Leverstock Green moved into the top half of the SSML Premier Division table as they registered their first away league win of the season in Saturday’s game at St Margaretsbury. The 4-2 win continued their great run of form which has seen them win six and draw two of their last nine league games.
It was something of a game of two halves, though, with a stirring second half display making up for an insipid first half performance. During the first half, the Leverstock side’s passing was poor and they were caught offside far too many times. They barely registered one effort on goal and didn’t win their first corner of the game until stoppage time. The home side deservedly led at half time through a goal scored in the 24th minute. Ryan Wade’s free kick hit the wall and rebounded across goal, and nobody picked up Daniel Ungudi, who gathered the loose ball and shot past Reuben Rabstein. It was the only effort on target by either side in the half.
St Margaretsbury could have extended their lead four minutes into the second half. Another Wade free kick was saved by Rabstein, but he couldn’t hold onto the ball, and in the ensuing scramble a very good chance was put over the bar. That proved to be a turning point as Leverstock had levelled the scores within a minute. Curtis Donaldson’s precision pass put Matt Bateman in behind the last defender, and Bateman did the rest, running on to slot the ball past keeper Adam Seymour for the equaliser.
Jonathan Lacey came off the bench to replace Scott Bonner and the Green side’s performance went up a gear. Bateman should have had a second on 55 minutes when he intercepted a short back pass, but instead of finishing himself he chose to square the ball and put it behind Shane Wood. Leverstock had a good shout for a penalty turned down in the 62nd minute when Bateman was upended in the box by a tackle from Jon Stevenson, but it didn’t matter as Chris Marsh swung over the resulting corner and Bateman connected with a thumping header to put the Green 2-1 up.
The chances kept on coming for Leverstock. On 67 minutes David Lawrence played a great crossfield ball to Lacey, who ran at goal before hitting a shot that was parried away by Seymour. Lawrence had followed in and slid in for the loose ball, but put it just over the bar. A minute later a shot from Donaldson was well-saved by Seymour down by the post. Bateman followed in for the rebound, but Seymour got up and made a great save with his legs, not knowing that Bateman had been flagged offside.
The third goal came in the 70th minute. Alex Marsh was put through on goal and looked set to score, but Seymour got a hand to his shot and slowed its progress towards the line. The ball might have gone on to trickle over the line, but Lacey followed in to make sure it got there.
In the 82nd minute Lacey had another run at goal before crossing to Reynaldo Carbon, whose shot was tipped over the bar by Seymour. At the other end five minutes later Rabstein produced a great save to tip another Wade free kick over the bar and preserve his side’s two-goal lead. A minute from time Lacey was threatening on the edge of the box again, hitting a shot across goal which Seymour could only parry away, and Carbon followed in to drill the rebound home for the fourth Leverstock goal.
Rabstein made another good save early in stoppage time, but was beaten in the second minute of stoppage time as Luke Provenzano headed home a free kick to pull the score back to 4-2. St Margaretsbury were threatening to pull another goal back after the restart, but a couple of great blocks from Shane Wood kept them out until the referee finally blew for time.
Man of the match, as nominated by Keith Pym, was Shane Wood.
Next Saturday Leverstock are at home to third-placed Biggleswade F.C.