving wide player Jason Dwumfuo, displaying extraordinary alertness and agility to divert goalbound shots.
“It was unbelievable. He makes those saves more often than not. They’re saves that he shouldn’t be making. They’re not a fluke either, he’s just that good a goalkeeper,” said boss Gavin Smith, who saw his side make it ten points out of a possible 12 since ending a horrible run of six successive defeats.
“We’ve had a couple of games where we really deserved to win by being on top of the game and then Tuesday night was a game that they are going to feel unlucky that they haven’t got something out of it, but in the end we’ve done enough to win the game.
“We’ve earned it by working really hard and defending really well, which is pleasing for a young group of lads.
“There were a few players who stood out, everyone played well. Everyone put in a real shift, it was a good performance against a good side. They are improving and there is no way they will be down there at the end of the season.”
The win moved Lea up one place in the Premier Division table to 12th, bridging the gap further to the top ten after wins against Egham Town and Sheerwater and a good point at Southall with their new-look squad.
But most importantly it moved the Baggies 16 points ahead of Hanworth Villa and 18 ahead of rock-bottom CB Hounslow as the grim spectre of relegation all but disappeared.
“You can never afford not to look at the bottom of the table but it’s nice to have a good, healthy gap,” said Smith.
And he was hopeful of good times ahead with his new charges.
“I’m not going to knock the lads that we had, they were a good side, but I’m really pleased with the group that we’ve got. Football is their priority and they are really keen to learn. We want them to push on and do better and they are listening.
“I feel confident that if we can keep this group together for next season, and add a couple more, we won’t go far wrong,” he said.