Longlevens manager Craig Martin has praised his young guns after they competed with Flackwell Heath and earned a 2-2 draw, having been 2-1 down after being 1-0 up.
A first half freekick from captain Shaun O’Connor put Levens a goal in front, before goals from Phillip John and Khalid Simmo put the hosts in front at Wilks Park.
However a second half strike from Brad Martin saw Levens return to Gloucestershire with a hard earned point and Craig Martin praised both sides for a competitive game.
“The performance was a hard working battling performance from us,” said Martin. “The boys took the lead with a fantastic free Kick from the captain before losing Will Emery to injury and it disrupted the way we were playing to be honest.
Flackwell scored two good goals and looked like they were going onto win but out of nowhere sub Joe Haswell made a great tackle and played an inch perfect pass into the path of Brad to score.
Both teams still pushed for the winner late on and some great last ditch defending from both sides made sure it was a draw. Both sides could have sat on the draw and moved on, but we both went for it which was great to see,” Martin added.
Shaun O’Connor’s goal was his second free kick of the week after his goal against Hereford Lads Club on Wednesday night and Martin praised his captain for a man of the match performance.
“Shaun has really matured since being put into midfield last season and we have seen that all season and yesterday he was our man of match with a superb goal and outstanding leadership performance once again!”
Wasn’t much point diving for that benno pic.twitter.com/CMHAYDDqbn
— Shaun O’Connor (@shaun_13) December 7, 2019
Once again though Martin has praised his young players for producing another great away performance, including Gloucester City U18s man Joe Haswell, who built on a great performance in midweek by coming off the bench to set up the equalising goal and Martin believes there is more to come from his young players.
“Joe Haswell is getting some good minutes lately and yesterday he showed more glimpses of what he has to offer. You can see that he has a lot of potential and I believe in the coming weeks we will see more of what he can bring to our side.
Games against sides like Flackwell is a learning curve for players like Joe, George Callinan and Jack Cornell, who are all only 18, along with Harry [Emmett] and Isaac [Johns] who have had a year more with the first team. But for all of our young players it’s all about taking your chance when you get it. There is still a long way to go this season and the whole squad will be required,” Martin added.
Martin will get a chance to utilise his squad on Wednesday evening, when Longlevens host Hallen in the GFA Challenge Trophy at Saw Mills and he expects another tough night for his young side.
“Wednesday night will see a lot of changes as we lost three players to injury yesterday, Joe Haswell is cup tied, Shaun O’Connor is working away and a couple just need a rest, so it’s going to be a very tough game and Hallen will be looking to continue their momentum and knock us out of the county cup,” Martin said.
Longlevens host Hallen in the GFA Challenge Trophy on Wednesday night before hosting Holmer Green next weekend.