Leverstock Green produced another excellent performance on Tuesday night, and this time got their rewards as they beat SSML Premier Division leaders Hoddesdon Town 3-0 at Pancake Lane.
After suffering narrow defeats at Berkhamsted and Hertford in their previous two games, the Leverstock side finally got their just rewards for the quality football they have been playing.
Leverstock were defending the slope in the first half and came under quite a bit of pressure from Hoddesdon.
In the 12th minute Tommy Wade was played clean through against Liam Jahn, but the Green keeper produced a superb one-handed save to keep out Wade’s shot.
Five minutes later, Connor Scully latched onto a clearance just outside the Green box and hit a fierce shot which Jahn parried away. The rebound fell to Ricky Light, who should have scored, but he took too long over his shot, allowing Joe Horwood to get in a challenge.
At the other end Leverstock should have scored in the 27th minute when Curtis Donaldson’s cross found Ashley Addison at the far post, but he headed over the bar.
Four minutes later a quick throw-in allowed Donaldson to get in behind the defence, but his chipped shot went just over the bar.
Hoddesdon had more of the ball in the first half, but thanks to the tireless running, effort and closing down of the Green defence, they couldn’t create any more chances, and the game reached half-time still goalless.
It all changed in the opening minute of the second half. Leverstock attacked straight from the kick-off, and a cross from Connor Deadman appeared to strike the arm of a Hoddesdon player.
The referee agreed and pointed to the spot, and Donaldson put away the penalty for a 1-0 Leverstock lead.
Another Hoddesdon handball gave Leverstock a free-kick in a good position in the 52nd minute. Donaldson’s delivery was perfect, curling into the heart of the penalty area where Alex McCarthy got on the end of it to head his side into a 2-0 lead.
Still Leverstock weren’t done. On 56 minutes McCarthy pounced to strike home an angled shot from just inside the box into the corner of the net for a sensational 3-0 lead. It was totally deserved, as the Hoddesdon side looked shell-shocked and had no answer.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. In the 67th minute a coming together near the touchline resulted in Leverstock defender Ross Adams receiving a straight red card despite appearing to have done little wrong.
Hoddesdon’s Glenn Draper, however, appeared to use an elbow and a fist in the ensuing melee, seen by the crowd but unseen by any of the match officials.
With Leverstock down to 10 men, Paul Hunt brought on Ryan Laville to play up front in a 4-4-1 formation, but even then it was Leverstock who looked more likely to score the next goal, with Laville coming closest on 78 minutes as he ran clean through only for his shot to be saved low at the near post.
Even with 10 men and eight minutes of stoppage time, Leverstock held on comfortably for only their second clean sheet of the season and a very impressive result.
The two sides only have to wait four days to meet again, with the return fixture at Hoddesdon’s Lowfield ground on Saturday.
Leverstock Green: 1. Liam Jahn, 2. Dan Bourne, 3. Ross Adams, 4. Tommy Walsh, 5. Jack Watts, 6. Joe Horwood, 7. Connor Deadman (15. Dan Griggs 88 mins), 8. Alex McCarthy, 9. Ashley Addison (12. Ryan Laville 69 mins), 10. Ollie Buckley (16. Jon Davies 76 mins), 11. Curtis Donaldson. Sub not used: 17. Callum Woods.
Hoddesdon Town: 1. Lee Robinson, 2. Ollie Sharman, 3. Ed Taylor, 4. Matt Thompson, 5. Glenn Draper, 6. Ryan McMenemy (14. Mark Thumasi 76 mins), 7. Ricky Light, 8. Charlie Edwards (15. Dan Ferrigno 80 mins), 9. Connor Scully (17. Harry Spicer 87 mins), 10. Tommy Wade, 11. Brett O’Connor. Subs not used: 12. Jack Bartlett, 16. Joss Lillis.