Extra-time agony for Leverstock Green in the FA Vase

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Leverstock Green exited the FA Vase at the first hurdle for the fifth season in a row, despite taking an early lead in Saturday’s second qualifying round tie at Biggleswade United.

The home side eventually triumphed in extra-time in a contest that was very evenly-matched throughout.

The game was just five minutes old when Curtis Donaldson swung in a cross from the right touchline.

The ball was only cleared as far as the edge of the box, where Chris Blunden met it and steered a shot into the bottom corner of the net to put Green 1-0 ahead.

However, Biggleswade levelled in the 18th minute.

Liam O’Keefe tried to deal with a ball played over the top, but only succeeded in heading it into the path of Adam Drakulic, who was clean through. Damien Cruickshank came across to shut him down, but Drakulic was able to lay the ball off to Akwofei Ajeakwa, who slotted it past Craig Garrett.

Donaldson had a good chance in the 26th minute when he beat the offside trap to go clean through, but shot over the bar. Two minutes later Donaldson was found again by a good ball from Tommy Walsh, but shot wide.

At the other end a minute later a pass from Kane Farrell put Hector Batteller through, but Garrett did well to save his shot. Three minutes later the home side went close again when a corner found Ollie Peters at the far post, but he headed over the bar.

The second half continued in a similar fashion with good chances at both ends. On 69 minutes a quick turn and burst of pace from Ajeakwa put him through, but Garrett saved again. Two minutes later Louis Bircham hit a shot from distance that looked destined for the bottom corner but home keeper Joachim Martos pulled off a great save to turn it round the post.

Blunden had two great chances to win the game in normal time for Leverstock, but his shot from a narrow angle on 80 minutes was kept out as Martos saved with his legs, and six minutes later came the best chance of all when Donaldson’s pass put him clear of the defence, but he tried to lob Martos and the ball went over the bar. In the last minute a wayward header from Jack Halcomb allowed Ajeakwa in, but he shot inches wide.

With the scores still level at 1-1 at 90 minutes, the game went into extra-time. Three minutes into the first period a crossfield ball from Donaldson found Walsh, who shot over the bar. Three minutes later James Budden had a free header in front of goal from a corner, but headed over. In the end Leverstock paid for those missed chances.

In the 100th minute a ball over the top allowed Nyasha Sagwete to outpace the Green defence and go clean through. Sagwete sent a lob over Garrett which was probably going in, but Drakulic followed in to make sure.