Town edge tough encounter
Bowers & Pitsea 0 Enfield Town 1
A 22nd minute Billy Bricknell penalty was all that separated the two sides on Saturday, as Town returned to the Len Salmon Stadium for the first time in a decade, since when a 3g pitch has been installed. It was a result that may be remembered fondly as winter approaches, although it was certainly not one for the purists on the day. But Town stood up to be counted and showed great resilience under pressure at times.
Glenn Wilson was restored to central defence following injury, with Jon Muleba reverting to his more customary right back role. Billy Bricknell had Mo Faal for company up front, with Ken Charles on the bench this time. On a mild and breezy afternoon, Bowers showed first with some pacey attacks. Their stand-out performer offensively was David Knight, and he had chances to open up a lead for the hosts before they fell behind. After a dangerous attack down the home right had ended with the ball fizzing low past Nathan McDonald’s right hand post and Wilson had blocked a shot from Lewis Manor, Knight was played in by a ball over the top but, with only McDonald to beat, he shot tamely into the grateful keeper’s arms. That was after ten minutes and, only four minutes later, Max Cornhill headed on a corner and Knight’s shot flew inches past the post with the goal gaping.
Billy Bricknell tested Callum Chafer with a left foot drive just before the quarter-hour mark, but Bowers continued to create the better chances. Bricknell, always a threat, played a one-two with Mo Faal on the edge of the box ten minutes later and was needlessly impeded to give Town a spot-kick out of nowhere . He calmly converted the kick himself to Chafer’s right to give Town something to build upon.
A barnstorming run from Muleba ended with a follow-through challenge on the edge of the Bowers box, but nothing was given. Wilson then did magnificently to block two powerful shots seconds apart, the second of which leaving the former Hornchurch man poleaxed, but thankfully he recovered to play on. Sam Youngs, making his 100th competitive Town appearance, then tried his luck with a left-foot curler, but the ball didn’t come back inside as much as he would have liked.
After Faal had been shoved on the edge of the box, Bricknell’s free kick was charged down by the home defensive wall, and Lewis Taaffe’s follow up was skewed way off target. But Town were growing into the game as the tempo, if anything, intensified, with no quarter being asked nor given by either side.
As half-time approached, Bradley Warner got past Youngs, but his shot cannoned off Marc Weatherstone. Then another Bowers break had Town at full stretch, but Quentin Monville’s cross was headed over by Ben Sartain.
Half-time: Bowers & Pitsea 0 Enfield Town 1
Early in the second period Ryan Blackman blazed high and wide while, at the opposite end, Monville headed into the terracing beyond the far post from a Tom Stephen cross. But chances were still at a premium.
Faal did well to stretch for a ball into the box and get the toe end of his boot to it, but Chafer turned it behind. Warner drove well wide from distance, and there were signs that Bowers were thinking that this wasn’t going to be their day. Just beyond the hour, a superbly struck trademark free kick from Taaffe out on the left hit the top of the Bowers crossbar with Chafer beaten. The hosts’ keeper then denied Taaffe for a second time after he had latched onto Youngs’ pass while, with about twenty minutes left, a shot from Monville looked to be arrowing into the top corner, but McDonald produced a superb save with an outstretched right hand.
With time almost up, Bowers staged a final push and forced a corner on their left. The ball was played into the danger area and there was an almighty scramble, but somehow it ended up in McDonalds arms before the final whistle blew.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Joe Payne, Scott Thomas, Marc Weatherstone, Glenn Wilson, Sam Youngs, Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell (Sam Bantick 81), Muhammadu Faal (Ken Charles 72), Lewis Taaffe. Unused subs: Sam Hatton, Junior Mubiayi, Nathan Livings.
Bowers & Pitsea: Calum Chafer, Ryan Sammons, Tom Stephen, Martyn Stokes (Callum Leahy 81), Kenzer Lee, Max Cornhill, Quentin Monville, Ben Sartain, Lewis Manor, David Knight (Luke Hirst 84), Brad Warner. Unused subs: Tom Hine, James Thomas, Lewis Clark.
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