Longlevens stay 8th in the Hellenic Premier despite a competitive and unlucky defeat away at Abingdon United on Saturday afternoon.
In one of only three games to be played in the division it was the hosts who started well with Jack Wright testing Ash Wintle in the Levens goal inside the first five minutes. Wintle spilled the effort but Luke Kavanagh was on hand to hook clear under pressure.
Longlevens managed to find their foothold in the game from there and after some neat interplay from the veteran duo Dave Rich and Craig Beaton on the left hand side, Shaun O’Connor found himself in on the left hand side of the box. With Abingdon keeper Eddie Cavanagh caught in two minds O’Connor’s effort was turned out for a corner.
The away side were in the ascendancy and took the lead in the 11th minute when a Brad Martin corner was cleared before the ball came out to O’Connor at the edge the box. The winger’s scuffed effort (or great pass) fell to the feet of defender Adam Phillips who calmly slotted the ball beyond Cavanagh with consummate ease.
Longlevens may have been in front but Abingdon began to get back into the contest. Through John Dennis the hosts began to find space in and around the Levens box but Dennis was unable to find the target with two fairly close efforts.
Adam Phillips and Luke Kavanagh were kept very busy at the back for Longlevens with the former called into action on a number of occasions to keep the hosts at bay. John Dennis continued to try his luck from range but only manage to shoot over the club house.
Longlevens finished the half strongly and had chances through Shaun O’Connor & Craig Beaton down the left, with the latter screwing his shot wide from just inside the box. Myron Turner then found himself in space but was denied by Cavanagh, who was keeping his side in it just before the break.
Ryan Dunn came close for Longlevens and John Dennis fired wide again for Abingdon minutes before the break and then in what turned out to be a big moment a delightful ball by Brad Martin was diverted just wide of Cavanagh’s post by one of his own defenders. Had that gone in the game would have been as good as over.
With that chance and a great opportunity squandered by Shaun O’Connor inside the first 60 seconds of the second half Abingdon grew in confidence as they felt they had weathered the storm. They were nearly gifted a route back into the game when Adam Phillips scuffed his clearance straight to Sam Wharton but centre back was able to recover just in time.
Both sides had massive chances within a minute of each other just short of the hour mark. Abingdon delivered a corner that fell all the way to the back post and as Wharton went to strike it Craig Beaton smothered the effort and it went out for another corner. From the corner Longlevens broke, Shaun O’Connor carried the ball down the left hand side and into the box. He cut back and fired straight at the rushing Cavanagh with Brad Martin there for the cut back.
Within two minutes the sides were level. As Abingdon pressed the ball found its way to Olivero in the box and his effort was blocked on the line by Ed Smyllie with Adam Phillips hooking it clear, only for the linesman to wave his flag and the goal was given. Longlevens weren’t happy as they didn’t feel the ball had crossed the line and there were suspicions of offside but the game was all square.
The game became more competitive with the equaliser with both sides shuffling their packs. Dave Merrick replaced Shaun O’Connor for Longlevens and the livewire Callum Harvey came on for the hosts as the game started to become stretched.
Adam Phillips was guilty of a late challenge with just quarter of an hour left and from the subsequent free kick John Dennis stepped up to curl Abingdon in front.
Craig Martin came on to give Longlevens more impetus up front but it was younger brother Brad who nearly assisted a beautiful equaliser. After Luke Kavanagh chipped the ball up to him he chested the ball down for Dave Merrick to strike, but the effort was dragged just wide.
The game always felt like it was getting away from Longlevens as the clock ticked down. The hosts were winding down the clock and frustrating their opponents at every set piece.
There was a late bit of drama in stoppage time as Craig Martin was bundled over on the right hand side. I don’t want to say he bought it but let’s just hope he kept the receipt! Either way it was Levens’ big chance to salvage a point. Ash Wintle came forward and after the ball was pulled back to Luke Kavanagh the game was settled.
Kavanagh wrapped his foot round the ball and it was smothered by the Abingdon defenders. The hosts raced clear into the Longlevens half 4 against 1. Kavanagh took a nibble at Callum Harvey before successfully taking the Abingdon man down, only for John Dennis to skip away and run the ball into the net and securing the points for a very game Abingdon side.
Abingdon move into the top half and will be in action against Lydney Town for the second time in three weeks when they travel to Gloucestershire next weekend.
For Longlevens they will keep an eye on Didcot Town Reserves vs Bracknell Town on Tuesday night as they host the winner in the next round of the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup before the host Royal Wootton Bassett at Saw Mills, our featured game on Severn Sport next weekend.
Abingdon: Cavanagh, McCormack, Olivero, Crooks, Berry-Hargreaves, Firkin (Harvey 70′), Wright, Butler, Noel-Williams, Dennis, Wharton (Dell 79′)
Subs not used: Edney, Green, Woodcock
Longlevens: Wintle, Kavanagh, Beaton (Sausman 63′), Phillips (C Martin 79′), Smyllie, Kennedy, Turner, Rich, O’Connor (Merrick 69′), B Martin, Dunn
Subs not used: None
Severn Sport Man of the match: Adam Phillips (Longlevens)
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