Leverstock Green squeeze past Hillingdon in seven-goal thriller
Leverstock Green recovered from Saturday’s defeat as they edged out Hillingdon Borough 4-3 in Tuesday’s night’s league game.
The game was certainly no defensive masterclass, but it was a thriller that was in the balance until the end, and Leverstock edged it by the odd goal in seven.
The Green had the first chance of the game in the ninth minute when David Sobers fed Callum Wright, but his shot was saved by visiting keeper Frank Atwell.
Within a minute, as has happened so often this season, Leverstock conceded the opening goal. Roy Byron hit a very clean strike from just outside the box which was out of David Bailey’s reach to give Hillingdon a 1-0 lead.
However, it has also been the case several times this season that Leverstock have been at their most dangerous after going behind, and so it proved again as Louis Bircham rose at the far post to head home a cross to level the scores in the 12th minute.
Three minutes later, Luke Warner-Eley swung in a great cross from the left which Callum Wright met with a firm header to put Leverstock 2-1 up.
In the 19th minute another excellent cross from Warner-Eley found Wright again, finishing this time with a crisp first time shot for a 3-1 lead.
Wright was unlucky in the 22nd minute as he ran onto a pass from Warner-Eley and hit a superb dipping shot which Atwell did well to tip over the bar, denying him a eight-minute hat-trick.
Leverstock took their 3-1 lead into the break, and almost added to it on 50 minutes when Bircham’s corner went just over the head of Wright, and Mark Woolley’s effort was blocked on the line.
However, the visitors were soon back in the game. Bailey did well to tip over a free-kick from Arjet Memishaj, but from the resulting corner Gary Edwards rose at the far post to reduce the deficit to 3-2 on 54 minutes.
Two minutes later, Bailey had to tip a shot from Luke Bartlett over the bar, while at the other end after 62 minutes a header from Woolley was tipped over the bar by Atwell.
Hillingdon had the ball in the net for what would have been an equaliser on 66 minutes, but the referee had blown up a couple of seconds earlier for an off-the-ball altercation between Sledge Mubama and Benjamin Dunkwu.
On 71 minutes a pass from Bircham put David Sobers clean through on goal. Sobers was about to pull the trigger when he was chopped down from behind by Edwards.
The referee awarded the penalty, despite the protests of the visitors that the foul was outside the box, and with Edwards being the last man he had no option but to show the Hillingdon skipper a straight red card.
Bircham slotted the penalty into the corner of the net to restore Leverstock’s two-goal advantage at 4-2.
However, that cushion barely lasted two minutes. Hillingdon were awarded a free-kick just outside the box, and although Bailey did well to turn away Christopher May’s effort which curled over the wall, the rebound was not cleare.
When the ball was put back into the six-yard box, substitute Mikel Stareyshinski bundled it home to pull the score back to 4-3 on 74 minutes.
Leverstock attacked again straight from the restart and Bircham made a great run into the box only to see his shot from a narrow angle hit the far post.
The tension did not relent over the rest of the game as both sides had chances to score, but in the end the Green held on to register a league victory which completes a league double over Hillingdon and moves them up to 12th in the SSML Premier Division table.
On Saturday Leverstock travel to face newly-promoted Sun Sports, currently sitting 2nd in the league.