Sat 22nd Dec 2018
Leverstock Green 2-3 TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Kieran Turner, James Verney, Mark Riddick
WE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD TO CLAIM LOCAL DERBY WIN WITH LATE GOAL
The 70th meeting against our local rival produced a riveting match with Green seemingly in control and heading for a victory after they extended their lead to two goals early in the second half.
We had dominated the first half and missed a hatful of chances but we showed remarkable resilience to come back and level the scores through skipper Kieran Turner and new signing James Verney before snatching a deserved victory at the death with a Mark Riddick header.
The conditions were far from ideal after a lot of recent rain made the pitch heavy, but it was perfectly playable and both teams produced some entertaining attacking football.
Both teams made changes with Green giving debuts to 4 new signings (rumoured to be from Northwood) namely Abdul Musaia, Fahmy Mohamed, Jay Kossifos and Gursewak Jagdev and they all made a good impression especially the latter two who scored. They also had Frankie Atwell making his 2nd appearance in goal and he produced a magnificent display to keep us at bay and nearly win the game for his team.
We were missing Joe Fitzgerald, Tommy Twelves and Jack Sunderland so Ben Johnson and Connor Church came in as full backs and after scoring 5 goals in 2 games Jack Read joined Ashton Campbell up front in a 4-4-2 formation, with Roy Byron dropping to the bench. We also had to make a late change in goal after 17 year old Patrick Sinfield was presumably injured in the warm up to be replaced by an even younger keeper, 16 year old Dave Saunders who made his 2nd appearance in the First Team.
We started strongly with Jack Read, nearly adding to the 11 goals he has scored for First Team this season when he volleyed a pin point cross from Lee Stobbs just wide of the post. Ashton Campbell made some fine runs down the left, hitting the side netting on a couple of occasions and being denied by keeper Frankie Atwell who came off his line well.
Green went close to a goal in the 10th minute when a fine cross from Brima Johnson picked out Jay Kossifos whose header forced a fine save from Dave Saunders. Green did better a minute later when a shot from Alex Witham was pushed away by Saunders to an unmarked Gursewak Jagdev who had the easy task of tapping the ball into an empty net. Score 1-0.
Undeterred by this early set back we went on to produce some fine attacking play which lacked just one ingredient, the ability to put the ball into the net. Kieran Turner fired a number of shots over the bar and George Ironton struck another good opportunity just wide. Jack Read did supremely well to chest the ball down in the box but was denied by a superb blocking save from the keeper.
Green were still a threat on the break but it was Atwell who was by far the busiest of the two goalies, and he again did well to tip the ball round the post after a cross from Lee Stobbs hit Ashton Campbell and was heading towards the net.
Green newcomer Jay Kossifos managed to get away down the inside right channel and struck a firm shot that was on target but easy for Saunders, but the best chances were falling our way. Ashton Campbell headed a fine cross wide when well placed, Ben Johnson cracked a 35 yard thunderbolt that the keeper tipped over and later the keeper made a fine save from Kieran Turner, who then went even closer with a header that hit the post. It seemed like nothing was going our way.
The first half ended with a fine run by Green's impressive full back Brima Johnson who then shot wide but our players must have gone in at half time wondering how we were a goal down after creating so many good scoring opportunities. HT Score 1-0.
Kieran Turner forced another superb save from Atwell at the start of the second half but we were rocked when Green doubled their lead in the 50th minute when Jay Kossifos headed home a super cross from Fahmy Mohamed. Score 2-0.
Despite the set back we didn't panic and we soon reduced the arrears when Kieran Turner volley home from a corner four minutes later. This was the 8th goal he has scored against Green. Score 2-1.
The game was now more evenly balanced with Green posing a greater threat than they did in the first half, although this did not materialise into too many clear cut chances with Dave Saunders not overly stretched in goal. Some great link up play between Kieran Turner and George Ironton should have resulted in the equaliser but the latter clipped his shot just over the bar.
Ian made 2 changes bringing on Roy Byron and 20 year old new signing James Verney for Lee Stobbs and Jack Read and it proved to be an astute move as both played a crucial part in our equaliser in the 73rd minute.
Roy Byron, as he does so well, chased down and won possession on the right before playing a slide rule pass into the area where James Verney fired the ball home. It was a great start for this local boy who joined us from Barton Rovers. In the short time he was on the pitch he showed he had a great first touch and pace and should proved to be a great addition to the squad. Score 2-2.
With the game nicely balanced neither side wanted to make a mistake and the game seemed to be heading for a draw although we had further chances when George Ironton (who is getting better with every game) forced the keeper to punch away his shot and then Green again had to be grateful to Atwell for another terrific save from Kieran Turner.
The last roll of the dice came 6 minutes into added time when we won a corner which George Ironton swung over superbly to the far post where Mark Riddick was waiting to head home a late dramatic winner. It capped a superb performance by the hard working midfielder (George Bogdan named him Man of the Match and there can be no arguments with that) and took his tally for the season to 4 goals. It was harsh on Green but on the balance of play and chances created it was a fully deserved win for us. FT Score 2-3.
Afterwards a delighted Ian Richardson said "The boys showed great character on a tough pitch. We should have been out of sight by half time, but to come back from 2-0 down shows what a tough group of players we have". He also said " I wish all our supporters who do so much for the Club a very Happy Xmas and look forward to seeing you all next Saturday"
The win takes us level on points with league leaders Biggleswade FC who drew 2-2 at close rivals Biggleswade United, but the Beds outfit have a better goal difference and two games in hand.
Our next match will be at home to Cockfosters on Saturday.
LG;1 Frankie Atwell 2 Luke Nugent 3 Brima Johnson 4 Abdul Musaia 5 Ethan Flanagan 6 Mark Smith (Capt) 7 Fahmy Mohamed 8 Jordan Goode 9 Alex Witham 10 Jay Kossifos 11 Gursewak Jagdev (12 Alex Yearwood 65). Subs not used: 14 Salim Sahnoun 15 Sam Nair 16 Marcus Campbell.
TA:1 Dave Saunders 2 Ben Johnson 3 Connor Church 4 Mark Riddick 5 Dave O'Connor 6 Carl Mensah 7 Lee Stobbs (12 Roy Byron 56) 8 Jack Read (15 James Verney 56) 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Kieran Turner (Capt) 11 George Ironton. Subs not used: 14 Leslie Barkers-Obua 16 Billie Busari 17 Patrick Sinfield.
LG:Gursewak Jagdev (11), Jay Kossifos (50)
TA:Kieran Turner (54), James Verney (73), Mark Riddick (90+5)