Enfield Town 1 Lewes 4
Match report by Andrew Warshaw
It was a sad case of déjà vu for the Town on Saturday as we slumped to a heavy defeat against opponents who inflicted the same scoreline on us back in September.
Once again our defence, which for some reason has forgotten the basics in recent matches after doing so well earlier in the season, let us down but the centre of midfield was also at times cruelly exposed as our inconsistency continued.
With so many leading contenders having their games called off because of waterlogged pitches or Covid, this was a chance to put down an early 2022 marker but it was our playoff rivals who rose to the challenge with a stirring performance of composure and clinical finishing.
With the pitch passed fit after two inspections, Lewes seemed to cope better with the conditions, tiring us down and running way with the game in the second half.
Lewes showed their enterprise from the off and in the best of the early chances, Nathan McDonald somehow kept out Joe Taylor’s close-range effort with a superb one-handed stop.
But after a relatively even first half-hour when we gave as good as we got, we fell behind. Lewes were awarded a freekick and when the ball was played back in after being half-cleared, a seemingly unsighted McDonald could only fumble and Michael Klass was left with a simple tap-in.
Six minutes later, however, we were back on level terms as Adam Cunnington rose majestically above his marker to deliver a towering pinpoint header and celebrate accordingly (pictured).
That should have been the signal for us to move through the gears and on the stroke of halftime, Lyle Della-Verde had the ball in the net again, only for it to be ruled out for handball.
If Lewes were marginally the better team as the first half ended, they took control after the break as the rain returned. But not before Mo Faal, who had another quiet game by his own high standards, was denied by a last-ditch tackle.
Right on the hour, Razz Coleman-De-Graft cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable past a despairing McDonald. A real team goal then put Lewes 3-1 in front as the ball was played down the line before being finished off by Klass for his second of the game.
Between the Rooks’ second and third, Percy Kiangebeni – whose right-back role on the day after John Muleba was a late withdrawal arguably weakened our midfield — went into the referee’s book to go with Rian Bray’s first-half yellow.
Many watching thought Percy had already been cautioned and was fortunate to remain on the pitch. However, the referee clarified afterwards that it was Scott Thomas who had actually had his name taken earlier.
Much as we tried to get back in the game, we were second best to a well-drilled and side and Joe Taylor completed the scoring on 73 minutes as he dinked the ball over an advancing McDonald.
Cue our first glimpse of the newly registered Michael Dome-Bemwin but in truth the scoreline would have been even more painful had we not thrown a series of bodies on the line in the final stages.
The absence of the injured Manny Maja is certainly not helping our cause but one win in six is hardly playoff form and the fact that we have dropped points against so many rival contenders is a real worry, as Andy Leese acknowledged.
“It was another difficult day for us where we were beaten by the better side,” said Andy with Horsham to come on Tuesday. “Certainly in the second half we lost all our discipline and understanding of the game plan.”
“Lewes took control after their second goal and we didn’t compete after that. It was again a very disappointing defensive performance and showed we have a huge amount of work to do.”
Town: McDonald, Kiangebeni, Joseph, Bray, Kirwan, Taaffe (Coker 62), Thomas (Gyebi 70) Youngs, Cunnington, Faal, Della-Verde (Dome-Bemwin 73 mins)