(A) Edgware Town

Leverstock Green’s push for a top 4 place suffered a setback as they were beaten 3-1 at Edgware Town in Saturday’s SSML Premier Division fixture. It was an evenly-contested game, but Edgware made the most of their chances while the Green side didn’t.

There was a blow for the Leverstock team before the match when skipper Shane Wood had to drop down to the bench due to a niggling knee injury being aggravated by the artificial surface at Silver Jubilee Park. Wood’s place was taken by Liam McCrohan, who himself was still getting over a knee injury and only lasted half the game.

There was almost a great start to the game for Leverstock as Jack Waldren curled in a cross to the far post for Matt Bateman, whose header hit the post with just 30 seconds on the clock. Leverstock dominated the early stages of the game, however it was Edgware who took the lead from their first real attack in the 9th minute, as Dan Pett hit a shot which beat Matt Evans and went in off the underside of the bar.

Leverstock had a chance for an equaliser in the 14th minute when Luke Marsh’s cross found Bateman at the far post. Bateman could have hit the shot first time, but chose to take a touch, which allowed keeper Cain Davies to get in a great challenge with his feet.

A stray pass on the halfway line led to Edgware’s second goal in the 21st minute as Steven Benevides intercepted and broke forward before laying off to set up Ryan Carruthers for a shot past Evans. Things got worse in the 34th minute as a missed challenge on the halfway line allowed Rio Beech to thread the ball through to Omololu Onabolu, whose shot seemed to take a deflection as Evans was wrongfooted as it went into the net for a third Edgware goal.

Leverstock needed a goal back quickly, and they got it three minutes later through a mistake at the other end. A poorly-taken Edgware free kick led to a Leverstock break and a foul on Bateman on the left edge of the Edgware box. Curtis Donaldson curled in the resulting free kick and Ross Adams headed home to reduce the arrears to 3-1.
Edgware had another chance in the 40th minute as two Green defenders collided with each other trying a cut out a long goal kick from Davies, leaving Ethan Mooney through, but he shot over the bar. Two minutes before the break Bateman had another chance when Adams flicked the ball through to him, but Davies saved his shot.

Bateman had another shot blocked in the opening minute of the second half, and in the 53rd minute Donaldson floated a free kick just wide of the far post. In the 62nd minute Donaldson burst through the middle and had only Davies to beat, but again the Edgware keeper produced a good save. On 71 minutes Leverstock had a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box, but Donaldson’s effort took a deflection off a defender and went inches over the bar.

The second half was all Leverstock as Edgware were content to sit back on their lead, but the Green side were not able to create enough chances to get back into the game, and in the end the home side held out comfortably for the win.

Leverstock now face two games in five days against Colney Heath, firstly at home on Tuesday night, and then away next Saturday.

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(A) Edgware Town

Leverstock Green face a home replay in their FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie against Edgware Town on Tuesday night after a free kick deep into stoppage time denied them a win they would have very much deserved. As in Tuesday night’s match at Tring, Leverstock played some excellent football and created many chances, but again they did not get the goals that their dominance merited, leaving them vulnerable to a last-gasp stunner.

Former Luton Town goalkeeper Craig King, who has signed for Leverstock as a striker, took his place between the sticks today with no other keeper available, and his ability and experience in the position was evident throughout the match. The Green side created chances from early on in the game. In the 4th minute a corner went just over the head of skipper Shane Wood, back in the side after returning from holiday. Two minutes later a pass from Chris Marsh put Sam Nair through but Edgware keeper Cain Davies came out to save at his feet.

In the 11th minute Jonathan Lacey hit a fierce long-distance effort on the run which Davies did well to parry away, and seconds later Davies saved another effort from Ross Adams. In the 14th minute Lacey played a great ball out wide to Adams, who played it inside for Zak Howells, who shaped to shoot but instead squared for Nair, whose shot went wide.

There was an early injury blow as Alex Marsh had to leave the game in the 18th minute to be replaced by Luke Preedy, but in the 30th minute Leverstock finally got their deserved goal. A ball down the left touchline found Lacey, who beat a defender and cut inside before playing a low ball into the box for Ross Adams to slot home from six yards out.

It could have been two in the 36th minute when Lacey took the ball out of defence and played another great pass to put Nair through on goal, but his shot was kept out by Davies. A minute before the break a free kick from Casey Linsell again just eluded the head of Wood. Three minutes into first half stoppage time Lacey ran clear of the defence and squared the ball to set up David Lawrence with a great chance but Davies produced another wonderful save to keep it out with the last touch of the half.

Again, as at Tring on Tuesday night, Leverstock were not as impressive in the second half, although they still created enough chances to have won the game comfortably. Edgware had one of their few chances on 52 minutes when a blocked shot fell into the path of Mikkel James, who shot over the bar. It should have been 2-0 in the 65th minute when Chris Marsh floated in a free kick and Wood headed it across goal, but Lawrence somehow put the ball wide from a couple of yards out. Lawrence had another effort eight minutes later that went just over the bar.

In the 81st minute 16 year old substitute Mason Tunbridge almost clinched the game when he ran onto a pass from Howells and hit a shot which took a big deflection, but yet again Davies produced a miraculous save to keep it out. A minute later Lacey went close again, hitting a shot just wide after a solo run.

As the game went into stoppage time Leverstock still looked comfortable, although they did not take advantage of a couple of opportunities to take the ball into the corner and run the clock down. This came back to haunt them when the referee penalised a foul by Lewis Bowers to give Edgware a free kick a yard outside the box deep into stoppage time. King lined up his wall well enough, but they could do nothing to stop a great effort from Ethan Mooney, who curled the ball over the wall and in off the underside of the crossbar to rescue a draw and give his side another chance in the replay.

For Leverstock it was a draw that would have felt more like a defeat, but Scott Dash and Mark Royal must pick their side up and complete the job in Tuesday night’s replay, kick-off 7.30 pm at Pancake Lane.

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(A) Edgware Town

Leverstock Green put up an excellent response to last Saturday’s defeat to Cockfosters as they travelled to newly-promoted Edgware Town and came back with their first away win of the season. After an evenly-contested first half, the Leverstock side dominated the second half and eventually got the deserved three points through a Curtis Donaldson double.

The Green side was missing a few players due to various commitments, including regular keeper Liam Jahn, but Callum Woods took his place between the sticks and turned in an excellent display. Woods’ first task was to parry away a close-range shot from Adem Ali in the 3rd minute. At the other end in the 12th minute Edgware keeper Sam Styles turned a shot from Lewis Bowers round the post. Two minutes later Donaldson ran at the Edgware defence and put over a cross which Ryan Luke couldn’t get a clean header on.

Paul Hunt was forced into a change in the 25th minute with George Biggadike replacing the injured Rowland Smith, but Leverstock continued to play well. On 29 minutes Zak Howells made a run into the box and pulled the ball back for Donaldson, but he shot wide. Woods produced two good saves to turn a shot from Jack Smith round the post on 34 minutes and deflect a shot from Ali over the bar three minutes later.

The game was goalless at the break, but there was a warning for the Leverstock side just a minute after the restart as a cross from Jay Molloy found Mikkel James unmarked at the far post, but he headed wide. However, from then on it was the Green side that took control of the match. On 49 minutes Ryan Luke got on the end of a cross from Jonathan Lacey but headed wide. On 57 minutes Bowers and Donaldson combined on the break with the latter going through on goal, but not getting a clean shot away. A minute later Lacey went on a solo run but his shot was saved.

In the 64th minute Donaldson played a free kick into box, which was headed away, but only to Brima Johnson, whose shot was parried into the air by Styles. The loose ball bobbled around the penalty area before falling to Donaldson, who shot over the bar. Finally in the 74th minute Leverstock got their deserved goal after a nice build-up which finished with Ross Adams squaring into the six-yard box for Donaldson to slot home into the net.

A second goal was still required to settle the nerves of the Leverstock contingent, and it arrived six minutes later. Donaldson pushed forward into the Edgware half, and despite having options on either side, Donaldson struck a low shot from 20 yards which found its way into the bottom corner of the net.

Man of the match Zak Howells could have added a third goal three minutes from time when he was clean through, but Styles parried his shot and Bowers put the rebound wide. Woods was determined to maintain his clean sheet, and did so with a great save in the last minute to turn over a fierce shot from Ali.

Howells and Woods were among the many excellent performances on the day, which also included Shane Wood and Brima Johnson, both making a crucial return to the side after being unavailable last week.

Paul Hunt said “We needed not to lose the game in the first 25 minutes, and we grew into the game and got better as it went along. Everything went to plan”.

Leverstock again have no midweek fixture this week. Next Saturday they are at home to Leighton Town in a league match.

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