Month: April 2022

Ecstasy to Last-Gasp Agony

Enfield Town 2 Hornchurch 3

Report by Andrew Warshaw

So close and yet, agonisingly, so far.

In front of our biggest ever home attendance, a staggering 1,948, Enfield Town’s promotion hopes ended in heartbreaking anguish last night, leaving players, management, fans and directors collectively shellshocked.

Town were just three minutes away from the Isthmian Premier League playoff final, with promotion to the Holy Grail of National League South within touching distance, when Hornchurch struck twice to spoil the party in a last-gasp win that left all of us scarcely able to  believe what had happened.

In an incredible atmosphere in our first playoff for five years, Town led twice through Jerry Gyebi and Mo Faal, only for the Urchins to level on 87 minutes with a piece of sublime skill from super-sub Sam Higgins, then snatch victory three minutes later as the clock ticked towards extra time.

With three players ruled out at the worst possible time – skipper Scott Thomas and Nathan Smith through injury and long throw specialist  Lee Chappell through personal circumstances – John Muleba started at right-back and Harold Joseph, who had hardly trained, was called up at the last minute to the bench against the surprise winners of last season’s FA Trophy.

Town’s line-up was certainly an attacking one with all three of our forwards starting in a 4-3-3- formation.  Adam Cunnington had the game’s first big chance when he headed wide after two minutes while at the other end former Towner Micky Parcell sent Liam Nash’s backheel too close to Nathan McDonald.

Olly Muldoon and Joe Christou both then threatened our goal as we took time to settle but  we gradually imposed ourselves on the game and  on 38 minutes, shortly after a clear penalty claim for handball was turned down, we took the lead. Percy Kiangebeni’s freekick was flicked on and Jerry Gyebi – one of our best players on the night – supplied an excellent finish (pictured).

It could so easily have been 2-0 when a Sam Youngs effort hit the base of the post before rebounding to safety. The first half was then prolonged for several minutes for what appeared to be a bad injury to Hornchurch’s Tom Wraight who was carried off on a stretcher and replaced.

H-T 1-0

Just after the restart, again we might have doubled our lead when Cunnington’s bicycle kick had Joe Wright, another ex-Towner, scrambling, only for Hornchurch to level out of nothing on 56 minutes when Nash took advantage of hesitant defending to convert a long throw.

It didn’t at the time do any lasting damage, however, because within a couple minutes we had restored our lead as Muleba’s surging run and cross was rattled home by Mo Faal.

But cue Hornchurch’s call from the bench for the dangerous Higgins who turned the game on its head. With his first touch,  he created a golden chance for Nash who shot inches wide with McDonald beaten.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, we almost made the game safe only for Wright to save superbly from the ever-willing if tiring Cunnington. But just as it looked as if we would hold on and the celebrations would last long into the night, they were suddenly cut short. Higgins controlled the ball 25 yards out and sent an outrageous lob beyond McDonald and in off the post for 2-2.

All eyes were now on extra time but instead Town’s collective hearts were broken as the ball was fed out once again to Nash and this time he made no mistake, lashing it into the far corner.

As our frustrations boiled over, there was still time sadly for Manny Maja to be dismissed for a second yellow.

To make matters worse, victory would have given us a home final against local arch-rivals Cheshunt, who upset Bishop’s Stortford in the other semifinal, on Bank Holiday Monday, a double whammy that made the last-gasp defeat all the more gut-wrenching to take.

Crestfallen players who had left everything on the pitch slumped to the ground in abject disappointment at the final whistle before regrouping for a squad huddle with the management staff to reflect on what has been the club’s best ever season.

It was entirely fitting that after a memorable campaign, the team were given a rapturous send-off by the majority of a bumper crowd that had the stadium packed to the rafters and bursting at the seams.

“Football can be a cruel mistress at times and so it proved,” said Enfield manager Andy Leese. “A devastating end to the game and our hopes which I just didn’t see coming. We gave it our all and edged a very competitive game until the last few minutes when a couple of bits of excellent finishing undid us. It’s been an exceptional season in so many ways and we shouldn’t lose sight of that. Final mention to our incredible support which went to a new level last night. Huge appreciation from us all on the management and playing staff.”

Despite the agony of defeat and a summer of “what ifs” ahead, the entire squad can look back with pride. The playoffs were always the goal from day one of the season, something clubs with far greater resources than Town also aspired to but never achieved.

A record points tally and biggest ever average home gate speaks volumes about the commitment and camaraderie of a unique group of players.

“It was hugely disappointing to get so close to our first playoff final at this level but when the dust settles we will look back and feel very proud,” said chairman Paul Reed.

“To have a crowd of that magnitude shows the inroads we’ve made in the local community and how our support base is growing. Hopefully we can carry that forward.”

Town: McDonald, Muleba, Bray, Gyebi, Kirwan (Della Verde 90), Kiangebeni, Maja, Youngs;  Cunnington, Faal, Cass

Winner Takes All

Playoff Preview by Andrew Warshaw

It is, quite simply, the biggest game we have ever played at the QEII and the anticipation is reaching fever pitch.

They say you deserve to be where you finish and after 42 league games, months of intensive hard work, behind-the-scenes attention to detail and all-important spirit and cameraderie, it all comes down to Wednesday night’s nailbiting play-off semifinal against familiar foes Hornchurch.

Play-off games, as we all know, are one-off affairs. They can be decided by a sublime piece of a skill or an outrageous stroke of luck. Euphoria can change to heartbreak in the blink of an eye – and vice-versa.

Just like Town, Hornchurch will be desperate to come away with victory, not least after losing to us twice this season. With a place in the final and the Holy Grail of Step 2 football so close, neither side will want their season to end just yet.

One thing’s for sure: the management team will have been meticulous in the build-up to the game and the atmosphere promises to be electric with Towners fans coming out in their hundreds to try and push us over the line and into a final against either Bishop’s Stortford or Cheshunt.

What we have achieved already is a tribute to the management staff and players, most of whom were not around the last time we reached the playoff semifinal five years ago. This time we want to go one better.

It’s highly possible that not one, not two but three ex-Town players could be facing us in a Hornchurch shirt with several ex-Towner legends likely to be in attendance.

Having become the first Step 3 side to win the FA Trophy, non-league football’s biggest prize, last season, Hornchurch know all about the big stage. But after Saturday’s Bognor result, coupled with Wingate’s surprise win at Hornchurch, there was a confident air of “bring it on” amongst our boys who are hungry to succeed and raring to go.

“Being rewarded with a home tie is something in all honesty I didn’t expect would happen,” Andy Leese (pictured) told the Our Local Non-League podcast. “But we worked hard for it and finishing third in the league is a reflection of what we’ve done all season so I’m absolutely delighted.”

With no league fixtures to fall back on, Andy and his staff will have left no stone unturned to get the players in the right frame of mind.

“The mindset is obviously slightly different because it’s bit like the last-chance saloon. But I’ve got a bunch of players who know the drill. A lot of them are used to playing in big games.”

Advanced ticket sales have gone through the roof though you can of course still purchase tickets on the night by cash or card at the turnstiles.

Stand transfer tickets, price £2 , will be available on the night but are likely to sell out before kick off. These can be purchased at the exit to the balcony in the main building. For crowd management and safety reasons there will be no access to the balcony except for those purchasing stand transfer tickets. We would appreciate your co-operation with these arrangements.

Turnstiles will open at 6 PM, bar and catering facilities will be open, and it is suggested you try to arrive 30 minutes before kick off if possible. This will help to ensure we can get everyone in the ground before kick off.

We do anticipate the main car park will be full before kick off . If you can walk or arrive by public transport that may be preferable. Car sharing is also very much encouraged.


Playoff Match Arrangements

Enfield Town FC V Hornchurch – Wednesday 27 April 2022, 7:45PM

Tickets are now available online and are already selling well. Purchasing tickets in advance should speed up the process of entering the ground. Usual ticket prices apply. You can of course still purchase tickets on the night by cash or card.

Click here to purchase tickets

Season tickets and GoToTown packages are not valid for this game to comply with the regulations set by the Isthmian League.

Stand transfer tickets, price £2, will be available on the night but are likely to sell out before kick off. These can be purchased at the exit to the balcony in the main building. For crowd management and safety reasons there will be no access to the balcony except for those purchasing stand transfer tickets. We would appreciate your co-operation with these arrangements.

Turnstiles will open at 6pm, bar and catering facilities will be open, and it is suggested you try to arrive 30 minutes before kick off if possible. This will help to ensure we can get everyone in the ground before kick off.

We do anticipate the main car park will be full before kick off and we are exploring alternative parking options but if you can walk or arrive by public transport that may be preferable. Car sharing is also very much encouraged. We will update you if we secure additional parking.

The game itself will be decided on the night with extra time and if necessary penalties. COYT!

Award Winners

Sam Youngs has won the supporters’ player of the season award and was presented with his trophy on the pitch immediately following our 1-0 win over Bognor on Saturday.

In all there were seven awards,  the club person of the year accolade going to  Glen Hosford for his tireless work on the pitch, supporting Dave Farenden through all weathers.

Mo Faal won two awards – the manager’s player of the season and the Golden Boot  prize having scored 32 league goals in 42 games (41 in all competitions) while Manny Maja took the young player award

Sam also won goal of the season as well as the players’ player award

Congratulations to each and every  winner for their invaluable contribution to a terrific season.

Meanwhile tickets for our eagerly anticipated playoff semi-final at home to Hornchurch on Wednesday can be purchased in advance by clicking here

Home To Hornchurch In Playoff Showdown

Enfield Town 1 Bognor Regis 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

What a day. What a Season. And it Ain’t over yet!

To chants to “We’re Proud of You”, Enfield Town rounded off their best ever Isthmian League season with a record points haul to finish third in the table, thereby clinching a home semi-final playoff against Hornchurch.

On a dramatic final day of Step 3 action, we needed to better Hornchurch’s result against Wingate and Finchley to leapfrog the Urchins and secure home advantage on Wednesday.

And we did exactly that courtesy of Adam Cunnington’s early second half goal, coupled with Wingate’s shock victory on the road. Thanks to W and F boss and former Town skipper Marc Weatherstone for helping us out!

The scenes of unbridled joy at the final whistle told their own story as the majority of a bumper crowd of 668 celebrated our first playoff for five years.

Jake Cass, who had a slight niggle, was left on the bench with our playoff place already assured as were Lee Chappell and Lyle Della-Verde, the latter two coming on late in the second half.

In a swirling wind and on a bumpy pitch, conditions were not easy but Town were deserved winners in a carnival atmosphere, upping our game in the second half against opponents whose approach play was neat but who struggled in the final third.

Mo Faal, the league’s second highest scorer with 32 goals, had the first big chance, his shot brilliantly pushed over by Amadou Tangara after just two minutes.  Mo then somehow contrived to shoot wide of the far post with only the keeper to beat.

At the other end  Nathan McDonald was forced into action with a magnificent stop from Charlie Bell while Alfie Bridgeman’s cross came off the shin off Nathan Odokonyero.

With the wind behind them, a youthful Bognor side enjoyed plenty of first-half possession but just before halftime almost paid for a mistake by Tangara who hit a poor clearance straight at Ryan Kirwan, the richochet falling just out of reach of the lurking Mo.

H-T 0-0

Straight from the restart, Bognor’s Charlie Bell let fly from 30 yards, McDonald palming the shot over, but that was the cue for Town to dominate the rest of the game with Bognor heavily reliant on central defender Joe Cook, their outstanding player on the day, to try and keep us out.

The game was won on 51 minutes as Cunnington beat Tangara to a diagonal ball from Sam Youngs and bravely headed home (pictured).

Jerry Gyebi should have quickly doubled the lead, missing the target with a free header from a corner, while Tangara saved from Youngs and Mo, who might have had a hat-trick on another day, struck another effort wide.

As news came in of Wingate’s lead at Hornchurch, it became imperative to hold on to what we had, encapsulated by Gyebi’s fantastic clearance with Odokonyero ready to pounce.

But in truth but we rarely looked in any further trouble, Percy Kiangebeni looking particularly strong just at the right time with a series of timely interceptions. Indeed, we might have stretched our lead late on when calls for a penalty went unheeded after Tangara appeared to take out Kirwan.

Now it all comes down to Wednesday night’s showdown with Hornchurch, last season’s FA Trophy winners who, in the blink of an eye, find themselves having to travel to us instead of vice-versa.

It is, quite simply, the biggest game in our history with a place in the playoff final at stake against Bishop’s Stortford or Cheshunt.

“A great day all round that worked out well for us,” said Andy Leese. “Conditions made it hard in the first half but we used them in the second and dominated. Cunns led the line well. It rounded off a great season but there is still a job to do, starting on Wednesday. A mention to the fantastic support again.”


McDonald; Smith (Chappell, 70), Bray, Gyebi; Kirwan (Muleba, 73) Youngs, Maja, Kiangebeni, Taaffe (Della Verde 71); Faal, Cunnington

Possible away play-off travel

Depending on today’s results, we could be playing the semi-final of the play-offs away at Hornchurch next Wednesday 27th April 2022. The club may be running a coach to Hornchurch subject to supporters interest.

The details are:

-Date: Wednesday 27th April 2022 
-Departure Time: 4.30pm
-Departure Point: QEII Stadium
-Cost: £16.00

If you are interested please contact Les Gold on 07979727563 or speak to him at today’s match

Bring On Bognor

It’s been an thoroughly absorbing league campaign and on Saturday it concludes with our home game against Bognor Regis – just days before our eagerly awaited playoff with Hornchurch.

Back in December we drew 2-2 at Bognor, Mo Faal putting us two up in the opening 15 minutes before Nathan Odokonyero reduced the areas before halftime.

We then came under sustained pressure in the second half, particularly after Manny Maja was sent off for a second yellow card offence, and Bognor finally levelled the scores three minutes from time through Jordy Mongoy.

Mo nearly won the game for us with a chance in the last minute but on balance 2-2 was a fair result.

Bognor have been in good form of late but will have been disappointed not to have made the playoffs along with the likes of Lewes and Folkestone. On Monday they ended Lewes’ playoff ambitions with a 1-0 home win courtesy of a goal from Dan Gifford.

We are expecting another big crowd for our last home league fixture, you can book your tickets in advance using the link below.

If we can better Hornchurch’s result at home to Wingate and Finchley, we will be at home in the playoffs. Otherwise the mouth-watering semifinal will be at Hornchurch on Wednesday night. All to play for still.

Town Top Marks Versus Scholars

Potters Bar Town 0 Enfield Town 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town warmed up for the final league game of the season with a comfortable 2-0 derby win at Potters Bar on Easter Monday that saw each and every player in a Town shirt put in a terrific shift and ensure we gained our record points tally as as Isthmian League club.

With our playoff place already in the bag, the management team took the sensible decision to rotate the squad – and it worked a treat.

Mo Faal, who is fasting during Ramadan, and Sam Youngs both started on the bench, with the fit-again Adam Cunnington up front with Jake Cass, Bilal Sayoud at wingback and Percy Kiangebeni occupying central midfield with skipper Scott Thomas out injured.

Apart from a brief spell in the second half when the Scholars came into the game, we were largely in control with everyone playing for their place with so much at stake.

Jake Cass, arguably back to his best form, was particularly prominent and was almost on target with just a couple of minutes on the clock.

The lead we had threatened to take came on 17 minutes with yet another trademark Lyle Della-Verde left-foot strike after fine work by Sayoud.

Joe Boachie, Bar’s best player on the day, almost sneaked in to capitalise on some hesitancy at the back but most of the half-chances were still coming our way, much to the delight of the Town support who made up a majority of the 562 attendance.

H-T 0-1

Whilst the Scholars improved after the break, we were still very much the more composed side and after 58 minutes almost doubled our lead. Lewis Taaffe, who put in one of his best displays in a Town shirt both at the back and going forward in his wingback role, fed Cunnington who was narrowly ruled offside as he rifled the ball home.

At the other end, the pacey Boachie produced a thankfully unconverted sparkling run and cross while Tyler Christian Law put a free header over as Bar briefly threatened.

But with Percy, who revelled in being given the captaincy for the day, and Manny Maja controlling midfield, we posed the greater physical threat and always looked capable of extending our lead.

Which is exactly what happened with seven minutes to go.  Shortly after both coming off the bench, Sam Youngs placed a sublime header through to Mo who just managed to control the bobbling ball and shoot past Kacper Kurylowicz for his 33rd league goal of the season (pictured) despite the desperate attempts of a defender to keep it out.

There was still time for both Cass and Youngs to produce further efforts in what was a thoroughly satisfying afternoon full of desire and energy, made all the more so by the fact that Hornchurch were defeated.

This means that if we win our last regular league game on Saturday at home to Bognor and Hornchurch somehow fail to beat Wingate and Finchley, we will finish third instead of fourth and secure that all-important home playoff tie against the Urchins.

All to play for still, then, and let’s hope former Towner Marc Weatherstone, now in charge of W and F, can do us a favour.

“I never felt we were in danger, they didn’t trouble us too much,” said Andy Leese, who started with a back three and wingbacks, a system we often revert to during matches.

 “We got the ball first which we didn’t do on Friday against Cray. It was a solid, efficient, professional performance. The mindset now is absolutely vital over the next 10-14 days and it started today.”


McDonald; Sayoud (Kirwan, 56), Chappell, Bray, Gyebi, Taaffe; Kiangebeni, Maja, Della-Verde (76); Cass, Cunnington (Faal, 64)

Playoffs Here We Come

Enfield Town 3 Cray Wanderers 3

Report by Andrew Warshaw

In front of our biggest gate of the season, just under 800, Enfield Town secured the point they needed to mathematically make sure of a playoff place courtesy of hattrick hero Jake Cass.

Congratulations to the players and management team for fulfilling the goal we set out to achieve  at the start of the season back in August.

John Muleba was given a rare start against Cray while Cass continued up front in the absence of the still-injured Adam Cunnington.

The last three meetings between the sides had produced 21 goals and this was no different but was by no means straightforward. We were pushed all the way by a team scrapping for their lives at the other end of the table and who almost spoiled the Good Friday party.

Cray were on a four-game losing run and because of injuries had to call up U18s keeper Nathan Boamah for his senior debut .

But he produced an outstanding performance with a number of terrific saves especially in the final 20 minutes when we were in danger of losing back-to-back matches against relegation-threatened teams and applied mounting pressure.

On 11 minutes Boamah somehow got to a trademark Lyle Della-Verde freekick with a brilliant one-handed tip over but Cray were clearly not in the mood to be over-run and caused us several anxious moments at the back, Nathan McDonald producing his own tip over from the dangerous Jamie Yila.

The first goal could have gone either way but thankfully went to us. On 28 minutes Mo Faal was hauled back just as he was about to shoot and Cass buried the penalty confidently.

The lead lasted  lasted just two minutes, however. Just as Scott Thomas was down injured, Sam Wood’s swivel and turn restored parity.

Scott had to be replaced by Percy Kiangebeni but Town were back in front with the goal of the game, a thunderous 25-yard strike from Cass that almost burst the net.

Still we couldn’t put Cray away, however, and they responded again through Richie Danquah’s bullet header from a freekick on the stroke of half-time.

H-T 2-2

Cray began the second period with renewed intent and went in front for the first time on 66  minutes through Anthony Cook with an accomplished finish after the ball ricocheted off Rian Bray.

 Cue a double substitution and a storming Town rally. Cass steered the ball inches wide after being put through by Lewis Taaffe — who scored twice when the sides drew 4-4 in January – while a Mo volley produced a flying save from 17-year-old Boamah.

Finally, with two minutes to go, the pressure told as Cass secured a point by bravely turning in Sayoud Bilal’s corner (pictured).

He almost notched a fourth to win the game, only for his left-foot volley to produce another wonderful stop from the teenage keeper.

“It’s a fantastic achievement even though we made hard work of it today,” said Andy Leese after we secured a playoff semifinal spot, almost certainly an away tie at Hornchurch or Bishop’s Stortford .

“Some of the defending today was disappointing but Cray have some excellent individuals who really turned up and are a much better side than their position suggests.

“I’m delighted with the character shown and Cassie ran the line superbly and has found his form again. Hopefully the pressure will be off in our last two games. Obviously the objective is to finish as high as we can and we’ll be at it again at Potters Bar on Monday and again on Saturday.”


McDonald; Muleba (Taaffe, 74),  Bray, Gyebi, Chappell; Maja, Youngs, Thomas (Kiangebeni, 31),  Della-Verde (Sayoud, 75); Jake Cass, Mo Faal

Crowd: 782

3pm Cray Kickoff

Just a gentle reminder to all our fans that the Good Friday game at home to Cray Wanderers kicks off at 3pm rather than the evening.

A point from this fixture would ensure our playoff place but a win could put us back in the race for a home game in the playoff semifinals.

Back on January 3 we were involved in one of the games of the season when we drew 4-4 at Cray’s temporary home at Bromley FC.

Since then former Bromley manager Neil Smith has taken over at Cray but their recent form has not been great even before Sunday’s 0-5 thrashing by Hornchurch — their fourth successive defeat. Currently in one of the two relegation spots they desperately need points from their final three games to avoid the drop.

We are expecting a big crowd for our penultimate home league fixture, you can book your tickets in advance using the link below

Enfield Town FC Supporters Society Members can now also vote for their player of the season via their link below.

Members without access to the internet can vote at the Club Shop on Friday.