Galway were pushed all the way by London as they launched their Connacht Championship defence with an unconvincing win at Ruislip.
The Tribesmen let a five-point lead slip during the first half as London deservedly went in level at half-time, but four unanswered scores after the restart got Galway over the line.
The switch of Shane Walsh to midfield during the interval inspired Galway’s purple patch. He provided the creative spark they desperately needed while he was also on the money from placed balls to top-score with seven points.
It was an uncomfortable afternoon for Galway though and a repeat performance could prove costly in two weeks when they take on Sligo for a place in the Connacht final.
Kevin Walsh became the only visiting manager to lose a Connacht Championship tie in Ruislip when his Sligo side was stunned in 2013, and perhaps that loss played a part in his team’s cautious approach during the first half.
Galway allowed London to dominate possession, content to try and hit them on the break, and that eventually began to yield scores midway through the half.
Level at 0-2 apiece after an abject opening, Galway hit the front as midfielders Thomas Flynn and Michael Daly pointed within a minute of each other. Four more points followed, including a lovely strike by Antain O Laoi, and at 0-8 to 0-3 Galway looked to have put sufficient daylight between the sides.
But that advantage quickly vanished as Killian Butler lifted London with a wonderful goal on 25 minutes.
Great persistence from Fearghal McMahon saw him find the corner-forward, who left his marker Sean Andy O Ceallaigh for dead and buried a shot to the top corner of the net.
London’s inspirational captain Liam Gavaghan pointed after another spell of keep-ball and Conor Doran chipped in with two late scores to make it 1-6 to 0-9 at the break.
Galway got the start they needed in the second half as two Walsh points sandwiched scores from Ian Burke and captain Gary O’Donnell.
However, instead of kicking on Galway only managed three pointed frees in the final half-hour, with London creating the better chances.
The best of those fell to Butler with three minutes remaining following a lightening London counter-attack, but the English-born forward dragged his shot across goal.
Walsh popped up with an insurance point for Galway in injury-time but there is much work to be done over the next fortnight.
Scorers - Galway: S Walsh 0-7 (5f, 1 ’45), I Burke 0-2, J Heaney, T Flynn, M Daly, L Silke, A O Laoi, P Cunningham, G O’Donnell 0-1 each.
London: C Doran 0-6 (3f), K Butler 1-1, L Gavaghan, F McMahon 0-1 each.
Galway: R Lavelle; E Kerin, SA O’Ceallaigh, D Wynne; L Silke, J Daly, G O’Donnell; T Flynn, M Daly; A O’Laoi, P Cunningham, J Heaney; I Burke, S Walsh, D Cummins.
Subs: R Finnerty for Cummins (48), F O Curraoin for Cunningham (52), G Bradshaw for O’Donnell (61), E Brannigan for Daly (70).
London: G McEvoy; P Butler, M Moynihan, C O’Neill; D Carrabine, M Clarke, E Flanagan; A McDermott, L Feerick; M Gottsche, L Gavaghan, B Tully; C Doran, F McMahon, K Butler.
Subs: A McGarvey for Tully (64), S Hickey for Doran (64), J Hynes for McMahon (64), D Dunne for Carrabine (64), P McGirr for O’Neill (70).
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh)