Leverstock Green were beaten 2-0 at presumptive SSML Premier Division champions Biggleswade FC on Saturday, but it was still a good display from the young side.
Goals from Abraham Eze and a Nathan George penalty in the 22nd and 49th minutes respectively were enough for the hosts but boss Matt Harding’s team should take plenty of positives ahead of some important upcoming games.
Green came away empty-handed but it was a highly creditable performance against top opposition.
There were two more new faces in the Green side, with Matt Cooper joining on loan from Northwood, plus ex-pro Ben Pattie, who played in a Leverstock under-18s side seven years ago before a career that has taken in QPR and a number of higher-level non-league clubs.
After an early chance for hosts Biggleswade, there was a promising moment for Leverstock in the fourth minute when Reece Cameron beat a defender on a run into the penalty area, but his shot was saved at the near post.
Green keeper Ryan Schmid then came to the rescue twice, coming off his line to tackle Eze after a back-pass came up short in the fifth minute, and saving from Tom Cookman two minutes’ later after a through ball from Sam Kelly.
Pattie had an effort at goal in the eighth minute which was saved by home keeper Ross Tompkins with his chest, both keepers having to be careful in the blustery conditions.
The nearest miss of the game to that point came in the 13th minute when a stinging effort from Tom Coles was tipped over the bar by Schmid.
There was a good move from Levy in the 19th minute as Lewis Collins brought the ball forward and played it out wide to Toby Syme. When Syme put his cross in, Collins was on the end of it to bring it down with his chest, but couldn’t get a shot in.
Biggleswade, in third place in the standings but with multiple games in hand, finally made a breakthrough three minutes’ later when Kelly’s cross found Eze in front of goal to shoot home.
There was little else in the way of chances for the remainder of the first-half until stoppage time when Schmid parried away a shot, and Eze’s effort from the rebound went over the bar.
Leverstock were still very much in the game as the second period started, but four minutes in, an Eze surge into the area was ended by a foul from Luke Nugent, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Nathan George dispatched the spot-kick to put his side 2-0 up.
The lead was never threatened by a Levy side that couldn’t get much going in the opposition half, but they stood firm to prevent the title favourites from having many more chances.
The nearest they came to adding a third was in the 59th minute when Coles headed a corner just over the bar.
Five minutes from time there was a glimmer of hope when Cooper swung in a dangerous free-kick towards the back post, but nobody could get on the end of it.
In the last minute, Schmid produced another excellent save to deny Michael Carrol from close range.
The defeat leaves Levy in 17th place and perilously just above the drop-zone. Leverstock are in need of more points to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight and will hope to get something out of this Saturday’s home clash against Baldock Town.
However, Baldock, in sixth place in the league, have lost just twice in their last 19 matches.