|Sat 3rd Feb||3:00 pm||SSML Premier Division||2017/18|
Leverstock Green secured their first win in five games as they came from behind to win 2-1 at Stotfold with two very late goals. It was tough on the hosts, who had put in a very determined performance throughout, but Leverstock’s pressure through the second half finally paid off as they snatched a win from the jaws of defeat.
Two major departures during the week had seen top scorer Matt Bateman snapped up by Berkhamsted and Curtis Donaldson leave for Oxhey Jets, but there were still plenty of attacking options in today’s squad.
There was little threat from either side early on as both sides struggled in wet conditions, with the Roker Park pitch becoming increasingly muddy and slippery as rain continued throughout the match. Stotfold had the game’s first near-miss in the 23rd minute as Dan Harper got on the end of Reece Stokes’ cross with a looping header that Caolan Doyle-Creamer did well to tip over the bar. The resulting corner was cleared for another corner, and this time Joe Ryan delivered a cross to the far post where Luke Burkett came in to net from close range and open the scoring.
Brima Johnson had Leverstock’s first attempt on goal with a shot over the bar in the 28th minute. On 34 minutes Scott Bonner headed over the bar from a Chris Marsh free kick. Two minutes later Marsh delivered another free kick which found Shane Wood in front of goal, but Wood’s header was saved by Stotfold keeper Matt Fallon.
The second half saw Leverstock have much more of the ball, but they weren’t coping too well with the muddy conditions, not moving the ball around quickly enough, allowing the fired-up Stotfold players to close them down. Even so, they still created some good chances to get back into the game. On 63 minutes a ball down the right touchline from Liam McCrohan allowed Jonathan Lacey to get past Harper and race towards the bye-line, where he pulled the ball back for David Lawrence, but Lawrence shot over the bar from six yards out. On 71 minutes Marsh drilled a low corner into the box for substitute Ross Adams, but Adams similarly couldn’t keep his shot under the crossbar.
Ten minutes from time Doyle-Creamer pulled off a crucial save to turn a shot from Ryan round the post and keep the deficit at just one goal. Three minutes later Leverstock went close again when Marsh floated a free kick to the far post, but McCrohan’s header was tipped over the bar by Fallon.
It looked as through Leverstock were going to come away from the game with nothing, but the Green side kept going and continued to push forward, and eventually got their reward two minutes from time. A corner from substitute Casey Linsell was headed away, but Linsell got the ball back and chipped a pass into Lacey, who flicked the ball over Fallon for the long-overdue equaliser.
Leverstock now had their sights on the win, and eventually got the winning goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time, in controversial circumstances. The referee had blown for a foul on Lawrence, but the linesman had his flag up for offside. Initially the referee was going to give Stotfold the free kick, but was eventually persuaded to consult the linesman, who confirmed that the foul had occurred before the offside, and thus it was Leverstock who were awarded the free kick, 20 yards from the Stotfold goal. Marsh took the free kick and drilled a low shot which Fallon saved, but couldn’t hold onto, and Scott Bonner pounced on the loose ball to shoot home the goal that put the Green 2-1 up.
There were still several more minutes of stoppage time to play, and Stotfold might have got an equaliser with a close-range diving header, but it went just wide. Leverstock held on for a very hard-fought win which keeps them six points clear in sixth place, while the unlucky Stotfold side are still at the bottom of the table.
Next Saturday Leverstock are away to Cockfosters.
|Team: 1. Matt Fallon, 2. Reece Stokes (17. Anthony Araba 82 mins), 3. Michael Simpson, 4. Cian Sweeney, 5. Tommy Carroll, 6. Dan Harper, 7. Liam Sweeney, 8. Mark Ansell-Carter (12. Kieran Barnes 60 mins), 9. Terry Billy, 10. Joe Ryan (15. Dean Auburn 85 mins), 11. Luke Burkett. Subs not used: 14. Adam Drakulic, 16. Cian Mitchell.|
|Leverstock Green||(0)||2||Lacey 88, Bonner 90+4|
|Team: 1. Caolan Doyle-Creamer, 2. Liam McCrohan, 3. Brima Johnson (15. Casey Linsell 73 mins), 4. Shane Wood, 5. Scott Bonner, 6. Luke Marsh, 7. Nick Jackson, 8. Chris Marsh, 9. David Lawrence, 10. Jonathan Lacey (12. Luke Nugent 90+6 mins), 11. Reynaldo Carbon (14. Ross Adams 67 mins).|
|Stotfold Football Club|