Longlevens player/assistant manager Craig Martin scored with the last kick of the game to chalk up a first league win of the season for his side, as they beat local rivals Tuffley Rovers 2-1 at Glevum Park.
Both sides went into the game in search of their first league win of the season, with Longlevens coming in with more momentum after a 1-0 win at Holmer Green in the FA Cup on Saturday. And the opening exchanges saw both sides trying to feel their way into the game.
The deadlock was broken by Longlevens’ first real attacking move on 9 minutes. After great link up play by forwards Adam Philp and James Campbell the ball ricocheted to Philp who fizzed a ball in from the left. Wing back Rhys Lewis was arriving at the back post to put Levens in front.
The longer the half went on though the more Rovers came back into the game. Half chances for Joel White and shots off target from the impressive Essa Sabally stirred the Rovers side and fans alike.
Longlevens defended fairly comfortably in the first half but just before the 25 minute mark a poor pass back by Ed Smyllie was leapt on by Jake Rhodes. In trying to make up for his error Smyllie could only bring Rhodes down to gift Tuffley a spotkick. Just like against Colney Heath in the FA Cup on Saturday, Warren Mann stepped up to convert from 12 yards.
Into the second half both sides traded blows and the game definitely felt like more of a local derby. A good old fashioned 50/50 between Dave Rich and Joel White nearly brought grown men at Glevum Park to tears. It was a thing of beauty! Dom Kent came out a different player in the second half and was a threat for the first 15 minutes or so.
Kent, Mann and James began to find more space and break quickly for Rovers as they began to take control. Only a great back post header from Kieran Squires prevented Jake Rhodes scoring from a matter of yards.
Essa Sabally went off for Tuffley injured and was replaced by Ryan Dobbins, with Kieran Alder replacing Dom Kent. Rovers huffed and puffed but didn’t test Levens keeper Ash Wintle enough to get themselves over the line.
For Longlevens the impressed James Campbell was replaced by Craig Martin and Jay Kennedy was replaced by Shaun O’Connor. The two experienced men both threatened and both had efforts wide in the late stages.
There would be a sucker punch to Tuffley for all of their hardwork after neat play from Logan Roach and Shaun O’Connor saw the latter fizz in a cross from the left allowing Martin to win it for the visitors.
The win sees Longlevens move up to 10th in the Hellenic Premier ahead of their visit to Brackley Town Saints on Saturday whilst Tuffley Rovers travel to Ardley United, another one of the sides who are yet to get a point in the league.
Longlevens welcome Tuffley to Saw Mills for the reverse fixture on Wednesday 5th September before the two sides play for the third time in a month in the FA Vase at Saw Mills on Saturday 15th September.
Tuffley Rovers Starting XI: Merchant, Loveridge, Herbert, White, Hill, Walker, Mann, Sebally (Dobbins), Kent (Alder), James, Rhodes
Subs Not Used: Carter, Manners, Williams
Longlevens Starting XI: Wintle, Lewis, Roach, Sysum, Smyllie, Squires, Rich, Kennedy (O’Connor), Turner, Philp (Johns), Campbell (Martin)
Subs Not Used: Emmett, Callinan
Tuffley Rovers Man Of The Match (as picked by Steven Bevan): Essa Sabally
Longlevens Man Of The Match (as picked by Ryan Butler): Matt Sysum