Four times the Blues had travelled to Pancake Lane since their return to the Spartan South Midlands League in 2019 and on every occasion, the 16 mile journey back up the M1 had been one of disappointment. Defeated on every occasion without even scoring a single goal.
Thankfully that unwelcome record has now been broken. Two second half equalizing goals from Harry Beaumont and Sean Emmanuel sealing a precious point. Had it not been for the post and a magnificent save from Austin Byfield in the final 10 minutes, then the Blues could have left with all three points in the bag.
That would have been harsh on the home side who dominated the first half, with the Blues looking out of sorts in a disjointed first-half performance. Ibrahim Nagheeb putting in a masterful display in the first 45 minutes for the Green.
Charlie Jones made an important save just before the break to keep the score down to just 1-0 and its significance was not lost on another large away following as Harry Beaumont swooped at the far post with only two minutes played of the second half to fire home from a tight angle.
Before the match, Richard Scott, Andy Burrows, Dean Falla & Peter Bottom donned their walking boots and hiked over the Downs and across the Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire countryside to raise money for charity. A 16 mile walk across uneven land is a remarkable achievement and a measure of all the good things the Club is doing off the field.
Leverstock Green deserve their reputation as one of the best run and friendly clubs in the League and their decision to donate their share of the 50-50 receipts shows the solidarity and friendship that exists between the two clubs.
Whatever Head Coach said to his players at half-time worked a treat. Playing down the slight slope, the Blues were out of the traps with energy and purpose and to the sound of Regimental cowbells, Beaumont’s second goal for the Club, set up the match for an exciting second half.
Five minutes after Beaumont’s equalizer, Kyle Faulkner found space on the right hand side and tore down on goal. Only Byfield stood in his way. Credit to Byfield, he advanced, narrowed the angle and stood tall. Kyle shot low and hard, but Byfield had the measure of it and saved well.
Within 5minutes Faulkner was shown a straight red for his part in a dust up by the touchline. Referee Phil Evans brandishing a red card to the Leverstock player involved in the incident.
Referee, Evans was to send Nagheeb off shortly before the final whistle for a second yellow, but by that time, deep into stoppage time, the Blues could not make the extra man advantage count.
Leverstock Green went ahead for a second time with just 15 minutes left. Similar to Tolu Ikuyinminu’s goal away at Potton, a cross come shot which catches the wind and wrongfoots the keeper. Charlie Jones, on this occasion helpless to stop the ball hitting the post and crossing the line.
The Blues response was immediate. Joe Sellers-West came off and on came Sean Emmanuel and within 60 seconds he had burst through the Leverstock back line and planted the ball firmly in the back of the net. Talk about inspired substitutions!
Despite late pressure, the scores stayed tied and supporters talked afterwards in the bar of the proverbial tale of two halves.
It leads the Blues in 5th place but in first place on points per game. Successive away draws at Ardley in midweek and Leverstock Green on Saturday may well be very important results come season end.
The undefeated run in the League continues, as does that of the home side. There were many positives to take away on Saturday. If you’ve not listened to Andy Burrows superb Talk of the Town podcast I highly recommend you do so. The interviews with Joe Deeney, Alfie Osborne and Jammers, give a valuable insight into what makes these players tick. It’s a chemistry that has fostered a sense of togetherness and unity. “All for one, and one for all”, so to speak.
Jammers made the point that we’re creating chances but not yet converting the percentage of chances to goals that we need to. That will come though as the season progresses. Exciting times lie ahead.
On Saturday, the Blues have a break from League action and return to the Isuzu FA Vase. Norwich CBS FC are the visitors to Creasey Park. Kick off is 3 pm. Spectators are advised to arrive early to avoid queues at the turnstiles and to park in the overflow car park.
The Blues then finish the October set of fixtures with a trip to Hertford to play St Panteleimon on Wednesday 26th October and then have a free Saturday on the 29th October, before a midweek trip to Harpenden on Tuesday 1st of November.