IMPRESSIVE TOWN MARCH ON
Enfield Town 5 Thatcham Town 0
On an increasingly wet afternoon at the QEII, Town produced an impressive display which took them into the FA Trophy 3rd qualifying round for only the second time writes Aaron Patel.
Town saw their first clear-cut sight of goal within three minutes, the ball falling to Billy Bricknell on the edge of the box, but his right-footed low-driven effort sailed just wide. On ten minutes, Joe Payne laid a free-kick off to Ryan Blackman, who put a 20-yard left foot shot over the bar.
With much of the play happening in the middle third, the visitors then made their presence in the game felt, as Kyle Tooze moved forward and tried to find Adam Kelly out wide, but the pass had too much on it.
Another chance for Town came and went when Muhammadu Faal, a few yards from goal, tried a left foot shot from Samson Esan’s pass which keeper Archie Matthews claimed low down. The same two players then combined shortly afterwards for Faal to place his shot just wide of the far post.
Then, in the 29th minute, Town had the ball in the back of the net through Bobson Bawling, but it was chalked off by referee Gerry Heron. The seemingly legitimate effort was apparently disallowed due to a foul in the build-up, but few spectators were aware of this until the “goal” was belatedly ruled out. It could have been even worse for Town when, following a quick break-away, Tooze broke into the box but his shot was saved by Nathan McDonald.
A few minutes after the disallowed effort, Town took the lead and this time it stood. A cross from Ryan Blackman from the right found Bricknell in the box, who tapped the ball in towards the far post. Moments later, Bricknell doubled Town’s lead with a brilliant powerful and accurate low drive beyond the despairing clutching hand of Matthews after the striker had been played in nicely by Faal.
Into first-half stoppage time, a third goal nearly provided a healthy cushion, but Blackman hit his shot straight into the arms of Matthews having been set up by Bricknell.
Half-time: Enfield Town 2 Thatcham Town 0
The visitors came out after the break looking to repair some damage and Felipe Barcelos’s close-range shot was kept out by McDonald after some good work from Sam Barder down the right had found him in space. A free-kick delivered by Jordan Williams was headed goalwards and McDonald gathered the ball at the second attempt from Adam Kelly and Kevin Day headed over from a corner, both of which would have painted a different picture had they gone in.
But the game was virtually up when Bricknell picked up a loose clearance from Williams and, with little sense of imminent danger, drove forward and, twenty yards out and at an angle, sealed his hat-trick with a blistering rising shot which entered the net off goalkeeper and crossbar. Minutes later, a fourth followed as Thatcham’s heads began to drop. Blackman won the ball in the middle of the park, took a few strides and fed Faal on the right who, one-on-one, tucked his shot comfortably past the helpless Matthews.
Barder missed an opportunity to pull one back before, seven minutes from time, Faal scored Town’s fifth with a magnificent effort, when he picked up a poor clearance on the Town left and floated the ball in under the crossbar from near the touchline over the retreating Matthews. Seconds later Junior Mubiayi put an effort over the bar from close-range but, irrespective of that, this was a day when Town clicked into gear with the most emphatic of victories against stout opposition.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Sam Hatton, Joe Payne, Scott Thomas, Mark Weatherstone, Jon Muleba, Bobson Bawling (Junior Mubiayi 78), Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell (Ken Charles 77), Muhammadu Faal, Samson Esan (Lewis Taaffe 60). Unused subs: Teddy Reynolds, Glenn Wilson, Steve Wales. Booked: Thomas, Faal.
Thatcham Town: Archie Matthews, Matt Partridge, Curtis Angell (Jordan Williams 34), Jack Alexander, Zak Westlake, Matt Day, George Jeacock, Sam Barder, Kyle Tooze, Felipe Barcelos (James Tennant 70), Adam Kelly (Scott Rees 70). Unused subs: Lamin Sankoh, Michael Miller. Booked: Partridge, Reece.