A depleted Leverstock Green squad ended up well beaten in Saturday’s trip to Crawley Green. With six players missing through sickness, injury or unavailability, including the skipper, centre forward and two top scorers, Scott Dash had only 13 players to make the trip.
Their problems increased when forward Marcus Tower had to leave the game through injury after just ten minutes. There were few chances in the early part of the game, although Crawley’s Charlie Clayton should have done better in the 7th minute when a free kick was headed down to him in front of goal.
Leverstock’s first near miss came in the 21st minute when Ross Adams got on the end of a free kick but his header was deflected wide by a defender. In the 29th minute Reynaldo Carbon hit a shot from distance which bounced off the keeper, but no-one was following up for the rebound. Crawley had a free kick in a dangerous position on 32 minutes, but Clayton’s effort deflected off the wall and looped over the bar. Seconds later Adams had to clear a shot from Clayton off the line. Leverstock then broke quickly, with Tremayne Charles and Carbon setting up a chance for Adams, but he just failed to make proper contact with the cross.
Crawley took the lead with something of a bolt from the blue in the 36th minute, as Mark Smith received the ball 25 yards out and struck a superb first-time shot that gave Mark Berg no chance.
They should have doubled their lead early in the second half, as Leverstock were unable to clear from their own box and Clayton looked set to score from six yards out until being brought down. The referee awarded the penalty, but Aaron Browne smacked the 51st minute spot kick against the post.
Three minutes later Carbon tried to curl a shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner of the net, but it went just wide. On 57 minutes George Biggadike played a great ball from his own half to give Charles a run at goal, but his eventual shot was straight at the keeper.
The game was still in the balance at this point, but on the hour Henry Mungwira turned on the edge of the six yard box and drilled a shot into the corner of the net to put Crawley 2-0 up. Lewis Davis could have pulled a goal back on 64 minutes when he got on the end of a free kick, but his header was saved. A minute later Crawley put together a good move with Clayton running through to shoot home a third goal that ended the match as a contest.
Berg pulled off a great save on 86 minutes to prevent Ashton Grant adding a fourth, but couldn’t keep out Grant’s shot in the first minute of stoppage time that left a final score of 4-0. The Leverstock team played some nice football at times in this game, but ultimately there were too many key players missing and a lack of a cutting edge up front. Crawley Green played well throughout and the scoreline did not flatter them at all.
On Tuesday night Leverstock are at home to Division Two side Enfield Borough in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Trophy, kick-off 7.30 pm.