Superb Town progress in Trophy
Enfield Town 4 Maldon & Tiptree 3
Enfield Town became the first team to beat Maldon & Tiptree in anything other than a penalty shoot-out in 2019-20 so far; their unbeaten run coming to an end in a chaotic game which saw Town advance into the First Round Proper of the FA Trophy for the first time writes Charlie Baker.
Barely a minute had passed when the deadlock was instantly broken; Town’s top scorer Mo Faal cutting in from the left and brilliantly firing past Ben McNamara into the top corner. Maldon responded well, however, and Jorome Slew forced two good saves from Nathan McDonald – the first a curler pushed away and the second a shot tipped over the bar to keep the hosts’ early lead intact.
The pressure on the Town goal was eventually rewarded, however, with Danny Parish slotting past McDonald to give the Jammers a deserved equaliser on 20 minutes, in what was already an extremely open and entertaining cup tie.
Faal continued to cause the Maldon back line problems and he found himself in a similar position to his goal. But after doing well to get past Kojo Awotwi this time he could only blast over. The visitors then went straight back down to the opposite end and Parish’s cross-shot just evaded Slew at the back post.
In a game you couldn’t take your eyes off, Faal was denied once again by a one-on-one save from Jammers’ keeper Ben McNamara. But from the following corner on the 40 minute mark, the hosts’ lead was restored when the ball fell at the feet of captain Marc Weatherstone in the box, and his left foot narrowly found the bottom corner despite the many bodies in his way.
Just when Town thought they would go into the interval with the lead, they were pegged back once again. After the home side had conceded possession high up the field, Slew broke away in one of the many Maldon counter attacks of the afternoon and was brought down by McDonald on the touchline. Referee Abigail Byrne pointed to the spot, allowing Parish to fire home his and his side’s second via McDonald’s fingertips.
Half-time: Enfield Town 2 Maldon & Tiptree 2
The second period started just like the first had ended; entertaining football from both sides who were both going for broke to book a spot in the competition proper. The opening chance of the half fell to Billy Bricknell, whose free kick was well saved by McNamara. Maldon then found themselves on the counter again, this time Slew blazing over after seemingly having plenty of time to pick his spot.
Town didn’t learn from this and were hit on the counter yet again after 58 minutes. Slew turned provider and crossed into the danger area for Charlee Hughes, finding himself all alone in the middle, and he slotted under McDonald to give the Jammers the lead for the first time in the tie.
Town responded brilliantly and, after Faal had once again been denied by McNamara in a one-on-one situation, the tie was turned on its head. Bricknell, who had been frustrated by tight marking for most of the afternoon, fired in a free kick through the visitors’ defensive wall and in off the post to make it 3-3 and set up a grandstand finish.
Then, fifteen minutes from time, the ball was played up to the hard-working Bricknell again. Under pressure from several closing Maldon players, he chested it down on the edge of the box and rifled a sublime half-volley over the flailing McNamara and in off the crossbar.
It was a fitting end to an exciting cup tie that had it all, and Town somehow managed to weather a late Maldon storm to hold on and go through, in what will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the games of this, or indeed any other, season.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Joe Payne, Scott Thomas, Marc Weatherstone, Glenn Wilson, Bobson Bawling (Sam Hatton 82), Ryan Blackman, Mo Faal (Charles Brown 90), Ken Charles (Junior Mubiayi 86). Unused subs: Samson Esan, Kyle Lynch, Kezie Ibe, Ed Thompson. Booked: Blackman, Weatherstone.
Maldon & Tiptree: Ben McNamara, Kojo Awotwi, Al-Amin Kazeem, Laste Dombaxe, Rob Girdlestone, Martyn Stokes, Danny Parish (Lance Akins 89), Tyrique Hyde, Charlee Hughes, Jorome Slew, Stephane Ngamvoulou. Unused subs: Sam Coombes, Hamza Kaid, Billy Cracknell, Luke O’Reilly. Booked: Hyde.
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