Josh’s midweek winner
Enfield Town 1 Margate 0 – match report by Jack Quantrill
Town sealed a scrapy midweek win against their seaside opponents thanks to to a Josh Urqhart header on the hour mark and a dogged defensive performance.
Whilst the Kent outfit brought with them some mild October weather they forgot to bring their commitment to getting the ball down to play which meant the first quarter of an hour was attritional more than anything. Adam Pepera and co. did well to deal with Margate’s main offensive weapon, flighted balls into the channel from their right back and chief distributor Jack Richards.
Without captain Marc Weatherstone, Town remained compact and organised in defence only really threatening to concede to set pieces on the night. And in the 14th minute they were close to doing so. Having conceded a corner after some tricky wing play down the right, Richards delivered an outswinging ball to the penalty spot which was met well by towering centre back Ben Swift. His header cannoned back across goal destined for the top right only to be kept out on the goal line by Ryan Blackman who had stuck to his job at the front post.
Six minutes later and Margate should’ve taken the lead. Having won consecutive 50-50’s from a Town throw-in deep in their own territory the Gate broke at breakneck speed, fizzing the ball into cultured number 9, Noel Leighton. His first time flick round the corner into the left channel unlocked a Town defence caught cold, the ball found Toby Bancroft who rounded McDonald, some 20 yards out of his goal, but the winger could feel defensive reinforcements breathing down his neck and rushed his shot, blazing left footed way over the bar having had an empty net to aim at. The home crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Despite a referee keen to let play go on whenever he could, the game’s tempo remained decidedly slow perhaps owing in part to the congested fixture list at the start of the pandemic-delayed season. The hosts didn’t really create a chance worth writing home about in the first half but it must be said that Enfield’s new signing Percy Kiangebeni has quickly refreshed the relationship he had with the home fans during his first spell at the QEII, adding much-needed thrust and bravery to Town’s midfield on the night, driving through the heart of the pitch at every opportunity throughout and claiming the Town MotM award. An off-target effort from Lyle Della-Verde was the closest Town came to scoring in the first half.
Half-time: Enfield Town 0 Margate 0
The visitors started the second period quickly and nearly had the opener within 60 seconds of play resuming. A blinding early cross from the right curtesy of Archie Burnett invited Bancroft to atone for his blunder in the first half, the left winger lined up to curl a right footed effort into the far corner first time but valiant defending from Jonathan Muleba, who had sprinted back to get the slightest of touches on the ball, diverted it away from Bancroft and out for a throw-in.
Five minutes later Enfield got the crowd’s attention for pretty much the first time on the night. Della-Verde saw the ball break to him following a Margate free kick. The number 11 tore down the right flank all the way to Margate’s penalty box, he threatened to cut inside onto his stronger left foot but instead pushed to the byline, he sent a right footed cross along the turf to the back post where Ryan Blackman arrived to try and convert but his close-range effort was blocked by some decent defending.
An hour had passed when Margate gave away a free-kick about a yard away from their technical area. Sensing an opportunity, Town loaded the box and Della-Verde went over to the left hand side to deliver, having switched flanks. His delivery, a high flighted curling ball, couldn’t have been better, landing square in the middle of the box. It was met by Josh Urquhart who’s right footed volley forced an incredible reflex save from keeper Bailey Vose, deflecting the ball out for a corner on the Town right.
The goalkeeping heroics couldn’t last forever though and the ensuing corner, delivered from the left this time, again from Della-Verde, was converted at the back post as Urqhart rose highest to head home.
Following the goal the game descended into long ball bombardment, each side’s centre backs maintaining aerial dominance over the attackers. It wasn’t the prettiest spectacle but Town manager Andy Leese would’ve been pleased on the night to see how his side prevented Margate from creating further chances.
15 minutes from time sub Sam Youngs had a chance to make it two, side-footing a first time effort into the keeper’s arms after getting onto the end of a Billy Bricknell pull back and, in the 90th minute, Youngs returned the favour slipping in Bricknell having driven from the centre circle, but the striker’s left footed effort was pushed out for s corner which came to nothing.
And so Town emerged from the night with all three points, recovering from their weekend slip-up against Corinthian-Casuals, second in the league albeit having played more games than most, but they face Carshalton away on Saturday and will look to add flair to what was a professional midweek performance.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Lee Chappell, Scott Thomas, Josh Urqhart, Adam Pepera, Junior Mubiayi (Jared Small 69), Ryan Blackman (Sam Youngs 69), Billy Bricknell, Percy Kiangebeni, Lyle Della-Verde (Jeremiah Gyebi 83). Unused: Neville Nzembela, Larry Asare. Booked: Muleba, Youngs, Pepera.
Margate: Bailey Vose, Jack Richards, Jay Porter, Reece Prestedge, Liam Friend, Ben Swift, Richard Afrane-Kesey, Archie Burnett, Noel Leighton (Charlie Hatton 87), Freddie Moncur (John Ufah 70), Toby Bancroft. Unused: Owen Kallmeier, Josh Steele. Booked: Burnett.
|20/10/2020||7:45 pm||Pitching In Isthmian League Premier||2020-21|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
KO 64 70 70 78 80 83 FT