|Tue 1st Aug||7:45 pm||Herts Charity Shield 1st Round||2017/18|
Leverstock Green started the new competitive season as they ended the last one, with defeat to Tring Athletic in a cup match. Tuesday night’s Herts Charity Shield tie at the Grass Roots Stadium was very much a game of two halves, with Leverstock dominating the first and creating many chances and Tring having much the better of the second half. Two late goals made it a very harsh scoreline for the Green side, but they ultimately paid the price for not making the most of the excellent football they played in the first half.
The game was only two minutes old when Leverstock created their first chance. Brima Johnson went on a run down the right before backheeling to Ross Adams, whose cross to the far post found the head of tall striker Craig King, but the header went wide. Four minutes later after a quickly-taken free kick David Lawrence passed to Jonathan Lacey, whose fierce shot was parried away by Tring keeper Jack Hopwood.
Leverstock’s debutant goalkeeper Charlie Hoskins was first brought into action in the 8th minute, coming out to dive at the feet of Jack Read and claim the ball. In the 11th minute Johnson went on another run down the right and squared for Lawrence, who was also denied by a save from Hopwood. Two minutes later Hoskins came off his line again to deny Read, and in the 16th minute former Leverstock striker Chris Blunden hit a shot just wide after a run across the box.
Leverstock went close again in the 19th minute when King won the ball with a great tackle to set up Chris Marsh with a shot that went just wide. On 26 minutes Marsh was the provider, swinging over a great cross from the left touchline, but King headed over the bar from close range. There were more heroics from Hopwood in the 30th minute, firstly keeping out a shot from Johnson with his leg and then saving the follow-up effort from Lacey, and again two minutes later as he tipped a free kick from Marsh over the bar.
Eight chances had come and gone for Leverstock and in the 38th minute they found themselves a goal down. Read received the ball on the edge of the box from a corner and went on a run across the penalty area before turning and hitting a low shot into the corner of the net.
However, Leverstock got a deserved equaliser three minutes later. A long kick from Hoskins was misjudged by a Tring defender leaving Lawrence clean through. The ball ran too far ahead of him, allowing Hopwood to come out and block, but as the loose ball went up in the air, Lawrence was able to get his boot on it to divert it into the net to send the game into the break level at 1-1.
In the second half it was Tring playing down the slope, and they immediately looked a more threatening proposition than they had in the first half. Blunden missed a great chance within two minutes after Leverstock had given the ball away on the edge of their own box, and two minutes later Hoskins turned a shot from Read round the post. On 52 minutes Blunden laid the ball back to set up another chance for Read, but he shot wide.
Leverstock couldn’t get their game going playing up the slope, and it was no surprise when Tring’s pressure eventually brought a second goal in the 66th minute. A cross from Jack Seaton was flicked on by Chris Vardy and Read headed home his second goal at the far post.
The Green side pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but despite getting in a number of crosses, Hopwood was not required to pull off any heroics during the second half as they just couldn’t create the clear-cut chances. Leverstock were still in the game with a couple of minutes left, but then Blunden robbed Reece Fallon and ran on to shoot home from the edge of the box to wrap things up for Tring at 3-1. That would have been a flattering enough scoreline, but deep into stoppage time it became even worse for Leverstock as James Shaw scored with a chip from 30 yards to leave a final score of 4-1.
There is more cup action for Leverstock on Saturday as they travel to Edgware Town in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
|Tring Athletic||(1)||4||Read 38, 66, Blunden 88, Shaw 90+3|
|Team: 1. Jack Hopwood, 2. Zack Crawford, 3. Jack Seaton, 4. Tommy Twelves, 5. Lewis Smith (16. Dan Steadman 86 mins), 6. Dave O'Connor, 7. Ryan Sturges (15. James Shaw 80 mins), 8. Sam Joliffe, 9. Chris Vardy, 10. Chris Blunden, 11. Jack Read (14. Max Hercules 70 mins). Subs not used: 12. Qwan Thomas, 17. Callum Woods.|
|Leverstock Green||(1)||1||Lawrence 41|
|Team: 1. Charlie Hoskins, 2. Brima Johnson (14. Zak Howells 83 mins), 3. Casey Linsell, 4. Lewis Bowers, 5. Reece Fallon, 6. Ben Darby (16. Aaron Flood 56 mins), 7. Ross Adams, 8. Chris Marsh, 9. David Lawrence, 10. Jonathan Lacey, 11. Craig King (15. Sam Nair 70 mins). Subs not used: 12. Alex Marsh, 17. Luke Nugent.|
|Grass Roots Stadium|
|Tring Athletic F.C. Grass Roots Stadium, Pendley Sports Centre, Cow Lane, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 5NT|