Longlevens left frustrated after Ardley grab a late equaliser in end-to-end draw

Longlevens were left frustrated by a late Ardley United equaliser after being behind twice in an end-to-end game on Saturday afternoon, that could have gone either way. 

Levens started with new signing Lewis Spurrier making his debut in midfield and the Forest Green loanee showed his energy early on as the Gloucestershire side looked to get the ball up to lone striker Jay Malshanskyj.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock at Fritwell Road after Ellis Sausman was caught on the ball on the half way line. The ball was thread through to George Smith who held off a Luke Kavanagh challenge to round Kane Winman and slot home.

One should have been two moments later when Twariq Yusuf was found in space at the back post. Winman, also making his Longlevens debut, made a great double save to deny a rampant Ardley before the follow up was cleared off the line by Shaun O’Connor.

From there Longlevens found their feet in the contest and began to see more of the ball. Harry Emmett and Jonty Welch in particular got closer to Malshanskyj and the chances came.

A delightful exchange saw Malshanskyj back heel for Welch, but the midfielder couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and the chance was blocked for a corner.

From the corner Longlevens were nearly level. The ball in looked to have dropped for Ed Smyllie, but an Ardley defender got a boot in to nearly loop the ball up and over keeper Christian Lawrence, fortunately for the hosts the stopper got a glove to tip it over.

Emmett whipped in Levens’ second corner in succession and the wind took it perfectly to the back post where Ed Smyllie flew in to send his bullet header into the net, giving Lawrence absolutely no chance.

Longlevens had a flurry of chances towards the end of the half, Welch again unable to get the ball out of his feet after some more neat and intricate play. Lawrence then denied Welch right on half time with an instinctive stop.

Welch’s rifled effort from 18 yards was flying in, but Lawrence stuck an arm up and got enough on it to deny Longlevens’ top scorer. At the other end Smith and Connor Harris saw efforts saved by Winman.

After going in level at the break Longlevens started the second half brightly. Spurrier found space in the Ardley box before centering for Malshanskyj, who could only fire over.

Out of nowhere George Smith doubled his tally to restore Ardley’s lead. He was able to carry the ball from the left wing to the edge of the box before firing low beyond Winman. Longlevens’ defenders were audibly upset with the goal, as was captain O’Connor.

And it was O’Connor who dragged Levens back into the game. His passing was superb and he positioned himself a little bit deeper and anchored the Levens attack.

The visitors grabbed their equaliser after O’Connor’s 30 yard thunderbolt crashed off the crossbar and Jonty Welch was on hand to nod the ball in, despite the efforts of the Ardley defence on the line.

Ardley’s Sam Jenkins was then caught napping by Malshanskyj, who saw his initial effort saved before smashing the ball home from a wide angle.

Adam Hemming, Dave Merrick & Isaac Johns all came off the bench as Levens looked to hold on to the three points. Merrick saw an effort blocked and Malshanskyj headed over as they nearly added a fourth.

The kick in the teeth came when Smith cut one way then the other on the right hand side, before pulling it back for substitute Jordan Thomas to snatch a dramatic point for Ardley.

The draw sees Longlevens move onto 18 points and despite staying bottom of the Hellenic Premier, they find themselves just two points behind local rivals Tuffley Rovers and four behind Abingdon United, who have played five more than Longlevens.

Ardley sit 15th In the league and will still be looking for a couple more wins to secure survival themselves.

Ardley United: Lawrence, Griffiths, Goodall, Giles, West, Jenkins, Yusuf (T Moore), McKirnan (Thomas), Smith, J Moore (Gabbidon), Harris

Subs Not Used: Gillett, Bryan

Longlevens: Winman, Barnett, Smyllie, Long (Johns), Sausman (Hemming), Kavanagh, Welch (Merrick), Spurrier, O’Connor, Malshanskyj, Emmett

Subs Not Used: Martin

Severn Sport Man Of The Match – Lewis Spurrier (Longlevens)

 

Elsewhere in the Hellenic Premier, Brimscombe & Thrupp stayed top of the pile with a 2-0 win at Binfield. Goals from James Campbell & Jack Smith see the Lilywhites move 7 points clear at the top. 

Bishops Cleeve stay two points behind the chasing pack after being held to a 1-1 draw at Virginia Water. Ieuan Crowe’s leveler keeps Stephen Cleal’s men right amongst it. 

A Dom Kent equaliser saw Tuffley Rovers battle to a 1-1 draw away at title challengers Ascot United. Adam Bloomfield also made his debut for Rovers after signing dual registration forms from Slimbridge. 

It was a bad day at the office for Jody Bevan’s Fairford Town side as they were beaten 3-0 away at Shrivenham. And in the Supplementary Cup Lydney Town were beaten on penalties at Burnham.