Sunday, 3 October 2010

Leverstock

LEVERSTOCK GREEN 5-4 ENFIELD 1893
Saturday 2nd October
FA Vase 1st Round
Pancake Lane

With a multitude ties in the FA Vase that appealed to us (Gary and myself), the difficult decision was choosing where to go!!! In the end we agree up Leverstock Green FC of the Spartan South Midlands League for their tie against Essex Senior League side Enfield 1893. The only reason I suggested this game was the fact that I liked the name of their ground of Pancake Lane. No other reason at all.

Leverstock Green is basically a suburb of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire and is located on the eastern edge of the town. The following information is taken from the Wikipedia page:

"Leverstock Green contains a village school (Leverstock Green Church of England Primary School), village cricket club, village football club (Leverstock Green FC), village hall, village shops, village pubs and Holy Trinity church. Despite its recent amalgamation with Hemel Hempstead, the old names remain in memory of historical times.

Leverstock Green is a "modern" parish, formed about 1849 from parts of the parishes of St Michael's (St Albans), Abbots Langley and Hemel Hempstead.

There is documentary and archaeological evidence that people lived and worked in the immediate area of Leverstock Green from the time of the Roman occupation onwards. Recent research indicates that settlement along Westwick Row may well date back even further to the Iron Age and perhaps the Bronze Age. It seems quite likely that this settlement was a "suburb" of the major Iron Age settlement at Pre Wood just outside St. Albans.

Leverstock Green was and is still affected by the 2005 Buncefield oil depot explosion (the largest explosion in peacetime Europe), causing damage to houses and other buildings, such as broken windows, fallen chimneys and in some cases more serious structural damage, temporarily displacing a number of families.

The village is a growing village, with a location close to an industrial estate from which many large companies operate. Easy access to the M1 and M25 motorways, Watford and St Albans make the village popular for commuters.

The village introduced a village patrol scheme in late August 2008 successfully reducing a rise in litter and graffiti in the area."

It took around 1 hour 20 minutes to make the drive south primarily down the M1 from Leicester. To get to the ground itself exit at Junction 8 of the M1 and take the A414 towards Hemel, at the second island turn left onto the A4147 (signposted Leverstock Green). Pancake Lane is the fifth turning on the left with the ground being on the left hand side after Lombardy Close. Admission to the ground was £5 with a further £1 for a primarily stats based programme. As you enter the ground the main stand is on the far side to the right, with clubhouse, toilets, catering facilities and changing rooms all along the near side with an overhang providing further cover.  

The football club itself was formed around 1895 and competed in the West Herts League and Herts County League before joining the South Midlands League in 1991. In the 1996/97 season they won the Senior Division title. In the summer the South Midlands League amalgamated with the Spartan League and they became founder members of the Spartan South Midlands League (SSM). Green have remained in this competition to this day and last season they finished in 10th place in the premier division. 

A more detailed history on the club can be found on the club's website by clicking here

The game...we it is difficult to decide where to start as it is one of the best games I have seen in a very long time. A brilliant cup tie that was a credit to both teams and a game that both sides deserved to win. For the home side though they could not have had a worse start as they conceded a penalty after only fifteen (yes 15) seconds. Sherwin Stanley stepped up and sent the Leverstock keeper Carl Tasker the wrong way to make it 0-1. Six minutes later and the home side drew level when captain Lee Bircham headed home a free kick. This is when things started to get a bit daft as just three minutes later Enfield re-took the lead through Paul Oshin who headed home a cross. A minute later and they nearly made it 1-3 as Neal Hughes had is shot cleared off the line. They did though make it 1-3 on seventeen minutes with Hughes scoring from close range. The home side did not let their heads drop and pulled one back just two minutes afterwards when Adam Hallisey smashed the ball home from a corner. Leverstock nearly equalised a minute later when John Hickman pulled off a cracking save from a header by Charlie Gorman. Adam Hallisey was fouled after picking up the rebound and the referee awarded another penalty. Bircham stepped up and, despite Hickman getting a hand to the ball could not prevent Leverstock Green drawing level on 21 minutes. The game then settled down for the remainder of the half with no further scoring, but both sides continued to play an attacking brand of football. The second half startedEnfield took the lead for a third time on 59 minutes when Oshin got his second of the game by scrambling home a free kick. They nearly restored their two goal cushion a couple of minutes later as Hughes' powerful drive was well saved by Tasker. The game then got a bit niggly with a string of silly fouls and the referee handing out a few yellow cards. Into the last ten minutes and Leverstock drew level for a third time when Steve Hatch headed home a corner. Just as extra-time was looming Leverstock scored with what turned out to be the winner with a minute remaining in the ninety, with Adam Hallisey the hero as he headed home a corner. After a nervous few minutes of stoppage time the referee blew his whistle to end a superb cup tie.

Not much more to add but a second consecutive game that we had seen nine goals following on from Shifnal Town's 7-2 victory @ Stafford Town on Tuesday evening, a first for both of us I'm sure. An enjoyable visit to a friendly club and good luck to both sides for the rest of the season.

Admission: £5
Programme: £1
Badge: £3
Coffee & Tea: 50p
Attendance: 98 (head count)
Match rating: 5*

Further photos of the game can be found here: LGFC
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