Hat-trick hero Gardner fires Levy Green into the St Mary’s Cup final


Dene Gardner scored a hat-trick as Leverstock Green won 4-1 against Bushey Sports Club in Tuesday night’s St Mary’s Cup semi-final.

Levy opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Lee Gardner played the ball forward for Dene Gardner to run onto. Gardner’s shot hit the far post and looked like it would bounce out, but it trickled along the goal-line and just crossed it before hitting the other post.

It should have been 2-0 three minutes later when Callum Wright’s pass put Gareth Long through, but the Bushey keeper saved Long’s shot with his legs.

The second goal eventually arrived after 22 minutes. Damion Cruickshank’s run down the right and cross caused a few moments of pinball inside the box, but the Gardner boys combined again as Lee back-heeled it to Dene, who shot home through a crowd of players.

The visitors weren’t out of it yet, as they went close after 29 minutes when Dale Archer’s corner to the far post found Dean Williams, whose header skimmed the top of the crossbar.

At the other end two minutes later, Long played a one-two with Billy Smith before squaring for Wright, whose shot was saved by the keeper.

Williams had two more near-misses for Bushey before the break, and at half-time the Herts County League side made three substitutions.

One of the three newcomers put them back into the game with just four minutes of the second half played, as Lee Williams sent a spectacular lob over Kieron Jimmy from all of 40 yards out.

The game was in the balance for a while, but eventually Leverstock clinched it with two further goals.

After 70 minutes, Long’s run into the box was ended by a foul challenge and Dene Gardner completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

Nine minutes later, substitute Luke Warner-Eley played a lovely free kick into the box for Wright to head home the fourth goal.

The same combination almost added a fifth goal four minutes later as Wright got on the end of another Warner-Eley free kick, but his header hit the bar this time.

Leverstock will meet fellow SSML Premier Division side Oxhey Jets in the final, which is to be played at Hemel Hempstead Town’s Vauxhall Road ground on Monday, May 5.