|Sat 28th Oct||3:00 pm||SSML Premier Division||2017/18|
Leverstock Green were within seconds of ending Welwyn Garden City’s unbeaten league record, but they were denied by an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time. Even so, the unanimous verdict around the Herns Lane ground seemed to be that Leverstock had deserved to win the game having given an excellent performance against a team that they had lost 6-0 to only three weeks earlier. It was the Green side’s first away point of the season.
Leverstock made a strong start to the game, and almost went in front in the 5th minute when Matt Bateman played a dangerous ball across the face of the six yard box which just eluded Chris Marsh sliding in at the far post. In the 13th minute Marsh played an excellent through pass from the halfway line which found Bateman on the edge of the box between two defenders. Bateman controlled the ball and got ahead of the defenders before slotting a confident shot past keeper Charlie May to put the Green 1-0 up.
In the 18th minute Bateman got on the end of a Marsh corner with a header that was blocked on the line. Towards the middle of the half the home side started to put more pressure on, winning a succession of corners, but not creating any real chances to trouble Caolan Doyle-Creamer in the Leverstock goal. At the other end Bateman was continuing to impress. In the 34th minute Bateman ran onto a quick throw from Alex Marsh and tried to beat May at his near post from a narrow angle, but his shot hit the post. Two minutes later a pass from Casey Linsell put Bateman in with a great chance, but May pulled off a good save with his legs. Leverstock were good value for their lead, but five minutes before half time Welwyn struck back as a ball from Dave Corran put Charlie Joy in behind the defence to shoot home the equaliser.
The second half continued in a similar vein, with Welwyn having marginally more of the ball but not creating much against a disciplined and determined Green defence marshalled by Shane Wood, while Leverstock looked dangerous on the break. A rare mistake at the back allowed Ash Kersey a shot on the hour, but Doyle-Creamer saved.
Jonathan Lacey, whose appearances are limited now due to college commitments, came on early in the second half to replace the injured Chris Marsh, and a corner from Lacey in the 72nd minute found Bateman with a header that went just over the bar. Three minutes later a pass from Bateman put Lacey clean through on May, but although his shot beat May, it went agonisingly inches wide.
That miss might have proved costly, but Leverstock were still able to get back into the lead with a goal in the 79th minute. Zak Howells’ ball out of defence found Alex Marsh in acres of space down the right. Marsh continued his run before playing a superb low ball into the penalty area. Bateman was coming in at the far post, but it never got to him as Welwyn defender Jay Rolfe got there first and turned it into his own net for a 2-1 Green lead.
It might have been 3-1 two minutes later as Chris Gosling and Luke Nugent combined to set up a chance, but Nugent’s shot was saved and neither of them were able to put the rebound away. Leverstock still held their slender lead going into stoppage time, and looked capable of holding out, but three minutes into stoppage time a strike from the edge of the box out of the blue levelled the scores. Appropriately enough the scorer was Rolfe, who atoned for his earlier own goal with the shot that rescued a point for his side. The final whistle went soon after the restart, showing just close Leverstock had come to the win.
The two sides do it all over again on Wednesday night, again at Herns Lane in the first round of the Herts Senior Cup.
Social media reaction:
4 points against Hoddesdon & Welwyn is good by anyone’s standard in that league. Should have been 6, too. Onwards & upwards. https://t.co/o5B0v88qMb
— Alex McCarthy (@Al_Mac8) October 28, 2017
We are getting our act together now. Players coming back from injury and some new signings.
— Tony Smart (@ajmphs) October 28, 2017
|Welwyn Garden City||(1)||2||Joy 40, Rolfe 90+3|
|Team: 1. Charlie May, 2. Jay Rolfe, 3. Dave Corran, 14. Paul Marks, 5. Yasin Boodhoo, 6. John McGrandles, 7. Josh Bronti (12. George Ironton 76 mins), 8. Charlie Rome (15. Ash Kersey 58 mins), 9. Jon Clements, 10. Ben Spaul (17. Ben Long 73 mins), 11. Charlie Joy. Subs not used: 16. Carl Mensah, 18. Harry Budge.|
|Leverstock Green||(1)||2||Bateman 13, Rolfe og 79|
|Team: 1. Caolan Doyle-Creamer, 2. Alex Marsh, 3. Casey Linsell (15. Luke Nugent 72 mins), 4. Shane Wood, 5. Zak Howells, 6. Liam McCrohan, 7. Chris Gosling, 8. Alex McCarthy, 9. David Lawrence (14. Luke Preedy 82 mins), 10. Chris Marsh (12. Jonathan Lacey 53 mins), 11. Matt Bateman. Subs not used: 16. Roy Byron, 17. Ross Adams.|
|Welwyn Garden City Football Club|