Six different players found the net as Leverstock Green recorded an emphatic 6-2 win over Hadley at Pancake Lane on Tuesday night.
Leverstock have endured a torrid few weeks, with just one win in their last 11 games, leaving them looking nervously over their shoulders at the teams below them in the league.
However, on Tuesday night they put all that behind them as they found their scoring boots and turned in an excellent display of finishing.
It was Hadley who had the better start to the game, and the first near miss when a shot from Nick Chrysanthou was turned round the post by Dan McNicholas in the 14th minute.
However, it was Leverstock who opened the scoring three minutes later. Jaiden Shelly-McPherson’s cross was flicked on by Carl McCluskey to Louis Bircham on the far side of the six-yard box, and Bircham found the composure to shoot home in off the post.
The lead was doubled within two minutes as a corner was played into the heart of the six-yard box, and Mark Woolley pounced to shoot home from close range.
The injured Bircham was replaced by Luke Warner-Eley in the 38th minute, and five minutes later Warner-Eley came close when he robbed a defender on the edge of the box and blasted a shot just over the bar.
The third goal did arrive before half-time, though; a superb effort in stoppage time from Elias Moses, who intercepted a stray pass from the visitors and ran on to drill home a low shot from the edge of the box.
There was another enforced change at half-time as Billy Smith came on for Nathan Jallow, but Leverstock continued to look comfortable until a penalty award for Hadley threatened to put them back into the game.
The referee adjudged that Kieran Smith had been brought down just inside the box, and Laste Dombaxe converted the spot-kick in the 64th minute to bring the score back to 3-1.
There were a few nervous minutes as Hadley started to push forward, but Leverstock restored their three-goal advantage in the 68th minute in bizarre fashion.
A corner from Warner-Eley was perfectly aimed for the far post, the keeper misjudged it, and the ball went straight into the top corner.
All thoughts of a Hadley comeback were now banished, and in the 81st minute a pass from Billy Smith put Carl McCluskey clean through to slip the ball over the keeper for a 5-1 lead, scoring his first goal for the club.
Two minutes into stoppage time Leverstock put together a superb counter-attack as McCluskey brought the ball forward and played it out to Callum Wright, who got to the bye-line and pulled it back for Billy Smith to stab home a sixth Green goal.
Almost immediately Hadley went back up the other end and pulled another goal back through Smith, but that didn’t take any of the gloss from a great night for Leverstock and their supporters.
There were good performances all round, particularly at the back from 18-year-old Jaiden Shelly-McPherson – playing only his third game for the first team – and in midfield from Mark Woolley.
Leverstock will hope to carry this form into Saturday’s Dacorum derby at home to Tring Athletic.
Leverstock Green: 1. Dan McNicholas, 2. Damien Cruickshank, 3. Tommy Walsh (16. Timi Salako 77 mins), 4. Jaiden Shelly-McPherson, 5. Callum Wright, 6. Gavin Smith, 7. Elias Moses, 8. Mark Woolley, 9. Nathan Jallow (15. Billy Smith H/T), 10. Carl McCluskey, 11. Louis Bircham (12. Luke Warner-Eley 38 mins). Subs not used: 14. Jimmy Talbot, 17. Danny Arnett.
Hadley: 1. Charlie Mann, 2. Alan Murray, 3. Martin Flannery, 4. Tom Milton (17. Tyrell Samuda 71 mins), 5. Louis Bowen, 6. Sam Lyon, 7. Laste Dombaxe, 8. Nick Chrysanthou, 9. Ivan Machedo, 10. Jamal Baptiste, 11. George Ehui (14. Kieran Smith 60 mins). Subs not used: 12. Dan McAteer, 15. Dan Bishop, 16. Ryan Reid.