(A) Biggleswade United

Leverstock Green’s winning run came to an end at six matches, and they suffered their first league defeat in two months in Saturday’s visit to Biggleswade United, one of only two matches in the SSML Premier Division to survive the weather. The home side were well-deserving of their win, being much the better side and playing some excellent passing football around the penalty area which the Green side could not cope with.

Scott Dash was without several key players for this game, including Curtis Donaldson, Jonathan Lacey, Scott Bonner and Brima Johnson, although new signing Jack Waldren from Kings Langley made his debut in the starting line-up. The Leverstock side certainly made a good start to the game, with Ross Adams hitting a dipping shot just over the bar in the third minute after an exchange of passes with David Lawrence. In the 7th minute a poor clearance by the home keeper gave the ball to Waldren, who delivered a great cross for Matt Bateman to send a header into the top corner of the net and give Leverstock a 1-0 lead.

However, the lead was short-lived, with Biggleswade’s Nick Elliot going down in the box under challenge from Luke Nugent three minutes later. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, and Abraham Eze netted the spot kick to level the scores in the 11th minute.

A further blow occurred three minutes later when skipper Shane Wood picked up an injury and was unable to continue. Curtis Bird replaced Wood in what was now a very young back four. A moment of hesitancy in the defence allowed Eze to score his second goal in the 17th minute as he nipped in to get on the end of a ball across the box and shoot into the top corner of the net for a 2-1 Biggleswade lead.

Leverstock pushed for an equaliser, with Bateman having a header saved in the 23rd minute and Chris Marsh hitting a chip just over the angle of post and bar a minute later. The turning point of the game came three minutes before the break when it looked as though Leverstock did have an equaliser, as Marsh swung in a free kick and Bateman came in to head home, but a questionable offside flag from the linesman cut short the celebrations. Within seconds the ball was at the other end and Eze beat two defenders before slipping the ball past Matt Evans to complete his hat-trick and send his side into the break with a 3-1 lead.

Biggleswade continued to impress with their passing football in the second half, and only a series of excellent saves from Matt Evans prevented them from increasing their lead. Leverstock didn’t look like getting back into the game until they pulled a goal back in the 77th minute. Waldren’s corner found Ross Adams sliding in with an effort which took a big deflection on its way into the net, and put the game back in the balance at 3-2.

However, they were only back in the game for three minutes, as Lee Bilcock slid in at the far post to meet a cross in the 80th minute to put Biggleswade 4-2 up, and a minute from time a solo run and shot from Charisma Agyemang completed the rout at 5-2.

The Leverstock side will look to bounce back from this defeat with next Saturday’s visit to Holmer Green.

vs

(A) Biggleswade United

Leverstock Green took an early two-goal lead in their game at Biggleswade United, but eventually came away empty-handed after the home side staged a comeback to win the game with two quick goals late in the game.

It was a dream start for the Leverstock side as firstly they took the lead in the 10th minute as Curtis Donaldson latched onto a short back pass and sent a superb lob over home keeper Tom Wyant from close range that dipped just under the crossbar. Then five minutes later their lead was doubled, with Donaldson involved again as he received the ball just inside the opposition half and went on a run at goal before hitting a fierce shot from 20 yards which Wyant could only parry away. Brima Johnson followed up to net the rebound for his second goal in successive games and a 2-0 Leverstock lead.

However, Biggleswade got back into the match in the 19th minute. A crossfield ball from the right found Charlie Joy in far too much space, and although he declined his first shooting opportunity, Joy was able to cut back inside and continue his run before hitting a shot past Liam Jahn from the edge of the box.

For the rest of the half it was the home side that were on top, with Sergio Urbano bringing a save out of Jahn with a shot on 21 minutes, and Kevin Owusu hitting a shot inches wide on 27 minutes. The Leverstock side held out to the break, though, with their 2-1 lead intact.

In the second half it was Biggleswade who continued to have more of the ball, which they played around the park very well, although they did not trouble the Green defence too much. There was a good chance on 64 minutes when Joy pulled the ball back from the byeline but Urbano shot over the bar from six yards. On 75 minutes Jahn pulled off a great save to keep out a shot from Nick Elliott.

However, the turning point came on 78 minutes when George Biggadike was penalised for a foul to give Biggleswade a free kick just outside the box. Leverstock had a wall lined up, but as the ball was played sideways to Elliott, his shot went straight through the wall to leave Jahn motionless as the ball flew into the net for the equaliser.

Three minutes later the comeback was complete as Joy crossed into the box and Josh Sturniolo sidefooted the ball home from six yards to put his side 3-2 up.

There was some hope for Leverstock when the hosts were reduced to ten men four minutes from time, as substitute Antonio Mitri was shown a straight red card for a tackle from behind on Johnson. However, despite pushing everybody forward over the closing minutes, they could not find an equaliser.

Paul Hunt’s side will try to get back to winning ways on Tuesday night when they host London Tigers in a league match, kick-off 7.30 pm.

Man of the match: Shane Wood

vs