Leverstock Green edge closer to safety with victory over Biggleswade United

Callum Wright in action for Leverstock Green. Picture (c) Alan Lee
Callum Wright in action for Leverstock Green. Picture (c) Alan Lee

Leverstock Green collected another useful three points and completed a treble of victories this season over Biggleswade United as they won 2-1 in Tuesday night’s game at Pancake Lane.

It was very much a game of two halves, with Leverstock dominating the first half and the visitors having much more of the play in the second period.

Leverstock made good use of their first half superiority, and took the lead with just five minutes on the clock.

Carl McCluskey’s cross into the box found Louis Bircham, who played it to Tommy Walsh on the overlap. The ball looked to be going out but Walsh chased it down and managed to pull it back for Callum Wright to stab home from close range.

There could have been a second goal on 15 minutes when Wright played the ball forward and visiting keeper Grant Beckwith came out of his area to clear, but missed the ball. Bircham chased after the loose ball but couldn’t quite get there before a defender slid in to clear.

The second goal arrived on 25 minutes, when the Biggleswade defence gave the ball away to Bircham in their own half. Bircham twisted and turned as he ran at a defender, and eventually planted a delicate shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Bircham had a chance to make it 3-0 two minutes later when he was clean through, but he shot over the bar.

On 30 minutes Elias Moses played a neat one-two with Bircham before hitting a shot which Beckwith turned wide with his boot. T

hree minutes before the break Walsh was denied when Beckwith pulled off a great save to keep his shot out.

In first half stoppage time the visitors gave the ball away again in midfield, allowing McCluskey to put Bircham through, but he was forced into shooting from a narrow angle and Beckwith saved.

The first half had been pretty much all Leverstock, but the second half was more of a struggle for the Green side.

Biggleswade made a change at half-time, bringing on Nyasha Sagwete at the back, and he made a big difference in tightening up their defence.

For all their possession in the second half, the visitors didn’t create as many chances as Leverstock had in the first.

On 64 minutes Sam Nair made a run at goal, but his shot was saved by Dan McNicholas and cleared off the line by Damien Cruickshank.

On 70 minutes Adam Drakulic was allowed far too much space to run into and hit a long-range shot which McNicholas did well to turn away with one hand.

Eventually Biggleswade found the net five minutes from time from a disputed free-kick. Nair’s cross missed everyone and went in at the far post.

That made for a nervous last few minutes as the visitors piled forward, but it also meant they left gaps at the back.

With 88 minutes on the clock, Leverstock broke quickly with Wright putting Bircham through on goal, but he shot into the side netting.

In stoppage time Timi Salako was through but shot over the bar.

After five minutes of stoppage time the referee finally blew up to signal a Leverstock win that still doesn’t guarantee their safety, but leaves them needing only one win from their last three games to be certain.

Leverstock Green: 1. Dan McNicholas, 2. Damien Cruickshank, 3. Luke Warner-Eley, 4. Gavin Smith, 5. Liam O’Keefe, 6. Timi Salako, 7. Elias Moses (14. Casey Linsell 79 mins), 8. Tommy Walsh, 9. Louis Bircham, 10. Carl McCluskey, 11. Callum Wright (12. Dwaine Bryan 90 mins). Sub not used: 15. Kieran Jimmy.

Biggleswade United: 1. Grant Beckwith, 2. Stuart Richardson (12. Jack Boyd 51 mins), 3. Adam Drakulic, 4. Adam Randall, 5. Martin Russell, 6. Jason Darvall (17. Nyasha Sagwete H/T), 7. James Chisholm (15. Hector Bateller 59 mins), 8. Jake O’Neill, 9. Brett Leader, 10. Sam Nair, 11. Reynaldo Carbon. Subs not used: 14. Tom Cookman, 16. Jude Eboji.