Chatham Town 3 Enfield Town 1
Report by Andrew Warshaw
Let’s start on a positive note. Straight after yesterday’s game, a Chatham fan came up to me and said we had the noisiest away fans in the division, even in defeat.
A couple of minutes later, Gavin Macpherson emerged from the dressing room and, before his post-match interview, headed straight to the away end and made a point of thanking them in person.
“We have the best supporters in this league by a country mile and I’m humbled to be their manager,” Gavin explained.
It was perhaps the only plus point to take away from another chastening setback that saw us swap places with Chatham and drop to third.
It only served to exemplify what can happen when you have key players missing and, with a stretched squad, one or two others on the pitch struggling with health issues, a couple more forced to play out of position and only four on the bench, one of them from the academy.
That’s not making excuses but it’s certainly a factor to take into consideration. Having said that, Chatham were the better side in all areas of the pitch (few defences keep Marcus Wyllie quiet) and at the end of the day, we didn’t have enough guile or nous to deserve a point and, once again, conceded goals for fun, now with the sixth worst stats in the division.
Without the suspended Joe Payne and the ill Ollie Knight and with one or two others below-par, Mickey Parcell was switched to the left with Kyle Bailey filling in at rightback and Lewis Taaffe playing out wide.
In truth, we struggled to contain an athletic Chatham side that had two quick wingers who were constant menaces and fell behind on 21 minutes. Ashley Nzala bamboozled Bailey whose late challenge on the edge of the box meant only one thing, deadball specialist Jack Evans netting with a sumptuous freekick.
Within four minutes, however, we had levelled with a Sam Youngs header that looped into the net (pictured), only to fall behind again from the penalty spot when Jamie Yila got the better of Bailey who promptly brought him down. Yila took the spotkick himself with a stuttering run-up and restored the Chats lead.
Cue a tactical substitution as Bailey, who had been given a torrid time, was replaced by Obi Onyeagwara with Taaffe moving to the right.
For a while, the move worked as the game became far more finely balanced and we stopped Chatham dictating play, posing a threat ourselves though without really testing a formidable home backline.
Youngs was pushed further forward as we tried to hit back but with 15 minutes to go, the hosts put the game to bed. Wyllie lost possession in the opposition half and Nzala caught Josh Okotcha off guard, timing his run down the right to perfection to stay onside and Chris Dickson finished off the cross from close range. In the closing stages, Ben Allen almost made it four when hitting the post in a goalmouth scramble.
“They scored their third when we were perhaps having our most decent spell and it killed us,” said Gavin. “We didn’t create an awful lot but one of two wouldn’t have played with a fully fit squad.”
“That’s not making excuses. We tried hard but keep making the same mistakes. Perhaps I’m at a time when I need to analyse exactly where we are. The fans deserve far more than they got today.”
Town: Forster; Bailey (Onyeagwara, 37), Okotcha, Richmond, Parcell; Adjei-Hersey, Thomas, Youngs, Taaffe; Wyllie, Beckles-Richards (Donnellan, 73)