Two goals in two minutes from Louis Bircham sent Leverstock Green on their way to a 3-1 win over Broxbourne Borough in the first round of the Herts Charity Shield.
It was Broxbourne who had the first chance of the game in the fourth minute as a mistake at the back allowed the ball to be played through to Mark Brennan, but he shot wide.
In the 14th minute, Green skipper Liam O’Keefe played the ball down the line to Callum Wright, who managed to fire the ball across goal, but no-one was on the end of it.
Leverstock put together their best passing movement of the game in the 17th minute, which ended with Damien Cruickshank having a run at goal but shooting over the bar.
James Budden headed a Louis Bircham free-kick just over the bar in the 23rd minute, and late in the half Bircham had two efforts at goal within a minute, the first going across goal and wide and the second being saved by the keeper.
Bircham picked up where he had left off as the second half began. In the 48th minute Budden came forward with the ball and played it to Tommy Walsh, who threaded a pass through to Bircham. This time his finish was spot on as he drilled the ball under the keeper to give Leverstock a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Leverstock were defending a corner. Keeper Jordan I’Anson claimed the ball and got it forward quickly. Chris Blunden flicked a pass over the Broxbourne defence to put Bircham clean through again, and he slotted the ball home confidently to double the Leverstock lead.
The game was far from over yet as Broxbourne fought back strongly and put the Green goal under pressure. They had the ball in the net in the 75th minute but it was ruled out by the linesman’s offside flag.
Four minutes later, Sean Flaherty rose at the far post to head home a corner – this time it counted and put Broxbourne were back in the game at 2-1 down.
This made for a tense finish, but the Leverstock nerves were eased four minutes from time. A clearance from I’Anson flicked off the head of a Broxbourne defender on the halfway line and left Blunden through on goal.
The keeper was in two minds as to whether to come out or not, and Blunden steered the ball past him to restore Leverstock’s two-goal lead at 3-1.
The win takes Paul Faulkner’s side into a quarter-final tie at home to either Welwyn Garden City or Sawbridgeworth Town.
Next Saturday Leverstock begin their league fixtures with a local derby at home to Berkhamsted.