Enfield Town 4-4 Whitehawk
Hawks Swoop Late to Deny Town
Report by Andrew Warshaw
If you want breathtaking entertainment and end to end action, Enfield Town is certainly the place to be at the moment. Just not when you throw away two points.
Which is what happened on Tuesday when Town were 3-1 up, then 4-2 up, only to concede twice in the last five minutes, leaving Gavin Macpherson understandably fuming.
While we continue to score goals for fun – and invariably more than we concede — defending is beginning to become a serious concern.
It’s still early days in terms of the season as a whole and we remain in a terrific position, notwithstanding Chatham’s late win that only increases the anticipation ahead of Saturday’s clash.
But only eight teams in the division have let in more goals than us and closing out games will now surely be a priority.
A sublime hat-trick from Marcus Wyllie would on most occasions have got us well over the line but no game in this division is a given and Whitehawk, like us, had been on a decent run of form and certainly did not come to sit back on the balance of play.
Unchanged from the win over Hastings, Town once again got off to a great start after 11 minutes as Marcus held his run before sweeping the ball home after an excellent move down the right.
The lead was short-lived, however, the luckless Josh Okotcha diverting the ball into his own net as he tried to keep out dangerman Charlie Walker but got it all wrong.
It galvanised Whitehawk who started to dominate possession, skipper Jack Dixon especially eye-catching, and they almost went in front when Mickey Parcell’s back header was far too weak, Rhys Forster just managing to flick the ball away in front of Walker.
At the other end, Whitehawk cleared off the line from Marcus while Sam Youngs narrowly failed to get the final touch from a freekick as he burst into the box.
Now it was Town’s turn to clear off the line as Parcell redeemed himself but both defences were looking decidedly shaky and you kind of knew there would be goals aplenty.
So it proved as Town went into a quickfire lead. First Youngs, on the counter, capitalised on a Hawks error with a fabulous hit on the edge of the box. Then Marcus doubled our lead with a trademark turn and shot.
Concentration was in short supply, however, and Dixon’s header from a corner reduced the deficit on the stroke of halftime.
Cue a halftime change from the management team as Kyle Bailey moved into defence to replace Okotcha whose partnership with James Richmond had stood us in such good stead earlier in the season.
By all accounts, Josh was distinctly peeved but these are the kind of decisions coaching staff are at liberty to take and for a while you could argue it paid off.
Within a minute of the restart, Wyllie completed his hattrick with the best of his three, shooting home from wide on the left with pinpoint accuracy (Pictured).
He almost added two more, lashing the ball over after being played through by Reece Beckles-Richards, then hitting the woodwork and seeing the rebound by Dylan Adjei-Hersey saved.
What followed, however, was certainly not in the script.
On 85 minutes, Forster was adjudged to have clumsily impeded Joe Tennant and Dixon dispatched the penalty.
Still, we should have managed the game properly. Instead, right on 90 minutes, Forster found himself in no man’s land and Louis Collins delivered a masterful chip to deny us all three points.
“It was littered with individual errors and I feel sorry for Marcus in a way,” said Gavin who had strong words with the players at halftime and afterwards. “I’m quick to say when I’ve got it wrong but this one is firmly with them. “
“I don’t deny Whitehawk getting back level in the first half, they’re a difficult side. But overall we were just a giveaway tonight. The finish to the game was absolutely ridiculous.
“You see it out even if you haven’t played well but we didn’t. We’ve scored four goals at home and haven’t won the football match. The players have been doing far better than they did tonight. We must not see a continuation of that. I just hope they don’t come to regret the two points lost come the end of the season.”
Town: Forster; Payne; Okotcha (Bailey, 46), Richmond, Parcell; Adjei-Hersey, Youngs, Thomas (Donnellan 77), Knight; Wyllie, Beckles-Richards (Sykes, 87).
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