Fab Four For Towners

Dulwich Hamlet 0 Enfield Town 4

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Sensational, electrifying. One could run out of superlatives to describe just how good Enfield Town were in demolishing Dulwich as we stretched our unbeaten league run to 11 matches with arguably the best all-round performance of the season.

Yes the hosts lost their top central defender to injury in the warmup, reducing them to a shadow of the team that had put themselves in the playoff mix in recent weeks.

But if Gavin Macpherson was worried that being named Manager if the Month would end up being a curse, he needn’t have. He and his team are building something special and the fact that Dulwich, in front of a 3,300-plus sellout, didn’t lay a glove on us or have a single shot on target from start to finish says everything about our momentum as we edge closer to the finish line.

 With one of two other results going for us, finishing third and getting a home semifinal playoff draw is now very much in our own hands whatever Horsham do in their two games in hand. Even finishing runners-up to newly crowned champions Hornchurch has suddenly  come into the equation.

If that smacks of getting ahead of ourselves, Gavin will certainly not let that happen. With four games to go, it’s still incredibly tight with any unexpected loss of form potentially proving catastrophic.

Town lined up in  a highly effective 3-5-2 formation but were fortunate not to go behind early doors. Scott Thomas lost control near halfway but Josh Shinibare wasted a golden chance to capitalise  by shooting wide when clean through on goal.

It was the Hamlet’s best chance of the entire match, a measure of just how comfortable we were thereafter.

Ollie Knight and Marcus Wyllie both tested Will Lakin before Marcus lost his footing when presented with a fantastic opportunity by Bernie Tanner’s long clearance.

The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes when Dulwich failed to clear a long throw and Sam Youngs powered home a sublime half-volley on the edge of the box for his 22nd league goal of the season.

Whenever Dulwich did foray forward,  they were thwarted by a defensive togetherness in which Tanner, newly nicknamed “the Enfield Maldini”, was superb.

With Dulwich dangerman Luke Wanadio largely kept quiet, it was only a matter of time before we tightened  our grip on the game. Knight saw another goalbound effort pushed away and on 43 minutes we doubled our lead as Marcus, played in by Jake Cass, rode two tackles before placing his shot in the corner for league goal number 28.

H-T 0-2

Any belief left in Dulwich was quickly extinguished and within nine minutes of the restart we were home and dry.

Lakin had already come to his team’s rescue once again by saving with his legs from Marcus but in the very next move he was beaten again. Youngs headed a corner against the woodwork and when the ball rebounded to Cass, he made no mistake with a sweet left-foot strike through a ruck of players (pictured), peeling away in joy – understandable given the type of season he has had.

Only now, far too late, did Dulwich show any genuine intent, largely through substitute Anthony Jeffrey, though without really troubling Rhys Forster.

A tiring Jake and a limping Dylan Adjei-Hersey were both replaced but we weren’t finished yet. On 84 minutes Marcus latched on to a fantastic Tanner ball, got the better of his marker and tapped home.

There was still time for Bernie to go on a surging run and flash a shot narrowly wide as the hosts were again badly exposed, their playoff hopes crushed for good.

“We did our analysis and  went with a bold system but the boys still had to carry it out,” said Gavin.

“You rely on the personalities out there to put their trust in us. If they do that and it goes wrong, it’s my fault but today we got it spot on.

“Dulwich have a very experienced squad and management team and are a side we all thought would be challenging not only for a playoff place but perhaps the title.”

With four games left, Gavin reserved particular praise for the central defensive partnership after a second straight clean sheet. “Bernie and Taylor both have different attributes but have formed an excellent relationship.”

“I don’t like looking at the table and we’re not there yet. This is a massive step obviously but we still have work to do against some very good teams.”


Forster; Parcell, McKenzie, Tanner; Adjei-Hersey (Beckles-Richards, 80) , Thomas, Youngs, Taaffe, Knight; Cass (Turner 69), Wyllie (Hippolyte 88)