Lee Valley Lions ended 2019 with a 7-2 defeat away at Invicta Mustangs.

Invicta had won nine games on the trot in all competitions coming into this one and they had no problems in reaching double figures as they brushed aside a Lions team who are yet to win this campaign and have just one point to their name in NIHL South 2.

Teenager Charlie Nichols managed to score his first goal for the club at the start of the second period and Robert Cole bagged Lions’ second in the same frame.

A host of first-team regulars were missing for the visitors with Daniel Tamasauskas, Oscar Kally, Richie Pickering, Joe Berry, Ross Sin-Hidge, Jordan Sullivan and Vincenzo Ferrara all unavailable, leaving just 13 skaters as well as netminder James Andrew.

Mustangs came out with a lot of confidence and dominated possession in the opening exchanges, but Andrew in the Lions net did well on a number of occasions to prevent them from taking the lead.

His resistance was broken after 17 minutes though as Mustangs got on the board with a quickfire double, firstly netting through Regan O’Neil and Joseph Bliss quickly added a second.

Lions battled well at the start of the second frame and halved the deficit within 10 seconds of the restart as Nichols grabbed his first for the club since joining from Romford Juniors.

Just as quickly though, Mustangs restored their three-goal advantage through Anthony Baskerville, and they were soon 4-1 up as Daniel Clayton got in on the act.

The visitors refused to drop their heads though and they were soon back in the game once more as Cole scored a powerplay goal, his fifth in seven games, assisted by Jordan Ho.

Again, though, with Invicta dominating the shots, they were bound to keep scoring and they notched one more before the end of the middle period as Baskerville grabbed his second of the night to make it 5-2.

Despite being depleted in numbers, Lions remained strong defensively and Andrew was doing his best between the pipes to keep the scores down.

Richard Harris did net a sixth for Mustangs 10 minutes into the frame, however, and Michael Stokes managed to add a seventh before the final buzzer sounded.

The defeat brought to an end a poor calendar year for the side, who finished bottom of the table in the 2018/19 campaign and are bottom again without a win so far this season, having just a point to their name after an overtime loss against Bracknell Wasps.

They will now have time to recuperate over the winter period as they take a five-week break, returning to action on Saturday, January 4, 2020 when they travel to Gillingham to face Mustangs.