TOWN RUE MISSED CHANCES
Enfield Town 0 Northwood 1
A mixture of the woodwork, bad finishing and good goalkeeping led to Town bowing out of the Middlesex Senior Cup at the first round stage against a resolute Northwood writes Charlie Baker.
With every outfield player changed from Saturday’s thrilling 5-3 win at Cray, the game unsurprisingly got off to a slow start. The first chance fell to the visitors on 14 minutes, with Luke Holness curling just over from the edge of the box. Town soon kicked into gear and five minutes later hit the woodwork with a Lewis King free kick, before Roman Campbell was played through one-on-one but denied while attempting to chip Woods keeper Alfie Bonfield.
Despite this good spell, it was the visitors who took the lead. On 23 minutes, Woods midfielder Harry Lodovica was brought down in the box by a combination of Sam Adams and Gideon Nsiah leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot, and the penalty was calmly converted by Louis Bircham, sending Nathan McDonald the wrong way.
Town responded positively to going behind and the threat from set pieces continued, with a low Nathan Livings free kick being cleared off the line and captain Marc Weatherstone crashing a header against the bar from a corner after losing his man. Just before the break, Northwood had a scramble of their own involving a shot from David Carty which was blocked by his own man, and the visitors went into half-time with the one goal advantage.
Half-time: Enfield Town 0 Northwood 1
Similarly to the first half, the second took a while to kick into gear. The first real chance fell at the feet of Woods’ winger Tyrone Pink who, had it not been for a superb reflex save from McDonald, would have put the visitors two up and firmly in control.
It seemed the equaliser would finally come on 55 minutes when, after a flick on from Campbell into the lively Samson Esan’s path, he drove forward and attempted an audacious chip, leaving Bonfield stranded. The ball struck the bar for the third time of the evening and bounced down onto the goalline, leaving the Town faithful pleading towards the officials for a goal, but nothing was given.
Alex Read’s first real chance of the game came minutes later, but under pressure he could only fire straight at Bonfield. But the chances kept on coming for Town; this time the off-balance Junior Mubiayi blazing over with the goal gaping following good work out wide from Read.
As Town continued to pile the pressure on the Woods, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be their night after Charles Brown’s header five minutes from time was once again cleared off the line after he had connected well with an inswinging corner.
Only half-chances for both sides followed as Northwood did well to control and see the game out, meaning they advance to the second round leaving Town with a sense of a missed opportunity after dominating possession and chances.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Junior Mubiayi, Lewis King, Nathan Livings, Marc Weatherstone, Sam Adams, Roman Campbell, Charles Brown, Alex Read, Samson Esan, Gideon Nsiah (Mo Koita 66). Unused subs: Jon Muleba, Joe Payne, Mekael Williams, Steve Wales.
Northwood: Alfie Bonfield, Jaiden Irish, Chris Gosling, Liam Wood (Charlie Hayford 59), Bendie Idikayi, Liam McCrohan, Luke Holness (Trey Charles 67), Harry Lodovica, David Carty (Alex Witham 67), Louis Bircham, Tyrone Pink. Unused subs: Dan Pett, Karl Stevenson. Booked: Idikayi, Carty.