Month: August 2022

Points Shared In The Heat

Enfield Town 1 Folkestone Invicta 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Despite the scorching conditions, two sides seeking nothing less than a playoff place come the end of April served up a commendably fast-paced encounter, with the points deservedly shared as the new season got under way.

Huge credit has to go to the ground staff who have worked tirelessly during the summer to present a playing surface to be proud of.

Our visitors, who won the corresponding fixture 3-2 last season and finished in sixth place just outside the playoff places, had half a dozen newcomers in their starting line-up including a couple of eye-catching forwards.

But just like last season when we reached the playoff semifinals, Town showed tremendous tenacity and spirit and had chances of our own to take all three points.

Invicta stormed out of the blocks with three quickfire chances,  the second of which brought a magnificent one-handed tip-over save from Nathan McDonald who later admitted it was probably one of his best ever. In between, Lyle Della Verde’s run and shot whistled past a post.

After growing into the game, we took the lead on 24 minutes shortly after the first drinks break.  Ryan McLean, given the nod at rightback, dispossessed  Folkestone dangerman Ira Jackson and his glorious ball over the top found Jake Cass who had only returned from a long-haul trip six hours before kickoff but kept his composure to round the on-rushing keeper and finish wonderfully from a tight angle (pictured).

One minute later we got lucky when Jackson’s angled shot looked all the world like an equaliser, only to bounce back into play off the post with McDonald beaten.

At the other end, one of many fouls on Cass led to a yellow card for Ian Gayle but Della Verde’s freekick was charged down.

 Folkestone thought they had levelled when Jackson’s long throw from the left was nodded home by Gayle but McDonald had clearly been impeded.

In an end-to-end half, another Della-Verde effort  was deflected away before a second drinks break was allowed with just minutes to go to halftime, much to the annoyance of our our visitors.

H-T 1-0

Folkestone again started on the front foot but we always carried a goal threat.

Invicta’s new keeper Bailey Vose kept them in the game with a terrific reflex stop from Lewis Taaffe, set up by Marcus Wyllie who had a highly encouraging league debut for Town after moving up from Step 5, not only going forward but also helping out defensively.

Just before the hour mark, however, it was 1-1. Kadell Daniel wasn’t closed down and cut inside two Enfield players before curling in an unstoppable equaliser despite Ryan Kirwan’s protestations that he had been fouled in the build-up.

Cue a trio of Enfield subs including Adam Cunnington and Blaise Riley-Snow, the latter having just signed forms on a dual registration shortly before the game.

 Only in the last quarter did the energy-sapping conditions get to the players, with crosses understandably overhit and chances drying up although Bilal Sayoud saw his goalbound drive deflected for a corner. All in all a good point against a strong side .

“A fair result in the end between two very good sides going at it,” said Andy Leese afterwards. “They are stronger than last year and their front three are as good as anyone’s. First half we were about even on chances but we could have been a couple of goals to the good. Second half we didn’t get as tight on Jackson and Daniels but after their goal they didn’t really trouble us.”

“Jake and Adam had only just come back from holiday yet I thought they were running scared of Jake. It was a great finish. I always say don’t lose to the teams around you and I think Folkestone will be one of those teams.”

Town:  McDonald; McLean, Bray, Richmond, Kirwan; Thomas, Taaffe (Riley-Snow, 64), Youngs, Della-Verde (Sayoud, 80 ); Cass (Cunnington, 60), Wyllie

Town bring in new Goalkeeping Coach

We are pleased to announce that Kyri Neocleous has been appointed First Team Goalkeeping Coach. Kyri is no stranger to Enfield Town as a former manager of Enfield Town Ladies, and was most recently GK Coach at National League South side Braintree Town. We wish all the best to Jake Murphy, who has departed the club.

Andy Leese commented: “We’re sorry to lose Jake but delighted to secure Kyri as an experienced coach.”

Blaise Riley-Snow and Cheshunt FC

Town are pleased to announce the signing of Blaise Riley-Snow on a dual registration from Cheshunt FC

Twenty three year-old defensive midfielder Blaise spent last season in Scotland, playing for Raith Rovers and Alloa Athletic having previously been a professional in Spain. Welcome to the club, Blaise.

Further to our dispute with Cheshunt with regards to Ben Frempah this summer, both clubs have now spoken and are keen to move on having accepted that mistakes were made around the registration of the player. As a club we recognise and thank Cheshunt for their help in allowing us to complete the dual registration of Blaise in a speedy fashion. Whilst the player has signed league forms, we wait to receive clearance that he will be eligible to play tomorrow.

Off we go again

After what seems like no time at all, the new season gets under way tomorrow (Saturday) as we entertain Folkestone Invicta in our opening league game, writes Andrew Warshaw.

 Last season Folkestone finished sixth, just outside the playoff places, and look likely to again feature in the promotion race.

 In the corresponding fixture last season we suffered a rare home defeat losing 2-3 in front of a crowd of 501 in early December.  

Our visitors have enjoyed a good pre-season concluding with a 1-0 win over National League south Dover Athletic and a 4-2 win over Ashford United. 

Tickets for Saturday’s home league game with Folkestone are available at

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/

In the build-up to the game, we are delighted to announce that Bilal Sayoud and Lyle Della-Verde have both re-signed for Town and George Rankin from our Academy has also signed.  Both Bilal and Lyle are available to play Saturday.

Manager Andy Leese says the bulk of the squad are now back from work or holiday commitments with only one or two absentees on what is certain to be an energy-sapping afternoon in the heat.

“It all starts again tomorrow in what will be a very difficult challenge,” said Andy. “Folkestone look to have built an even stronger squad  than they ended last season with, and in addition the weather will challenge the fitness of both teams.”

“We are good to go after some hard work on the training ground and we hope to have everyone available barring a couple of players absent on holiday, not just the starting 11 but the bench as well. We are in good spirits, ready to go and looking forward to seeing the stadium in good voice. We want to pick up where we left off last season and we need your support as always to do that.”

Fixture change

Our away fixture at Kingstonian, scheduled for Saturday Aug 20,  has been switched to the following day, Sunday Aug 21.

The reason is that Kingstonian’s landlord Tooting & Mitchum have a home cup tie on the Saturday.

Kickoff time remains at 3pm

The Big Step

Enfield Town are very proud to be partnering with The Big Step this season to support their campaign to remove gambling advertising in football. The Big Step are part of the Gambling with Lives Charity. More information on their campaign can be found here. 

the-bigstep.com/home

Our Chairman, Paul Reed said: “We know that gambling can and does have a huge detrimental impact on individuals and family life and as a community club we are proud to be associated with Gambling with Lives and the Big Step. “

Pre-season ends on a high

Enfield Town 2 Berkhamsted 0

Enfield Town’s final pre-season friendly resulted in a low-key 2-0 victory over a well-organised Berkhamsted side, writes Martin Bentley.

The stifling heat resulted in a slow-paced game that will undoubtedly bear little resemblance to next Saturday’s opening league fixture against Folkestone, although Town’s overall performance was encouragingly efficient.

Neither side succeeded in troubling the goalkeepers in the opening half hour, although Lewis Taaffe shot narrowly over, and Marcus Wyllie missed inexplicably from five yards after being set up by Ryan Kirwan.

The first on-target efforts came from the visitors, both being dealt with well by Nathan McDonald, but Town got their noses in front after 41 minutes, with Lyle Della Verde curling a trademark sublime freekick past visiting keeper Craig Hill.

The second half continued in similar soporific vein, not helped by the inevitable procession of substitutions. Taaffe had a shot well saved after being set up by Wyllie, and Della Verde shot narrowly over before Town scored a second after 79 minutes. Once again the assist came from the industrious Wyllie, his pass being converted by a triallist from close range.

Town line-up: McDonald, Spencer, Kirwan, Thomas, Bray, Richmond, Taaffe, Youngs, Wyllie, Triallist, Della Verde.

Subs: Braithwaite, Connolly, Marfo, Sayoud, Smith, Wihongi, Wilkes, Triallist

Huge thanks to Spurs academy

The club continue to get the QEII ready for the eagerly awaited start of the season. Back in May we were joined by first-year players from Spurs Academy.  The under 18s teamed up with our band of volunteers to help out with a range of jobs, from sweeping the terraces to weeding.

After meeting volunteers and getting to grips with a range of jobs across the stadium site, the players met with Vice-Chairman Paul Millington and his team to learn more about the important role the community plays in supporting grassroots football. 

Speaking after meeting the players, Paul Millington, Vice-Chairman of Enfield Town FC, said: “It was fantastic to welcome the boys to Enfield Town FC and great to see them getting stuck into their jobs with such enthusiasm. 

“Clubs like ours depend on the incredible support we’re lucky to receive from a committed band of volunteers within the community. It was great to show the boys first-hand the work that goes into running a Club at this level.” 

Anton Blackwood, Senior International Football Development Manager at Tottenham Hotspur, said: “The boys were a credit to the Club and showed a huge amount of willingness to help out and work together with volunteers.  

“We have long been a Club embedded within our community – both in Tottenham and Enfield – and it was brilliant to see the players enjoy playing an active and important role in the local area”.  

Our thanks to Spurs and we look forward to welcoming them to the QEII again soon.

(picture produced with the permission of THFC)

Three More Additions

We are pleased to announce another three additions to Town’s squad for this season, who you may have seen in recent pre-season action:

Centre-back James Richmond has joined us for 2022-23. The 27-year-old had been skipper at Merstham for the last three seasons and was previously at Burgess Hill Town, where he was voted their Player of the Season in 2017. He’s also had stints with Carshalton, Kingstonian and Leatherhead.

Another central defender to sign with us for 22-23, who will likely be familiar to a number of you, is Rian McLean. 23-year-old Rian started out with Leyton Orient’s academy and enjoyed an initial stint with us in 2018 following an impressive trial period, before signing a deal to join Doncaster Rovers. He has also represented Hendon, Margate, Sheffield FC and most recently Witham Town.

The third signing to bring you is young midfielder Kian Wilkes, who has progressed from Enfield Town’s U19 academy to the first team this pre-season. He has spent the past couple of seasons with Leverstock Green – winning their Young Player and Manager’s Player of the Season awards last term – and he came off the bench to set up our first goal on Saturday at Hayes & Yeading.

Welcome, lads!