Leverstock Green crash to defeat against the Saints

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Leverstock Green’s first home game since the appointment of Tim O’Sullivan and Paul Hunt as joint managers didn’t go to plan as some suicidal defending saw them well beaten by fellow strugglers St Margaretsbury.

The visitors took the lead in the ninth minute as Jordan Gill squeezed home a shot from a narrow angle in off the underside of the bar.

Levy almost hit back within three minutes as Louis Bircham played a one-two with Ryan Luke before hitting a shot which was turned round the post by Luke Prince.

However, on 22 minutes they were on level terms as a corner dropped inside the six-yard box for Luke, who blasted home to notch a goal on his first team debut.

Three minutes later a shot from Curtis Donaldson was awkwardly saved by Prince with his legs, and a follow-up effort from James Budden was tipped over the bar.

On 30 minutes Budden was booked for chopping down St Margaretsbury forward Courtney Clay just outside the box. The resulting free-kick was curled just over the angle by Jason Coughlan.

The game was evenly-contested at this stage, but a flurry of goals at the end of the half saw it swing one way then the other.

Firstly on 43 minutes Leverstock took the lead. Donaldson’s cross into the box was met by Bircham with a header that should have been comfortably saved by Prince, but he couldn’t hold onto the ball and Chinua Phinn-Archer forced it over the line.

The lead lasted less than a minute, though, as St Margaretsbury pushed forward, and a low ball across the box found Coughlan, who levelled the scores with a fine strike past Callum Woods.

More was to come in stoppage time as a corner found Simon Grove-White with a free header to send St Margaretsbury into the break with a 3-2 lead.

Five minutes into the second half Clay was put in behind the defence, and his run on goal ended with him going down under a challenge from Budden inside the box. Robbie Carroll increased the visitors’ lead to 4-2 from the penalty spot.

On the hour Clay was in behind the defence again, and this time Woods came racing out of his goal to challenge, but was late with his tackle and sent Clay flying.

The result was another penalty and a yellow card for Woods, with Carroll stepping up to score from the spot again and make the score 5-2 to St Margaretsbury.

Levy never looked like getting back into the game after that, although there was a consolation in stoppage time as Tommy Walsh hit a shot into the top corner from 20 yards for a final score of 5-3.

Leverstock now face two tough games against sides in the top four, with a trip to AFC Dunstable on Wednesday night, and a home game against Hertford Town next Saturday.

Leverstock Green: 1. Callum Woods, 2. Jack Halcomb (16. Gavin Smith H/T), 3. Dale Small, 4. Joe Horwood, 5. James Budden, 6. Curtis Donaldson, 7. Ryan Luke, 8. Timi Salako (15. Tommy Walsh 68 mins), 9. Chris Blunden, 10. Louis Bircham, 11. Chinua Phinn-Archer (12. Reece Cameron 68 mins). Sub not used: 14. George Hobson.

St Margaretsbury: 1. Luke Prince, 2. Aaron Crockett, 3. Simon Grove-White, 4. Jason Coughlan (15. Rod Harper 78 mins), 5. Steve Barker, 6. Madju Kinona, 7. Chris Webb, 8. Robbie Carroll, 9. Courtney Clay, 10. Ciaran Docherty (12. Fraser John H/T), 11. Jordan Gill (14. Lee Roberts H/T). Subs not used: 16. Jon Stevenson, 17. Jordan Lee.