Month: December 2021

New Year’s Day

What better way to start 2022 than a trip to the QEII Stadium. Tomorrow, Saturday, we start the new year with another local derby, this time against Potters Bar Town, kick off is 3 PM.

Our visitors have had a mixed season and are currently 14th in the table with 24 points. They recently recorded a sensational 5-1 away win at high-flying Lewes but more recently have lost 3-4 at home to Leatherhead and 1-4 at Corinthian Casuals.

For our part we need to get back to winning ways after two defeats and a draw from our last three league games.

Every team has a spell like that during the season, the test is how quickly you can bounce back. There would be no better way to start 2022 than with a home win, but it will not be easy.

Two days later on Jan 3 we make the trip across London to play Cray Wanderers who play their home games at Bromley FC .

The travel information below is from Cray’s website.

There Ain’t No Justice

Cheshunt 2 Enfield Town 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

The old adage that football is a cruel game was rarely more applicable than on Monday when we dominated our local rivals but somehow came away with nothing apart from frustration and disappointment as we slipped out of the play-off places for the first time in weeks.

A huge Town following boosted the derby attendance to a bumper 966 but we left to rue a spate of near-misses as well as a series of bizarre decisions by the officials.

On another day we would have won comfortably but were undone by two pieces of clinical finishing by Cheshunt after taking an early lead.

After a pitch inspection allowed the game to go ahead, both teams started without key players through illness and injury, in our case Manny Maja and Andre Coker. 

But we were in front after 11 minutes. Adam Cunnington, who tirelessly won challenges all afternoon, saw his header from Lee Chappell’s long throw cleared off the line and when Lee recycled the ball back in, Sam Youngs (pictured) headed home.

Six minutes later, however, Cheshunt were level with, to their credit, a well-worked team goal finished off by Mo Camara.

After a brief respite, it wasn’t long before we wrested back control in terms of chances and possession. Lyle Della-Verde’s shot stung the hands of the Cheshunt keeper, Rian Bray missed a golden opportunity from six yards by heading over and not one but two penalty appeals were turned down, one of them a cast-iron spot-kick for a body check.

Just before the interval, Percy Kiangebeni’s strength took him past three players and he was unlucky to see his resultant shot come back off the post.

H-T 0-0

The second half began as the first ended as Della-Verde was thwarted by a last-ditch block and Percy curled a shot narrowly wide.

It wasn’t long before we had the ball in the net again, only for the referee to blow for an infringement.

Cheshunt’s defensive bravery often spilled over into ugly fouls, not least on Mo Faal who found himself a marked man most of the afternoon but still posed a worry for the hosts.

We could, maybe should, have done better with a series of wasted freekicks in dangerous positions but it seemed only a matter of time before the pressure told.

Instead on 75 minutes, just as we feared it might be one of those days, the Ambers stole the points. Their main man, Rowan Liburd, had posed little threat beforehand but good strikers only need one chance and when the ball ran loose to him in a swift counter-attack, he burst forward and buried his shot in the corner.

The goal galvanised Cheshunt whilst leaving us shellshocked and unable to create any worthwhile chances to salvage a draw as we tired visibly after such a strong effort.

Having dropped points now against several of our playoff rivals, it leaves us ideally needing a maximum haul over the New Year period against Potters Bar and Cray.

In conclusion, it has to be said that the conduct of a minority of home fans, notably unnecessary foul and abusive language, was disappointing.

“It was a very frustrating afternoon and a game we wouldn’t have lost but for two bits of pace from their forward,” said manager Andy Leese after seeing Cheshunt leapfrog us in the table.

“We controlled the game, had a decent penalty shout in the first half and created plenty but the game is decided in both boxes and they obviously edged that.”

“I was pleased with how we played after the injury and illness issues we have had. We have to look forward now and get back on track if we want to stay in the race at the top. Not many points are covering a host of teams and they will all have to play each other.

“We now have to regroup and reset ourselves for the second half of the season.  If we achieve what we have in the first half, we will be fine but I want us to improve on that.”

Town:

McDonald; Chappell, Bray, Joseph, Kirwan (Cook 83); Kiangebeni, Youngs, Thomas, Della-Verde (Taafe, 83); Faal, Cunnington

Trio Out On Loan

We have sent three players – Matt Walsh, Ebrima Sawaneh and Eli Nicholls – out on loan to Step 4 Colney Heath on a dual registration basis in order to get game time.

“All of them are still our players and we can recall them any time,” confirmed Andy Leese.

Whilst Matt and Ebrima will be familiar names, Eli’s favoured position is fullback. His last club was Carshalton and he trained with us for number of weeks.

Graham Dodd, our head of football operations (pictured), further explained: “We felt it would be better for them to go out on loan. Nothing beats game time but they are all boys who we want to keep tabs on.”

New Arrival

With a mammoth January programme, the management team have been quick to strengthen our defensive midfield options by bringing in 25-year-old Michael Dome-Bemwin.

Michael has played in the USA, Spain, Cyprus and, most recently in terms of his overseas sojourns, Sweden.

 Whitehawk held his registration but Town fans will perhaps remember him playing against us for Lewes a couple of years ago on the opening day of the season.

Welcome, Michael

A personal thank you

Enfield Town chairman Paul Reed has a special message for all those who followed us at Eastleigh on Saturday

Saturday was a tough day for us on the pitch against a really good Eastleigh side, we were understrength through Covid, illness and suspension but I was extremely proud of how the boys kept going to the end, didn’t allow their heads to drop and kept fighting for every ball.

To be competing at that stage of the competition against full-time teams shows how far we have come in our 20 years. I spent some time after the game talking to their directors and understanding the journey they have been on to get to that level and what has been involved financially and operationally to get them to and sustain themselves in the National League. It definitely gave me some real insight in to the finances and structure needed to compete at the higher echelons of non-league football and offered food for thought for us a board as we plan for the future.

For me, the outstanding memory of Saturday will be the incredible support that the team received, both in numbers and volume you delivered outstanding backing to the boys with constant singing and encouragement throughout the 90 minutes.

 The players and management have all told me how much it meant to them and you also received many compliments for the officials and supporters of Eastleigh that I spoke to.

For so many of you to make a 200-mile round trip on the Saturday before Christmas in these uncertain times is amazing and as a club we would like to offer a small token of our appreciation for you at the Potters Bar game on New Year’s Day.

Anyone presenting proof of purchase of a ticket for the Eastleigh game can claim a complimentary drink from the bar (up to a value of £4.50) and a limited edition ETFC chocolate bar as a thank you from the club. Please show your proof at the bar to claim your items.

I understand all ticket purchases for the game were “cashless” so hopefully you will easily be able to demonstrate your purchase, however if for any reason you cannot, please contact me at chairman@etfc.london and we can make alternative arrangements.

On behalf of the board, players and management, thank you again for your incredible support on Saturday and please do get behind the team for the rest of the season.

Up The Town

Paul Reed

Absentees felt in Trophy defeat

Eastleigh 5 Enfield Town 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

It’s hard enough being drawn away from home against a fully professional side two divisions higher. But when your squad is suddenly decimated, the task becomes virtually impossible.

So it was on Saturday when Town lost a swathe of  regular starters to Covid on the morning of the FA Trophy third round tie at Eastleigh.

Add to that the one-match suspension of Manny Maja and the fact that we had only two players on the bench eligible to play and you get some idea of the nightmare scenario the management team faced on the trip to Hampshire.

To their credit, despite one or two playing out of position, the team battled hard, kept their shape and were well in the game at 1-0 down. But once the second Eastleigh goal went in on the stroke on halftime, any chance of a recovery flew out the window.

Some of our defending could – perhaps should –  have been cleverer. For much of the game, Mo Faal was having to track back, nullifying his goal threat.

But in the end, we can have no complaints as our run in the competition came to an end against a quicker, stronger, physically superior team who didn’t really give us a sniff of a goal or any worthwhile possession and wore us down.

Former Southampton midfielder Jake Hesketh stole the show with a sublime hat-trick (and hit the woodwork twice) as the Spitfires took charge from the off, unlike the FA Cup meeting with Folkestone earlier in the season when our playoff rivals so nearly caused a huge upset .

Eastleigh were almost ahead within two minutes through Tyrone Barnett and further penalty area scrambles came and went in the opening period.

Just as we showed signs of settling into the game, we fell behind on 37 minutes as Hesketh fired home off the post with fantastic technique.

Being robbed of possession against full-time professionals is a dangerous game and it wasn’t long before Eastleigh doubled their lead, this time through advancing full-back Josh Hare who smashed the ball home with the help of a deflection off Sam Youngs.

H-T 0-2

Three minutes after the break it was game over as Ryan Hill fed Hesketh who carried the ball forward and finished in the corner.

Only now did we look like getting on the scoresheet as both Youngs and Faal fired off shots that either missed the target or were too soft.

The fourth goal, and arguably the best, came on 70 minutes when a well-worked corner was played across our box for Andrew Boyce to unleash a magnificent volley.

In truth, Nathan McDonald couldn’t do anything about any of the goals and the fifth came on 81 minutes as Hesketh finished off some terrific interplay.

It could have ben worse as Hesketh and Harry Pritchard both rattled the woodwork in the final stages.

Whilst we were bruised and battered at the finish there is no doubt that mitigating circumstances played a considerable part.

Special mention has to go to our travelling fans who kept up a relentless noise and outsung the home supporters in the 877 crowd from start to finish. They were a credit to the club and were praised by a number of Eastleigh officials.

 “A challenging day was made more difficult when circumstances conspired against us with a number of positive Covid tests in the camp on Friday and Saturday  morning,” said Andy Leese afterwards.

“It may not have affected the outcome of the game but it certainly affected the preparation as we had to select another team to the one we worked on all week.”

“We conceded goals at poor times especially the second and third. We never really kept hold of the ball long enough to fashion any decent opportunities and didn’t give our fantastic support much to shout about.”

“We can get back to the league campaign provided we have enough fit and healthy players to train this week. Thanks to everyone who travelled to support us. Please stay behind the team as we look to make this a memorable season.”

Whilst it was a disappointing end to the Trophy run, the league comes first and now we prepare – Covid regulations permitting — for the eagerly awaited derby at playoff rivals Cheshunt on Dec 27 before an eye-watering nine scheduled games in January.

Town:

McDonald; Joseph, Gyebi, Bray, Smith; Youngs, Taaffe (Kirwan 83), Kiangebeni, Coker (Cook 67), Faal; Cunnington

Updated Match Information

Our home match with Bowers & Pitsea has been rearranged to take place on Tuesday 18th January.

Meanwhile, please note that match tickets for our 3rd Round FA Trophy tie at Eastleigh on Saturday are available at https://www.eastleighfc.com/tickets/

Adult tickets are £10 and concessions are £5.

We understand Eastleigh do not intend to segregate away fans. Tickets will be available on matchday and Eastleigh intend to make an announcement closer to match day.

If you wish to travel by coach to Eastleigh, just a reminder to please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563 or lesgold@enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk. The coach will depart the QE II Stadium at 11 AM. Cost £16.

You will be required to wear face coverings on the coach, and Eastleigh have advised face coverings are required to enter their club shop.

If you are intending to use the coach it is recommended you take a Lateral Flow Test on Saturday morning.

Andy and Mo

For those who haven’t seen it, here is the link to a fascinating interview with both the manager and Mo following the Bognor game.

Andy talks about the match itself, fixture congestion, the competitiveness of our league, our unique fans and preparations for Eastleigh while Mo discusses his love for the club, his aims and aspirations.

Meantime, just to remind everyone that match tickets for our FA Trophy tie at Eastleigh are now available at https://www.eastleighfc.com/tickets/

Adult tickets are £10 and concessions are £5.

No decision has yet been made by Eastleigh if tickets will be available on the day or if away supporters will be segregated. These decisions may be dependant on advanced ticket sales

If you wish to travel by coach to Eastleigh please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563 or lesgold@enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk

Coaches will depart the QE II Stadium at 11AM (to be confirmed).

Points Shared at Bognor

Bognor Regis Town 2 Enfield Town 2

Two points dropped after a lightning start, or one gained after being reduced to 10 men?

 You could probably argue it both ways as we came away from Bognor Regis with a rare draw on Saturday that pushed us down one place in the table into third.

Following the defeat by Folkestone, the management team rung the changes – four in fact — as Lee Chappell replaced Jonathan Muleba who was unavailable, Rian Bray came in for  Jerry Gyebi, Nathan Smith replaced Ryan Kirwan and  Adam Cunnington started in place of Lyle Della-Verde.

To say we began on the front foot is an understatement as we tore into Bognor from the kickoff.

As early as the third minute a right-wing cross was headed over the bar by Cunnington while our new-look defence dealt efficiently with three Rocks corners.

 We were soon in front when an eighth-minute freekick by Andre Coker found Mo Faal who got ahead of his marker to volley superbly into the top corner.

We carried on in the same vein, forcing the home defence into mistakes and on 13 minutes doubled our lead.

Bognor gave the ball away on the halfway line and  Cunnington set Mo free to run half the length of the pitch and slot the ball wide of the keeper.

Town continued to dominate and another attack found Percy Kiangebeni in the penalty area by the touch line. His pass found Sam Youngs whose shot was blocked, the ball falling to Chappell whose volley flashed just over the bar.

After 20 minutes Bognor started to get a foothold in the game and found more and more space especially down Town’s left flank.

Nathan Odogonyero was denied by Nathan McDonald when clean through but eight minutes before the break our lead was halved, Odogonyero poking home the rebound after Nathan, with a rare mistake, spilled Jake Flannigan’s effort.

Town were lucky not to concede an equaliser when Bognor’s Charlie Hall found space in the box, only for Harold Joseph to produce an excellent challenge.

H-T 1-2

We were forced into an unfortunate change at halftime as Ryan Kirwan replaced the injured Joseph – arguably our best defender in recent weeks.

Bognor continued where they left off and yellow cards were dished out to Sam Youngs and Percy Kiangebeni.

Jordan Mongoy’s volley missed the far post by inches and things got even more difficult for Town when, on 63 minutes, we found ourselves a man short.

Manny Maja, having already been booked,  was shown a second yellow for kicking the ball away and will now frustratingly miss the eagerly anticipated FA Trophy tie at National League Eastleigh.

Scott Thomas was quickly sent on for Andre Coker to help with a backs-to-the-wall last period as Bognor smelt blood and poured forward.

Odokonyero’s low shot was well saved by McDonald but the Rocks had to wait until the 87th minute to equalise, the pressure finally telling as Mongoy headed in Joe Dandy’s fierce cross.

Mongoy then shot over while another  Dandy cross was deflected agonisingly wide.

To say we didn’t get the rub of the green was an understatement, however, one example being Percy having his shirt pulled by a defender just as he had a clear run on goal, with only yellow produced by the ref.

And yet we might so easily have dramatically snatched it deep into stoppage time.

Mo, put through by Sam Youngs, squandered the chance of a hattrick when one on one with Amadou Tangara, his shot clipping the keeper’s shoulder.

“It was a massive physical effort from the boys to stay in the game in the second half,” said manager Andy Leese. “Maja is disappointed with what he did and will learn from it.

“It was good game management under pressure but perhaps we should have put the game to bed in the first half. We are still in a great position in what is proving to be a very even league. A week of hard work  and preparation now lies ahead and we will assess to squad to see how we tackle Eastleigh.”

Town: McDonald; Chappell,  Joseph (Kirwan, 45), Bray, Smith; Maja, Youngs, Kiangenbeni (Taafe, 82); Cunnington, Faal, Coker (Thomas, 66).

Thanks to John Dolan for contributing heavily to this report