Edged Out By Urchins

Enfield Town 1 Hornchurch 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Five points from six games now but certainly no need to panic.

Town remain fourth after this narrowest of defeats against the runaway league leaders, helped in part by two other leading playoff-chasing sides losing as well.

Much was made of Hornchurch being without a string of key regulars but as their caretaker manager pointed out afterwards, they have invested in a heavyweight squad, arguably stronger than any other team  in the division.

Town made three changes from the 3-3 draw with Hashtag; with Ollie Knight, Dylan Adjei-Hersey, and Mickey Parcell restored to the starting lineup.

It all started very positively as Mickey Parcell’s low cross was headed goalwards by Sam Youngs, only for stand-in keeper Noah Phillips to push it against the post and Quentin Monville to clear off the line.

Ten minutes later a Ryan Scott header at the other end was fortunately powered straight at Rhys Forster.

In truth much of the first half was a scrappy affair, a series of Joe Payne long throws coming to nothing as both sides wrestled for supremacy.

Then, just before halftime, the Urchins took the lead with the most bizarre penalty award for handball, seemingly seen by no-one except the referee and dispatched in the corner by Femi Akinwande.

As Town responded, Joe Payne drilled a freekick wide while Marcus Wyllie’s goalbound shot found a Hornchurch body in the way.

H-T 0-1

In front of our biggest gate of the season (880),  Town discovered some much-needed urgency following a relatively lacklustre 45 minutes during which we were guilty of not enough pressure on the ball.

A foul on Ollie Knight on the edge of box (was it inside?) saw Youngs fire a freekick straight into the arms of 19-year-old Phillips but on 57 minutes parity was restored.

Town were awarded a spotkick of their own, again for handball though this time far more obvious, the otherwise excellent Ryan Scott – scourge of Town in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season — being the culprit (pictured). Up stepped the ever reliable Youngs to blast the ball down the middle.

The equaliser galvanised us but just as we appeared to move into the ascendency, we fell behind again.

James Richmond’s challenge on Muldoon earned him a booking but not before Muldoon’s sublime pass found Sean Scannell who ran on and rolled the ball into the corner.

Briefly we were down to 10 men as Parcell suffered a nasty gash on the face. He was luckily soon back on his feet and we came within  a whisker of levelling. Wyllie did well to keep the ball in play and from his cross Youngs was inches off the target.

Cue a series of substititions as we tried to find the  creativity in open play to open up a physically imposing back line that gobbled up almost every home attack.

Six minutes of stoppage time were added but in the end it wasn’t to be and we go again on Tuesday against Billericay.

“We came up against a very mean defence but I was really pleased with the application in the second half,” said Gavin Macpherson. “Sadly we contributed to our own downfall. Things could be very different in terms of the last few games but sadly they’re not.

“At the moment the boys don’t seem to be functioning as they were in the early part of the season. Maybe they’ve lost a little bit of confidence, I’m not sure. But we need to pep ourselves up.”

Town – Forster;  Parcell, McKenzie, Richmond, Payne; Thomas, Youngs, Adjei-Hersey (Onyeagwara, 78) Knight (Taaffe, 86), Wyllie, Beckles-Richards (Hippolyte, 65)