Leverstock Green finish with a flourish against eight-man London Tigers

Callum Wright in action for Leverstock Green. Picture (c) Alan Lee
Callum Wright in action for Leverstock Green. Picture (c) Alan Lee

Leverstock Green completed their season with a 2-0 home win over London Tigers in an SSML Premier Division game that ended in controversy.

With London Tigers having secured their safety last week and Leverstock looking at a 15th place finish, there was little riding on the game.

Both sides played some good attacking football, although there were few chances in the first half.

Dan McNicholas had to punch away a free-kick from Emmanuel Njodzeka in the fourth minute, while the two best chances for Leverstock both came from Louis Bircham crosses to the far post.

Luke Warner-Eley headed wide in the 18th minute, while Timi Salako shot wide in the 30th minute under pressure from a defender.

The second half saw Leverstock continue to attack with promise, particularly with the non-stop running of man of the match Alfie Boswell.

On 68 minutes a pass from Carl McCluskey put Warner-Eley clear down the left, to eventually square the ball to set up a great chance for Bircham, but he was denied by a superb save from Tigers keeper Arlys Pampolim.

A minute later the ball dropped in the box for McCluskey, who struck his effort well but it was blocked by a defender.

On 73 minutes a cross from Boswell set up another chance for Bircham but again he was denied by a great save from Pampolim.

Finally in the 80th minute Bircham was put through on goal, and despite the visitors protesting that Bircham was offside, he ran on to curl a shot into the top corner.

With the game going into its last minute, it looked as though the crowd had seen their last action of the season, but an incident involving Warner-Eley and a Tigers defender – which looked at first to be playful – suddenly developed into a mass brawl.

When the referee had finally regained control and consulted his assistant, he showed straight red cards to two Tigers players, Ivan Petrov and Gabriel Chiedozie, and a second yellow card for Yahya El-Kabouche, leaving the visitors down to eight men while Leverstock escaped with only a yellow card for Liam O’Keefe.

Leverstock exploited the gaps left by the three red cards as they added a second goal; Callum Wright going clean through before laying off to set up a tap-in for Warner-Eley with the last kick of the game – the referee blew the final whistle as soon as the ball hit the net.

Leverstock are currently in 15th place with 45 points, but may slip another place if Stotfold win their final game on Tuesday night against second-placed London Colney.

Leverstock Green: 1. Dan McNicholas, 2. Damien Cruickshank, 3. Luke Warner-Eley, 4. Danny Arnett, 5. Tunde Owolabi (14. Liam O’Keefe 57 mins), 6. James Sears (12. Callum Wright 61 mins), 7. Timi Salako (15. Gavin Smith 59 mins), 8. Tommy Walsh, 9. Louis Bircham, 10. Carl McCluskey, 11. Alfie Boswell.

London Tigers: 1. Arlys Pampolim, 2. Ivan Petrov, 3. Jonathan Davite, 4. Emmanuel Njodzeka, 5. Gabriel Chiedozie, 6. Rafiq Bettamer, 7. Sebastain Philogene (12. Abdullah Hassan 64 mins), 8. Yahya El-Kabouche, 9. Jabir Laraba, 10. Sirak Beyene (15. Stavros Panagiotou H/T), 11. Ali Soussi. Sub not used: 14. Terry Whitman.