Enfield Town lost their third successive pre-season encounter as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to FC United of Manchester in the Brian Lomax Trophy on Saturday afternoon.
Both Town and FC United fans had waited two years for a rematch after their last meeting for the Football Supporters’ Association’s Brian Lomax Trophy, named in honour of the pioneer of the supporters’ trust movement, and this match produced a reverse scoreline to the 2019 encounter as FC’s slick football proved too much for the Towners.
With FC United having enjoyed an impressive pre-season so far, including draws against Bury and Bolton, followed up by steamrollering Darwen 10-0, they made two changes to the side as Jordan Simpson and eventual man-of-the-match Fin Sinclair-Smith came in for Keaton Mulvey and Regan Linney. As for Town, Andy Leese was without a number of absentees and named a lineup with Junior Mubiayi at right-back, and which – as with the previous two pre-season outings – continued to feature a cohort of trialists.
Yet any cordiality surrounding the occasion did not give way to mercy, as the hosts made a blistering start, opening the scoring inside four minutes. With Town committing numbers forward from a long throw, FCUM launched a swift counter attack, with some neat play releasing Paul Ennis down the right flank, who squared for Cedric Main to tap in from six yards. FC’s new striker caused serious issues for the Town defence all afternoon, and twenty minutes later could have had another had he made better contact with a close-range header.
Town’s manager admitted after the match that the early goal knocked the side’s confidence, and on the half-hour mark Main, and United, did score a second. A wonderfully-weighted long ball found Main in the area, who controlled with aplomb before slotting beyond McDonald at his near post.
However, Town regrouped towards the end of the first period as their passing became far crisper, and runs from the forward line began to trouble the FC backline. Just shy of the break, their best opportunities of the half came as a long shot forced a save down to ‘keeper Dan Lavercombe’s left. From the resulting corner, Scott Thomas’ flighted ball found a Town striker in space at the back post, but his close-range effort was somehow thwarted by Lavercombe.
After the break, neither side could muster any serious threat until the home side put the game beyond doubt as Main darted to the byline and produced a cute cross to pick out sub Regan Linney, whose volley into the net was equally deft.
Town did manage to find their first goal of pre-season, as substitute Ebrima Sawaneh pounced on a loose ball before rolling past the FCUM goalie for a consolation goal. However, FC United hung on for a first outright victory in the cup since 2006, and while the occasion was certainly an enjoyable one, the result for Town is less so as we approach the halfway point of pre-season.
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