Town tough it out
Merstham 0 Enfield Town 1
A chilly, blustery “new normal” afternoon set the tone for a leaden-skied, attritional contest against stubborn opposition, but an 88th minute winner from Billy Bricknell propelled Town into an early season 4th position on goal difference.
The match itself was devoid of goalmouth incident in the first 45 minutes, and it was certainly a rugged encounter, with Ryan Blackman tangling with James Richmond early on. Lyle Della-Verde threatened to light up proceedings when his shot was deflected, forcing home keeper Matte Pierson into a diving save, but the consequent corner was cleared.
On 25 minutes Lewis Taaffe had a header saved relatively easily, but the game was then held up for injury treatment for Joedon Gugas-Cowin, who had collided with the surround fencing as he and Jeremiah Gyebi went for the ball together. Shortly afterwards, Taaffe stayed down, seemingly with a recurrence of his hamstring problem, after an innocuous challenge and was replaced by Sam Youngs as the half stuttered to a close. Town forced a couple more corners at the end of the first period which came to nothing, before a Joash Nembhard free kick was saved by Nathan McDonald in relative comfort.
Half-time: Merstham 0 Enfield Town 0
Merstham came into the game more after the break, but it was still very much a stop-start affair, not helped by inconsistent officiating. Jared Small, in the starting line-up for the injured Shaun Okojie, did well to retrieved a seemingly lost cause on the byline on the left but, as he looked up to pick out a teammate, he was crowded out and the chance was gone.
Nembhard, Bobby Mills and Calvin Ekpiteta combined well in a rare flowing move, but McDonald made a good save and the follow-up was crucially cleared away for a corner by Josh Urquhart. At this point Merstham were playing all the football on show, and Sol Patterson-Bohner shot wide when well-placed. In the 75th minute, Ekpiteta ran through in the inside-left channel, evading a tackle inside the box from Marc Weatherstone, but he was denied a shot on goal by a very well-timed sliding intervention from Jon Muleba.
Substitute Larry Asare had a shot at an acute angle beaten away by Pierson after he had latched onto Sam Youngs’ pass, as time appeared to be increasingly against Town fashioning a winner. But, three minutes from time, Youngs did well to scoop up a cross from the left and, as the ball evaded Junior Mubiayi, Billy Bricknell – who had had a quiet game by his standards – took aim and slammed the ball into the back of the net.
McDonald had to punch clear under pressure as the Moatsiders threw men forward but, after another Bricknell effort had been parried by Pierson and the ball had evaded Mubiayi, the visitors finished in the ascendancy for a very welcome three points at a difficult venue.
Merstham: Matte Pierson, Potchu Mendes Calcucane, EJ Mensah, Joash Nembhard, Sol Patterson-Bohner, James Richmond (Bertie Llloyd 14), Joedon Gugas-Cowin (Dylan Cascoe 38), Elliott Bolton, Bobby Mills, Calvin Ekpiteta, Yannick Monga. Unused substitutes: Pierre-Alexandre Morin, Karim Kamhouri, Ryan Healy. Booked: Lloyd, Bolton.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Josh Urquhart, Scott Thomas, Jeremiah Gyebi, Marc Weatherstone, Lyle Della-Verde (Junior Mubiayi 69), Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell, Jared Small (Larry Asare 68), Lewis Taaffe (Sam Youngs 45). Unused substitutes: Adam Pepera, Percy Kiangebeni. Booked: Della-Verde.
|26/09/2020||3:00 pm||Pitching In Isthmian League Premier||2020-21|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
KO 44 45 68 68 FT