Levy leave it late as Junior strikes again

Louis West tries his luck at goal for Leverstock Green against Risborough Rangers. Picture courtesy of Alan Lee.
Louis West tries his luck at goal for Leverstock Green against Risborough Rangers. Picture courtesy of Alan Lee.

Levy Green

Risborough Rangers 2 Leverstock Green 3 (AET)

LEVY Green booked their place in the quarter-finals of the SSML Challenge Trophy courtesy of an extra-time win at Risborough Rangers.

Levy went into the game as strong favourites and looked to be cruising through as they took a 2-0 lead into half-time.

Risborough produced a spirited performance after the interval, though, and it took an extra-time winner from substitute Junior Owusu-Akonor to earn the victory for Green.

“We knew it was going to be tough before we went there,” said Levy boss Steve Heath. “They are a very good cup team and it was probably one of their biggest games.

“They maybe should have won it in the last 10 minutes, but our players showed character and stepped up their game in extra-time.”

Green had a number of players unavailable for the tie, but the visitors created the first chance of the game as Lewis Pritchard saw his shot saved.

Green keeper Gareth Tinsley was called into action soon after to deny Jonny Horne, before Dan Griggs had to be replaced by Bekim Culaj after picking up an injury to his hamstring.

That set-back did not affect the visitors, though, and Heath’s side took the lead in the 36th minute.

After a Lee Bircham free-kick was only partially cleared, Max Farrelly pounced to fire home at the second attempt.

And Levy did not have to wait long to double the advantage.

Following good efforts from Ioan Vranceanu and Ross Miller, Pritchard decided to try his luck at goal from all of 35-yards – and saw his piledriver fly in off the underside of the crossbar.

Risborough came out fighting after the break, though, and halved the deficit shortly before the hour mark through Ben Williams.

The hosts were visibly buoyed by the goal, and were back on level terms after 75 minutes as Williams added his second.

Rangers pressed for the winner, but Green held out for extra-time, and just three minutes into the added period, Owusu-Akonor slotted home what proved to be the winning goal.