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First team report  

Sat 10th Dec 2016
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Leverstock Green 1-6 TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Kieran Turner (3, 1 pen), Christopher Stapleton, Christopher Vardy, Lee Stobbs

In midweek we endured a grueling game against Essex Senior side FC Romania to progress through to the 4th Round of the FA Vase for the first time in our history, but any concerns that this would leave our lads drained for the local derby encounter against Leverstock Green on Saturday were dispelled by a potent second half performance that saw us claim our best win of the season and inflict our biggest ever victory over our neighbours.

Both sides were missing players, we were without regulars Sam Joliffe, Jack Seaton, George Carbery and Ryan Sturges and crucially for Green they were without their leading scorer Curtis Donaldson who had bagged 15 goals for them this season. Green's captain was former Athletic player Shane Wood who made 31 First Team appearances for us in the 2010/11 season.

Visits to Pancake Lane are always tough and although Green have had some up and down results recently they did secure a good 4-1 win at Colney Heath on Tuesday night and a few weeks earlier thrashed Hadley (our bogey side) 8-1. So we were expecting a tough encounter and for an hour it was fairly tight with us holding a slim 2-1 lead, but a burst of four goals in just over 20 minutes left the home side reeling.

Leading the way were Kieran Turner and Lee Stobbs, who both recently returned to the fold after a spell at Aylesbury FC, with the former grabbing a hat-trick and the latter scoring a pre Xmas cracker. Chris Stapleton also chipped in with the important opener but the biggest cheer was for Chris Vardy who like his Leicester City name sake ended his barren run by finding the net. The England man went 15 games without scoring three more than our boy so it was good to see that 13 became lucky for Vards.

We started well with full backs Chris Mason and Tommy Twelves both in the opposition penalty area during an early attack. Our first corner in the 5th minute reached Dave O'Connor who expressed disappointment at seeing his shot clear the bar. Green were sharp going forward and they had a possible opening when Tremayne Charles broke down the right but with colleagues waiting in the middle he produced a poor cross.

A clever George Brinkman free kick picked out Kieran Turner unmarked in the area but he was denied a shooting opportunity by some quick thinking from a home defender who got in a good challenge. Kieran Turner was making his presence felt with a cross from the bye line being cleared by a defender and then trying his luck with some shots which although they didn't test the keeper was a sign of his growing confidence.

Just past the half hour mark a poor clearance presented Lee Stobbs with a chance but he was foiled by a great save from keeper Liam Jahn. From the corner the ball was recycled back to George Brinkman who drilled a super cross to the far post where Chris Stapleton was waiting to apply the finishing touch and open the scoring with his fourth goal of the season. Score 0-1.

Soon afterwards Dave O'Connor headed another fine set piece from George Brinkman over but Green were dangerous in attack and in the moments leading up to half time twice went close to getting an equaliser.

In the 40th minute a penetrating cross from left back Casey Linsell went across the face of our goal to just beyond the far post to Shane Wood who knocked it back across goal, but unfortunately for Shane none of his colleagues were on hand to apply the finishing touch.

Green went close again right on half time when a well worked short corner led to another fine cross from Linsell who picked out centre back Kendall Allen, but his header went just wide with Shane Wood just unable to get on the end of it as he slid in at the far post.

After a close, competitive and typical local derby we went in at half time with a slight one goal advantage. HT Score 0-1.

Any hopes our hosts had of using the slope to their advantage in the second half was dealt a psychological blow within 34 seconds of the restart when Kieran Turner took full advantage of the home defences failure to clear a cross from Lee Stobbs to evade a challenge then drill the ball past the keeper into the far corner. He made it look easy but it was a consummate piece of skill from Kieran. Score 2-0.

Green responded within 5 minutes when a fine pass from Ben Darby released Tremayne Charles down the right and his cross picked out an unmarked Ross Adams who took full advantage to make the score 2-1 and bring his side right back into the game. Score 1-2.

Soon afterwards Green brought on Jonathan Lacey, who was second on their list of scorers with 13 goals, and he made an immediate difference adding a cutting edge to their attacks. The game was now finely balanced but before Green could get up a head of steam we hit them with another goal when Chris Vardy found his shooting boots again to restore our two goal advantage.

Vards started the move with a nice ball out to Lee Stobbs on the wing and when the resulting cross was not dealt with by the home defence he gleefully dispatched the loose ball past the keeper. It was a well struck shot but it didn't matter how he scored it, what was important was that he had ended his goal drought and hopefully he will now get back to his scoring best. Score 1-3.

The third goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of our opponents and we were in no mood to let them back into the game again and we started to turn the screw. Kieran Turner forced a terrific save from the keeper, after some great play from Luke Dunstan. Then Chris Vardy went close from a Chris Stapleton cross, getting a touch to the ball at the near post and seeing it drift across goal and beyond the far post.

The game was finally put to bed in the 73rd minute with an exquisite goal from Lee Stobbs who caused the Green defence problems all afternoon. Receiving the ball outside and to the corner of the opposition box he evaded some challenges then curled an absolute beauty into the top far corner. Score 1-4.

Casey Linsell went on a fine driving run and struck a super shot which Jack Hopwood did well to beat away but the action moved to the other end as Kieran Turner completed his hat-trick (his first for the Club?).

In the 82nd minute Kieran's mazy dribble into the area was halted by Kendall Allen's foul for a clear penalty. With regular penalty taker Sam Joliffe not available Kieran took over the responsibility and didn't falter. Score 1-5.

Two minutes later it got worse for our hosts when we got a sixth goal. George Brinkman instigated the move with another of his superb passes to pick out Chris Stapleton on the left wing and his cross was headed home by Kieran Turner to make it a day to remember for us but one to forget for our hosts. Kieran later hobbled off and hopefully it is not serious and having already made our three subs (Stuart Stedman, Paddy Downes and Ben Johnson) we played the last 5 minutes with 10 players although by that stage it didn't matter. FT Score 1-6.

Just a word about Ben Johnson who was making his First Team debut and despite being just 17 looked very assured. He comes from good Athletic stock as he is related to Brain and Barry Johnson who many of us played alongside in the 1960's and 70's and Steve Johnson who was part of the highly successful side that won many trophies in 1999/00 season.

A superb performance from the lads particularly in the second half but despite the three points we still remain eighth in the table, but if we win our games in hand we will move up a couple of places. Commiserations to Green who have some fine young players and will have better days.

We have two more tough fixtures coming up over the next week, away at Kings Langley on Tuesday in the Herts Senior Cup then on Saturday we travel to Biggleswade United for a league game.


LG: 1 Liam Jahn 2 George Biggerdike 3 Casey Linsell 4 Shane Wood (Capt) 5 Kendall Allen 6 Ben Darby 7 Ross Adams 8 Karl Thomas (12 Jonathan Lacey 54) 9 Karl Davidson (17 Lewis Davis 65) 10 Tremayne Charles (16 Louis Smith 77) 11 Danielson Vicente. Subs not used: 14 Zac Howells 15 Kane Axten

TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves (12 Ben Johnson 80) 3 Chris Mason (15 Stuart Stedman 80) 4 George Brinkman 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 David O'Connor 7 Lee Stobbs 8 Luke Dunstan (14 Paddy Downes 80) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Kieran Turner 11 Chris Stapleton.


LG: Ross Adams (51)

TA: K Turner (46, 82 P, 84), C Stapleton (32), C Vardy (61), L Stobbs (73)

Crowd: 52



Date Time Competition Season
Sat 10th Dec 3:00 pm SSML Premier Division 2016/17

Leverstock Green (0) 1 Adams 51
Team: 1. Liam Jahn, 2. George Biggadike, 3. Casey Linsell 4. Shane Wood, 5. Kendall Allen, 6. Ben Darby, 7. Ross Adams, 8. Karl Thomas (12. Jonathan Lacey 54 mins), 9. Karl Davidson (17. Lewis Davis 65 mins), 10. Tremayne Charles (17. Louis Smith 76 mins), 11. Danilson Vicente. Subs not used: 14. Zak Howells, 15. Kane Axten.
Tring Athletic (1) 6 Stapleton 32, Turner 46, 83 (pen), 84, Vardy 61, Stobbs 73
Team: 1. Jack Hopwood, 2. Tommy Twelves (12. Ben Johnson 80 mins), 3. Chris Mason (14. Paddy Downes 80 mins), 4. George Brinkman, 5. Dan Steadman, 6. Dave O'Connor, 7. Lee Stobbs, 8. Luke Dunston (15. Stuart Stedman 80 mins), 9. Chris Vardy, 10. Kieran Turner, 11. Chris Stapleton.
Match Report
Leverstock Green’s up-and-down form continued as they followed up a 5-1 defeat and a 4-1 win with a 6-1 home defeat on Saturday to Tring Athletic. It was a close game for an hour, but once Tring’s potent and pacy forward line took control it was only a matter of how many they would get.
Tring should have taken the lead in the 5th minute as Dan Steadman came in unchallenged at a corner but flicked the ball over the bar. Four minutes later Leverstock had their first attack when a pass from Casey Linsell put Tremayne Charles away down the right, but his eventual cross was overhit.
On 15 minutes Kieran Turner hit a shot which went just over the bar via a deflection, and 24 minutes Lee Stobbs missed a good chance for Tring, shooting over the bar after Liam Jahn couldn’t gather a corner. Leverstock had a free kick in a good position on 27 minutes, but Charles’ effort went along the ground and was gathered by Tring keeper Jack Hopwood.
Jahn produced a save from Turner on 31 minutes, and had to produce another one seconds later after a poor throw out went straight to Stobbs. However, a minute later George Brinkman crossed to the far post and Chris Stapleton came in to head Tring into the lead.
Leverstock should have levelled in the 40th minute when a cross from Linsell went across the face of goal to Shane Wood, who put the ball back across goal, but nobody could get the finishing touch. In the last minute of the half Wood slid in at the far post but couldn’t quite connect with a cross from Linsell.
Leverstock had the slope in their favour in the second half and would have started with high hopes, but within 35 seconds of the restart they were two goals down as Turner had the time and space in the box to pick his spot and slot the ball into the corner of the net.
However, a fine move put them back in the game six minutes later. A pass from Ben Darby put Charles away on the right, and his low cross was slotted home at the far post by Ross Adams to reduce the arrears to 2-1. Jonathan Lacey came off the bench three minutes later, and almost made an impact within seconds of coming on as Danilson Vicente chipped a pass through to him, but his shot went just over the angle.
The game was in the balance at this point, but on 61 minutes Chris Vardy put Tring back in control as he latched onto a loose ball inside the box and thumped home a shot to put them 3-1 ahead. A rasping shot from Turner brought another save out of Jahn on 68 minutes, but there was nothing the Green keeper could do about Tring’s 4th goal on 73 minutes as former Leverstock player Stobbs nonchalantly curled a superb shot from the edge of the box into the top corner of the net.
A solo run and shot from Linsell forced a save out of Hopwood on 75 minutes, however the game was only going one way now. In the 83rd minute Turner was brought down by Kendall Allen on a run into the box, and netted the penalty himself to make it 5-1, and barely a minute later Turner got up at the far post for a header which went in off the post to complete his hat-trick and an emphatic 6-1 win.
Next up for Leverstock is a home tie against Stevenage in the second round of the Herts Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

(No photos on file)