Gavin Downbeat Despite Win

 Welwyn Garden City 1 Enfield Town 3

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town ran out 3-1 winners at Step 4 Welywn Garden City on Tuesday, finally getting on the scoresheet after three pre-season outings without a goal.

Yet Gavin Macpherson was far from happy afterwards, describing  the performance as a step back  and hinting strongly that some tough decisions will have to be made.

After highly creditable displays against QPR  Development, Spurs Under-21 and Bracknell, our first-half showing at Welwyn – managed by former Town favourite Marc Weatherstone — was poor against lower-league opposition in terms of passing, composure and communication though Mickey Parcell put in another commanding eye-catching performance.

After Gavin and the management team made a series of halftime changes, ball retention improved considerably, leading to a couple of excellent strikes from Marcus Wyllie and Sami Bessadi.

Town’s opening pre-season goal came on 15 minutes from the penalty spot. Charlie Crowley made a superb save but in the ensuing melee, Zak Brown was adjudged to have handled and  Reece Beckles-Richards fired home though Crowley got a good hand to the ball.

Ten minutes before the break, the Citizens levelled, also from the spot. Louis Birch, playing out of position at central defence following the late withdrawal of Kyle Bailey, made a holding midfielder-type challenge on Bailey Stevenson who proceeded to get to his feet and fire home the equaliser.

Both sides made a number of halftime subs and ours fortunately proved decisive with the likes of Sam Youngs and Scott Thomas adding authority and stability.

On 68 minutes we regained the lead after the best move of the game ended with Marcus drilling a right-foot strike into the far corner.

Three minutes from time, not one, but two goalbound strikes were blocked by the Welwyn defence. But when the ball fell to Bessadi he made no mistake with the third attempt, thrashing the ball home with a composed finish.

In truth we should have had more but Welwyn also had their fair share of chances and Gavin was distinctly non-plussed with the overall display.

“We had a few established players missing tonight but I can’t say I was best pleased, especially at halftime,” he said.

“Even if we’d won 6-1, I didn’t see some of the things I wanted to see and I wrote a lot of things down with a view to going forward to training on Thursday.

“To be perfectly honest,  I’d been pleased with the first three games and although tonight we stuck the ball in the net, I expected more from some of the players. I’ve seen a lot of good things come out in training so far but in some respects this was a step backwards.”

With the business end of pre-season to come in the next three games, Gavin didn’t mince his words.

“A few have knocked on my door saying they should be more involved but unfortunately some of them came up short. We now have to have some conversations. A few who’ve been with us simply won’t be in training on Thursday,  that’s the grim reality. It’s hard but that’s being a manager!”

“On another level it’s the best game we could have had in terms of making some decisions. I have to go what I feel in terms of getting it down to a group.”

Town starting line-up:

Connolly; Parcell, Birch, Okotcha, Payne; Wilkes, triallist, triallist; Beckles-Richards, Wyllie, triallist

Second half subs included Youngs, Thomas, Richmond and several triallists