Enfield Town 1 Aveley 2
Report by Andrew Warshaw
Despite a healthy 600-plus final-day crowd, there was an inevitable sense of anti-climax on Saturday as we ended the league season in a disappointing ninth position, having taken just three of a possible 18 points during a tough run-in.
No-one can fault the players or the management team for their sterling efforts throughout the season and whilst no-one wanted or anticipated this outcome after we spent so long in the top 5, it gives everyone a chance to take stock and come again in the summer.
Lewis Knight was missing with an achilles problem but James Richmond returned after illness while Adam Cunnington was restored to the starting line-up.
Set pieces have been our downfall for much of the season and after starting slowly we were punished again on 13 minutes when Ryan Scott rose highest to head home a freekick.
Harry Gibbs headed another freekick just wide before we had a couple of dangerous moments ourselves, first when Andre Coker wriggled his way into the box but was stopped before he could get a shot away, then when Khale da costa ran on to a long ball upfield but was ruled offside.
We just couldn’t get going in the final third, however, and as Aveley continued to probe, Temilolu Babalola got in front of his marker but thankfully shot weakly wide.
With the supply line to our forwards frustratingly off-key, we just couldn’t test Jonathan North enough.
Until, that is, the 67th minute when Sam Youngs sent North the wrong way from the penalty spot (pictured) after substitute Lewis Taaffe was impeded after slaloming his way into the box.
That should have been the springboard for Town to burst into life. Instead, on 70 minutes, Babaoloa got his head to an inswinging corner to win the points for Aveley who finished fourth and can look forward to a semifinal against Canvey Island.
To compound our frustration, Taaffe received a straight red with 10 minutes remaining after he was adjudged to have lunged in dangerously on Emannuel Ogunrinde though it looked to many like he slammed the ball into Ogunrinde’s midriff.
McDonald; Renee, Richmond, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Thomas, Youngs (Cass, 77), Da Costa (Bakare, 63), Isaac (Taaffe, 61); Cunnington, Coker