Enfield Town 3-1 Hastings United
Town and Hastings Serve Up Classic
Report by Andrew Warshaw
What a fantastic advert this was for Step 3 football. Two in-form sides both going for it, thrills at both ends, and one team ultimately being more clinical in front of goal. On a day when there were no top-flight professional games due to the international programme, you couldn’t really have asked for a better-quality spectacle at this level.
In the end, it was the hosts who ran out deserved winners to make it four wins out of five and cement our place in second spot after a classic team display watched by almost 650 fans. Hastings certainly played their part and may claim they deserved more on the balance of play but then so did we at Hornchurch. These things tend to even out over the season.
Such was the gloom of the afternoon that the floodlights were on after just five minutes but there was nothing gloomy about the action on the pitch. Rhys Forster was called into action early doors, tipping over a speculative effort from Jack Bates as the visitors began brightly, with John Ufuah a particular threat on the left.
Rhys was forced into action again to palm away an effort from Kian Moynes, put through by a defence-splitting Bates pass.
But Charlie Grainger gradually became the busier keeper, dealing with a string of Town corners, clutching a Sam Youngs volley after Joe Payne’s thunderbolt had been blocked, then pulling off a miraculous double save to keep the score goalless just as the crowd thought we had taken the lead. The deadlock was finally broken right on half time as Reece Beckles-Richards – finally evading having his shirt pulled – managed to fire home through a ruck of players following an Ollie Knight free kick.
Hal Time, 1-0
Hastings were quick to respond as Ufuah rattled the bar in the first move of the second half and were soon level as Moynes rolled the ball in with a smart finish.
The U’s hardly had time to celebrate, however, before they were again indebted to Grainger, this time for a remarkable triple stop. But even he could nothing about Enfield regaining the lead as Marcus Wyllie, running forward from an onside position, produced a wonderful first touch to bring Mickey Parcell’s ball out of defence under control and finish with aplomb.
It was perfect timing but it needed a third to put the visitors to bed and it duly arrived on 64 minutes. Two Hastings defenders got in each other’s way, allowing Wyllie to find Ollie Knight who almost burst the net with a glorious angled drive (pictured). Hastings kept playing their football and it needed a timely block by substitute Lewis Taaffe to keep them out. They also claimed they should have had a penalty but by now Town were smelling a fourth and almost got it, first when a Dylan Adjei-Hersey effort cannoned up and over the bar, then when Wyllie broke free again, only for Grainger to make an excellent covering stop.
“We knew it would be a very difficult game because they are well drilled and pass the ball well,” said Enfield boss Gavin Macpherson after a breathtaking encounter marred only by a booking for Payne which will keep him out of the Chatham clash next Saturday.
“At times we had to think outside the box, so to speak, and we’re not the finished article by any means. It wasn’t vintage but we’ve always got goals in us.
“Hastings are where they are for a reason, they make you work very hard especially when you’re out of possession and we needed to do our homework. I’m as pleased as I have been in any game this season because we’ve produced a performance against a very good side. I have to pay tribute not only to the players but all my management team.”
Town: Forster; Parcell, Okotcha, Richmond, Payne; Adjei-Hersey (Donnellan 89), Thomas, Youngs, Knight (Onyeagwara, 81); Beckles-Richards (Taaffe, 81), Wyllie
|18/11/2023||3:00 pm||Pitching In Isthmian League Premier||2023-24|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
KO 85 85 88 FT