Enfield hit the summit

Enfield Town 4 Carshalton Athletic 1

Report by Ken Brazier

Town moved into pole position on goal difference in the Isthmian Premier table with an emphatic win against the Robins who played their full part.

Manager Andy Leese opted to stick with the same starting XI that had been so impressive against Billericay Town four days earlier, and the hosts got off to the best possible start in the first minute when a dipping cross from the right from man-of-the-match Marcus Wyllie was headed home by Andre Coker.

The ball just crept over the line despite the efforts of keeper Danny Bracken to claw it out.  Curiously, Coker had achieved the same feat of scoring in the first minute at Bowers & Pitsea a fortnight previously.  

The visitors’ early reverse kick-started a decent spell of possession for them, and they would have counted themselves unlucky when Nathan McDonald, making his 302nd Enfield appearance between the sticks, thwarted former Towner Kurtis Cumberbatch with a fine save.

Adam Cunnington headed wide from Wyllie’s cross and Coker attempted an overhead kick from a good position inside the Carshalton box, but Enfield gave themselves some breathing space when quick feet from Coker produced a great cross for Lewis Knight to head home after 26 minutes.

Carshalton, who had been in good form coming into the game, continued to press and caught the eye with some accurate deliveries in the final third which kept McDonald on his toes under his crossbar, but overall Town were probably worth their half-time lead.

HT: 2-0

Carshalton emerged from the break in determined mood and, after fashioning a couple of chances which were either saved or blocked, deservedly reduced the arrears when Tommy Bradford was quickest to react to and convert a loose ball which had come back to him off the post.

There followed a 15-minute spell for the Surrey outfit which looked ominous from a home perspective, and there were a number of blocks and deflections but the introduction of Jake Cass as a 68th minute substitute ultimately triggered a Town response.

 In the 76th minute, Cass managed to squeeze the ball home amongst a sea of legs following a Joe Payne throw on the left.

Substitutes Lewis Taaffe and Lyle Della-Verde both fired over the top as the game became increasingly stretched but in added time Sam Youngs set up a hungry-looking Cass to get past Arthur Lee and Bradley Williams and finish emphatically low into the far corner past the diving Bracken (pictured).

No-one is getting carried away with such a long way to go but after five wins in six outings, it’s all getting very exciting in the race for automatic promotion with no single runaway team. With a settled side, Town are certainly in the mix.

 “It’s been a tough week. Following on from the Billericay game Carshalton made us work extremely hard for this win, and I thought it was another complete all-round performance like we had on Tuesday,” said a beaming Andy Leese. “Defensively, we look better than we did last season and the goals are being spread around the team. I couldn’t be more delighted. A big shout out to our supporters who were again top class.”

Team:  McDonald; Spencer, Knight, Richmond, Payne; Youngs, Isaac, Thomas, Wyllie (Della-Verde, 81); Coker (Cass, 68), Cunnington (Taaffe, 75).