Ben L’Honore scored a hat-trick as Stotfold ran out 5-3 winners in their first league action of 2016 on Saturday.
A much changed Stotfold, due to injury, illness, suspensions and holidays, travelled to Leverstock Green in the SSML Premier Division.
The game started in freezing conditions and for the first 23 minutes it was pretty much backs to the wall but without any cutting edge with Adam Harpur really not having to make a save.
Meanwhile at the other end a free kick on the edge of the Leverstock box was struck at the wall by L’Honore and fell to Michael Simpson 22 yards out and he smashed it into the top corner.
Then with another set play from from the right L’Honore whipped the ball into the top left hand corner to double the lead.
Just past the half hour from a more central position the same player again put one up and over the wall to score his second and Stotfold’s third.
With just two minutes of the half left a rare venture into the Stotfold box bore fruit as keeper Adam Harpur brought down the Leverstock centre forward. The resulting penalty was cooly dispatched.
Then in added time a Stotfold corner from the right was cleared as far as Ashley Fitton on the top of the box who dropped his shoulder and let fly into the bottom left of the net for a 4-1 interval lead..
The superstitious Stotfold manager Rob Bates opened his can of pitch side drink and took a sip and stated “we’ll score here”. They did this throughout the game and every time Rob took a sip a goal was scored!
Into the second half and with nothing to lose Levestock came out the traps forcing a foul on the edge on the box. The bobbled free kick was spilt by Adam Harpur for an ugly looking but simple tap in.
Despite plenty of possession territory and chances from Stotfold a defensive slip in the now boggy conditions let Leverstock in again to put them just one goal behind.
Now with 12 minutes left on the clock a slide rule pass from Jaiden Irish up the inside right channel allowed L’Honore to spring the offside trap and slot home his hat-trick for 5-3.
In the final mnutes there were chances at either end, L’Honore could have had five if not for some brilliant last ditch defending from Leverstock but in the end it was a well deserved Stotfold win.
Stotfold host Berkhamsted in the league on Tuesday.