|Tue 24th Oct||7:30 pm||SSML Premier Division||2017/18|
With Leverstock Green leading 3-0 at half time against a team reduced to ten men and with a makeshift keeper in goal, their supporters might have thought that a comfortable three points was on the cards. However, things are rarely done the easy way at Pancake Lane, and a spirited fightback by Hoddesdon Town left the Green side hanging on for an eventual 3-2 win.
There were a few changes in the Leverstock side tonight, including welcome returns from injury for both Zak Howells and Alex Marsh, both having been out since early August.
Hoddesdon were on top in the early part of the game, although there wasn’t a meaningful effort on goal by either side until Leigh Rose hit a rasping long-range shot just over the bar in the 18th minute for the visitors. However, it was Leverstock who opened the scoring four minutes later from their first serious attack. A great pass from Chris Marsh put David Lawrence through on goal, and Lawrence finished confidently, shooting past keeper Damien Farrow who got a hand to the shot, but couldn’t keep it out.
Two goals in little over a minute put Leverstock in control of the game. Firstly in the 37th minute Brima Johnson played a crossfield ball to Lawrence, who was nearly forty yards out from goal but hit a screamer of a shot that flew past Farrow for a 2-0 lead. Then, almost from the restart, a good passing move ended with Johnson playing another great pass which found Matt Bateman in the box, and Bateman controlled the ball before hitting a low shot past Farrow for the third goal.
An incident in first half stoppage time saw the game threaten to boil over. Bateman was fouled near the halfway line, and as he was on the ground, one or maybe two Hoddesdon players appeared to stamp on Bateman as they went past. This led to a brawl involving players from both sides. The referee showed a straight red card to Leigh Rose, who claimed to have done nothing, and this led to further confrontation as the Hoddesdon management team came out to get involved in an argument with the referee and the Leverstock management team. Hoddesdon manager Paul Halsey was sent from the dugout, before the referee finally restored order and completed the half.
Hoddesdon had to replace keeper Farrow due to illness at half time, with centre-half Louis Bowen taking over in goal. Bowen wasn’t tested in the early part of the half as the Leverstock side seemed content to hang onto their lead rather than seeking to increase it. The lead started to look somewhat fragile when Hoddesdon pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute, as the powerful forward Frazer John burst through the middle of the Green defence to shoot home. Four minutes later the unlikely comeback was definitely on as Hoddesdon pulled another goal back. A free kick into the box wasn’t cleared, and John pounced to volley home his second goal and reduce the deficit to 3-2.
From looking comfortable a few minutes earlier, the Leverstock side was now looking panicked and was giving the ball away far too often, allowing Hoddesdon to push forward with pace. Chris Gosling came close to restoring a two-goal cushion with eight minutes remaining, but his shot was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Bowen, who also pulled off several good saves with his legs in the closing minutes.
Hoddesdon had three up front for the last five minutes, and only a great block denied John from completing his hat-trick and levelling the scores in the last minute. Eventually the Leverstock side got hold of the ball and were able to take it into the corners to run down the clock, and they held out for an impressive three points against a side in the current top six.
Next up for Leverstock is a tough visit to unbeaten Welwyn Garden City on Saturday – the first of two trips to Herns Lane within five days.
|Leverstock Green||(3)||3||Lawrence 22, 37, Bateman 38|
|Team: 1. Philip Daniels, 2. Alex Marsh, 3. Brima Johnson, 4. Zak Howells, 5. Liam McCrohan, 6. Luke Nugent, 7. Ross Adams (14. Chris Gosling 80 mins), 8. Alex McCarthy, 9. Matt Bateman, 10. Chris Marsh, 11. David Lawrence (12. Luke Preedy 90+3 mins). Subs not used: 15. Roy Byron, 16. Reynaldo Carbon, 17. Sam Nair.|
|(0)||2||John 62, 66|
|Team: 1. Damien Farrow (12. Jason Brown H/T), 2. Ross Clemo, 3. Dom N'Joya, 4. Jake Bowden, 5. Louis Bowen, 6. Bradley Fraser, 7. Kyle Johnson, 8. Connor Scully (15. Tom Cowell 82 mins), 9. Leigh Rose, 10. Frazer John, 11. Steve Redmond (14. Harry Bushell 84 mins). Sub not used: 16. Michael Bardle.|
|Leverstock Green Football Club|