Town hold firm for three points
Bishop’s Stortford 0 Enfield Town 1
Tuesday night saw an important win in Town’s quest to keep in touch with the play-off contenders, although it was a game which could have been finished off by a far greater victory margin. Home keeper Fred Burbidge was in fine form and, coupled with some good chances missed, there was a frantic finish for travelling supporters to endure.
In blustery conditions, but on a flat surface, Andy Leese made two starting personnel changes from the Folkestone game, with Glenn Wilson coming into the middle of the back four and Lyle Della-Verde wide on the left in midfield, with some consequent positional reshuffling.
Billy Bricknell and Della Verde combined early on to set up Sam Youngs, but his shot was blocked. The visitors then had an escape in the 17th minute when Johnville Renee got the better of Josh Urquhart, advanced and shot but Nathan McDonald tipped the ball onto the post with a super reaction save. A minute later Burbidge tipped over a Della-Verde effort at the opposite end.
Former Towner Aaron Greene, operating in a central striking role, spun and shot but McDonald collected in relative comfort; meanwhile Burbidge saved a Della-Verde free kick. But Town took a deserved lead in the 24th minute. Ryan Blackman fed Jon Muleba, who sped down the right and delivered a firm, low cross which Shaun Okojie slid in to convert from close range to open his Town goal account.
Soon afterwards, a Sam Robbins free kick caused problems in a crowded box but Muleba was on hand to clear. Greene’s header was grabbed by McDonald after some head tennis in front of him, and, at the other end, an Okojie header was off target after some good set up play involving Youngs and Della-Verde.
Renee, arguably Stortford’s most eye-catching performer on the night, had an effort blocked before, on 38 minutes, the hosts were thrown a lifeline when referee Thomas Hancock pointed to the spot after contact between Jon Muleba and Craig Calver. In fairness there appeared to be few complaints from other Town defenders but, to their relief, Greene stepped up and planted the ball against the crossbar, with James Baker’s follow-up header flying harmlessly high and wide.
Greene, trying his best to make amends, then glanced a header wide before Bricknell fired off target from Okojie’s pass. As the first half headed towards its conclusion, a similar-looking challenge by Muleba on Calver, outside the box this time, resulted in a yellow card for simulation by the home player.
Half-time: Bishop’s Stortford 0 Enfield Town 1
The hosts brought on Shomari Barnwell after the interval and Greene took up a wide position, from where he was nowhere near as effective as he had been during the first period. After Youngs’ cut-back had led to another Della-Verde shot being blocked, Bricknell drew a low save from Burbidge at an angle following Okojie’s pass.
Around the hour mark Okojie bore down on goal but was tackled by Ryan Henshaw as he was about to shoot from a central position. Burbidge then spilled a Della-Verde effort but Bricknell couldn’t convert the half-chance. But, beyond that, the Blues were piling on the pressure at this point, with a couple of penalty shouts in vain and Greene being crowded out after being played in by Barnwell. Jack Thomas then flashed a ball across the visitors’ box, but no-one could take advantage.
After the spell of home pressure had failed to yield a dividend, Burbidge made his best save of the night when he somehow tipped over a fierce on-target drive from Della-Verde with ten minutes remaining. Sub Ken Charles manoeuvred himself into a great position but then contrived to miss the target, while Okojie was denied by Burbidge as the clock ran down.
Bishop’s Stortford: Fred Burbidge, Chris Gregan, Jack Thomas, Sam Robbins, Ryan Henshaw (Brendon Shabani 78), Johnville Renee, Craig Calver, Aaron Greene, Ross Debrick (Shomari Barnwell 46), Mark Haines, James Baker. Unused subs: Alex Warman, Bradley McClenaghan, Louie Johnson. Booked: Debrick, Calver, Henshaw.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Josh Urquhart, Scott Thomas, Marc Weatherstone, Glenn Wilson, Ryan Blackman, Sam Youngs (Joe Payne 90), Billy Bricknell (Ken Charles 85), Shaun Okojie, Lyle Della-Verde (Junior Mubiayi 84). Unused subs: Sam Hatton, Bobson Bawling. Booked: Wilson.
|10/03/2020||7:45 pm||Pitching In Isthmian League Premier||2019-20|