Academy boys do us proud

The pain of Enfield Town losing right at the death to Hornchurch in the semifinals of the playoffs will take time to heal.

But as the club looks towards maintaining our competitiveness in time for next season,  there is a huge amount of promise lower down the age scale, writes Andrew Warshaw.

Last week, having already won their regional league in the National League U19 Alliance, the academy side narrowly missed out on the semifinals of the subsequent knockout competition in an attempt to become Champions of Champions.

In their quarterfinal at Chelmsford they so nearly made it through only to lose 5-4 with the last kick of the game.

Manager Ahmed Abdulla, who reports to Town’s academy chief and first-team coach Ian Hart,  can’t heap enough praise on his young players who have done the club proud.

“The way we lost was really cruel especially as we fought back from 3-1 down,” said Ahmad.  “I’m super proud of the boys after a fantastic season. It shows we’ve got up and coming players in-house, Ross Busunda and George Rankin to name but two.”

Meanwhile, as part of our ongoing relationship, our neighbours Tottenham Hotspur generously provided a dozen members of their under-18 squad recently to assist with much-needed ground maintenance at QEII.

“It was a great gesture by Spurs, with their training ground being in the borough, to help their local community club,” said Town vice-chairman Paul Millington.

Into the Last Eight

Enfield Town’s academy team have reached the quarterfinals of the National League U19 Alliance knockout competition, taking another giant step towards becoming regional champion of champions, writes Andrew Warshaw.

Goalkeeper Adi Connolly (pictured) was our hero, saving three penalties in the shootout after the last-16 tie with Tonbridge finished 1-1.

Both goals came in the second half, the visitors opening the scoring before David Agbon equalised.

The boys, who did brilliantly to win their league to put them into the knockout phase of the competition, now visit Chelmsford in the quarterfinals next week.

“We didn’t play that well but still got the result which says a lot,”  said  manager Ahmed Abdulla. “It’s good for the boys to still have something to play for.”

Enfield Town FC

Huge Congrats To Academy

By Andrew Warshaw

It’s not only our senior team who we should congratulate on a magnificent season.

Our academy side deserves enormous credit for having just won their division of the National League U19 Alliance and will host Tonbridge at 1pm tomorrow (Wednesday) in the first knockout phase in attempt to become Champions of Champions.

Anyone who witnessed our friendly last month against Southend under-23 will have been impressed by a raft of young academy players who were given a chance to mix with the first team.

Several of the lesser-known players produced eye-catching performances all over the pitch which certainly augurs well for the future including fullbacks Monty Clarke and Yahke Solomon, diminutive central midfielder James Bone and substitutes Ross Busunda and George Rankin.

The academy side won Division C, as it’s known, on goal difference from Barking on the final day of the season.  Basunda, who scored  a superb goal in that win over  Southend,  netted 18 times in as many appearances.

 Manager Ahmed Abdulla can’t heap enough praise on his young players who have done the club proud.

Ahmed, who is responsible to academy boss Ian Hart, is convinced some of his kids are good enough to break into the senior team.

“What you saw against Southend was just a glimpse of those who could hold their own in and around the first team,” he said. “It shows we’ve got up and coming players throughout the club. But like the senior team, it’s not about individuals, you need a whole collective team.”

“Incredible as it may sound, we had to win our last five games in seven days to win the title which is unheard of at any level. And we got five clean sheets.”

“The first team having such a good season rubbed off on my boys who wanted some of the same feeling. Lots of the boys go to first-team games and they come back saying how they’d like to do the same.”

Ecstasy to Last-Gasp Agony

Enfield Town 2 Hornchurch 3

Report by Andrew Warshaw

So close and yet, agonisingly, so far.

In front of our biggest ever home attendance, a staggering 1,948, Enfield Town’s promotion hopes ended in heartbreaking anguish last night, leaving players, management, fans and directors collectively shellshocked.

Town were just three minutes away from the Isthmian Premier League playoff final, with promotion to the Holy Grail of National League South within touching distance, when Hornchurch struck twice to spoil the party in a last-gasp win that left all of us scarcely able to  believe what had happened.

In an incredible atmosphere in our first playoff for five years, Town led twice through Jerry Gyebi and Mo Faal, only for the Urchins to level on 87 minutes with a piece of sublime skill from super-sub Sam Higgins, then snatch victory three minutes later as the clock ticked towards extra time.

With three players ruled out at the worst possible time – skipper Scott Thomas and Nathan Smith through injury and long throw specialist  Lee Chappell through personal circumstances – John Muleba started at right-back and Harold Joseph, who had hardly trained, was called up at the last minute to the bench against the surprise winners of last season’s FA Trophy.

Town’s line-up was certainly an attacking one with all three of our forwards starting in a 4-3-3- formation.  Adam Cunnington had the game’s first big chance when he headed wide after two minutes while at the other end former Towner Micky Parcell sent Liam Nash’s backheel too close to Nathan McDonald.

Olly Muldoon and Joe Christou both then threatened our goal as we took time to settle but  we gradually imposed ourselves on the game and  on 38 minutes, shortly after a clear penalty claim for handball was turned down, we took the lead. Percy Kiangebeni’s freekick was flicked on and Jerry Gyebi – one of our best players on the night – supplied an excellent finish (pictured).

It could so easily have been 2-0 when a Sam Youngs effort hit the base of the post before rebounding to safety. The first half was then prolonged for several minutes for what appeared to be a bad injury to Hornchurch’s Tom Wraight who was carried off on a stretcher and replaced.

H-T 1-0

Just after the restart, again we might have doubled our lead when Cunnington’s bicycle kick had Joe Wright, another ex-Towner, scrambling, only for Hornchurch to level out of nothing on 56 minutes when Nash took advantage of hesitant defending to convert a long throw.

It didn’t at the time do any lasting damage, however, because within a couple minutes we had restored our lead as Muleba’s surging run and cross was rattled home by Mo Faal.

But cue Hornchurch’s call from the bench for the dangerous Higgins who turned the game on its head. With his first touch,  he created a golden chance for Nash who shot inches wide with McDonald beaten.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, we almost made the game safe only for Wright to save superbly from the ever-willing if tiring Cunnington. But just as it looked as if we would hold on and the celebrations would last long into the night, they were suddenly cut short. Higgins controlled the ball 25 yards out and sent an outrageous lob beyond McDonald and in off the post for 2-2.

All eyes were now on extra time but instead Town’s collective hearts were broken as the ball was fed out once again to Nash and this time he made no mistake, lashing it into the far corner.

As our frustrations boiled over, there was still time sadly for Manny Maja to be dismissed for a second yellow.

To make matters worse, victory would have given us a home final against local arch-rivals Cheshunt, who upset Bishop’s Stortford in the other semifinal, on Bank Holiday Monday, a double whammy that made the last-gasp defeat all the more gut-wrenching to take.

Crestfallen players who had left everything on the pitch slumped to the ground in abject disappointment at the final whistle before regrouping for a squad huddle with the management staff to reflect on what has been the club’s best ever season.

It was entirely fitting that after a memorable campaign, the team were given a rapturous send-off by the majority of a bumper crowd that had the stadium packed to the rafters and bursting at the seams.

“Football can be a cruel mistress at times and so it proved,” said Enfield manager Andy Leese. “A devastating end to the game and our hopes which I just didn’t see coming. We gave it our all and edged a very competitive game until the last few minutes when a couple of bits of excellent finishing undid us. It’s been an exceptional season in so many ways and we shouldn’t lose sight of that. Final mention to our incredible support which went to a new level last night. Huge appreciation from us all on the management and playing staff.”

Despite the agony of defeat and a summer of “what ifs” ahead, the entire squad can look back with pride. The playoffs were always the goal from day one of the season, something clubs with far greater resources than Town also aspired to but never achieved.

A record points tally and biggest ever average home gate speaks volumes about the commitment and camaraderie of a unique group of players.

“It was hugely disappointing to get so close to our first playoff final at this level but when the dust settles we will look back and feel very proud,” said chairman Paul Reed.

“To have a crowd of that magnitude shows the inroads we’ve made in the local community and how our support base is growing. Hopefully we can carry that forward.”

Town: McDonald, Muleba, Bray, Gyebi, Kirwan (Della Verde 90), Kiangebeni, Maja, Youngs;  Cunnington, Faal, Cass

Winner Takes All

Playoff Preview by Andrew Warshaw

It is, quite simply, the biggest game we have ever played at the QEII and the anticipation is reaching fever pitch.

They say you deserve to be where you finish and after 42 league games, months of intensive hard work, behind-the-scenes attention to detail and all-important spirit and cameraderie, it all comes down to Wednesday night’s nailbiting play-off semifinal against familiar foes Hornchurch.

Play-off games, as we all know, are one-off affairs. They can be decided by a sublime piece of a skill or an outrageous stroke of luck. Euphoria can change to heartbreak in the blink of an eye – and vice-versa.

Just like Town, Hornchurch will be desperate to come away with victory, not least after losing to us twice this season. With a place in the final and the Holy Grail of Step 2 football so close, neither side will want their season to end just yet.

One thing’s for sure: the management team will have been meticulous in the build-up to the game and the atmosphere promises to be electric with Towners fans coming out in their hundreds to try and push us over the line and into a final against either Bishop’s Stortford or Cheshunt.

What we have achieved already is a tribute to the management staff and players, most of whom were not around the last time we reached the playoff semifinal five years ago. This time we want to go one better.

It’s highly possible that not one, not two but three ex-Town players could be facing us in a Hornchurch shirt with several ex-Towner legends likely to be in attendance.

Having become the first Step 3 side to win the FA Trophy, non-league football’s biggest prize, last season, Hornchurch know all about the big stage. But after Saturday’s Bognor result, coupled with Wingate’s surprise win at Hornchurch, there was a confident air of “bring it on” amongst our boys who are hungry to succeed and raring to go.

“Being rewarded with a home tie is something in all honesty I didn’t expect would happen,” Andy Leese (pictured) told the Our Local Non-League podcast. “But we worked hard for it and finishing third in the league is a reflection of what we’ve done all season so I’m absolutely delighted.”

With no league fixtures to fall back on, Andy and his staff will have left no stone unturned to get the players in the right frame of mind.

“The mindset is obviously slightly different because it’s bit like the last-chance saloon. But I’ve got a bunch of players who know the drill. A lot of them are used to playing in big games.”

Advanced ticket sales have gone through the roof though you can of course still purchase tickets on the night by cash or card at the turnstiles.

Stand transfer tickets, price £2 , will be available on the night but are likely to sell out before kick off. These can be purchased at the exit to the balcony in the main building. For crowd management and safety reasons there will be no access to the balcony except for those purchasing stand transfer tickets. We would appreciate your co-operation with these arrangements.

Turnstiles will open at 6 PM, bar and catering facilities will be open, and it is suggested you try to arrive 30 minutes before kick off if possible. This will help to ensure we can get everyone in the ground before kick off.

We do anticipate the main car park will be full before kick off . If you can walk or arrive by public transport that may be preferable. Car sharing is also very much encouraged.

COYT!

Playoff Match Arrangements

Enfield Town FC V Hornchurch – Wednesday 27 April 2022, 7:45PM

Tickets are now available online and are already selling well. Purchasing tickets in advance should speed up the process of entering the ground. Usual ticket prices apply. You can of course still purchase tickets on the night by cash or card.

Click here to purchase tickets

Season tickets and GoToTown packages are not valid for this game to comply with the regulations set by the Isthmian League.

Stand transfer tickets, price £2, will be available on the night but are likely to sell out before kick off. These can be purchased at the exit to the balcony in the main building. For crowd management and safety reasons there will be no access to the balcony except for those purchasing stand transfer tickets. We would appreciate your co-operation with these arrangements.

Turnstiles will open at 6pm, bar and catering facilities will be open, and it is suggested you try to arrive 30 minutes before kick off if possible. This will help to ensure we can get everyone in the ground before kick off.

We do anticipate the main car park will be full before kick off and we are exploring alternative parking options but if you can walk or arrive by public transport that may be preferable. Car sharing is also very much encouraged. We will update you if we secure additional parking.

The game itself will be decided on the night with extra time and if necessary penalties. COYT!

Award Winners

Sam Youngs has won the supporters’ player of the season award and was presented with his trophy on the pitch immediately following our 1-0 win over Bognor on Saturday.

In all there were seven awards,  the club person of the year accolade going to  Glen Hosford for his tireless work on the pitch, supporting Dave Farenden through all weathers.

Mo Faal won two awards – the manager’s player of the season and the Golden Boot  prize having scored 32 league goals in 42 games (41 in all competitions) while Manny Maja took the young player award

Sam also won goal of the season as well as the players’ player award

Congratulations to each and every  winner for their invaluable contribution to a terrific season.

Meanwhile tickets for our eagerly anticipated playoff semi-final at home to Hornchurch on Wednesday can be purchased in advance by clicking here

Home To Hornchurch In Playoff Showdown

Enfield Town 1 Bognor Regis 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

What a day. What a Season. And it Ain’t over yet!

To chants to “We’re Proud of You”, Enfield Town rounded off their best ever Isthmian League season with a record points haul to finish third in the table, thereby clinching a home semi-final playoff against Hornchurch.

On a dramatic final day of Step 3 action, we needed to better Hornchurch’s result against Wingate and Finchley to leapfrog the Urchins and secure home advantage on Wednesday.

And we did exactly that courtesy of Adam Cunnington’s early second half goal, coupled with Wingate’s shock victory on the road. Thanks to W and F boss and former Town skipper Marc Weatherstone for helping us out!

The scenes of unbridled joy at the final whistle told their own story as the majority of a bumper crowd of 668 celebrated our first playoff for five years.

Jake Cass, who had a slight niggle, was left on the bench with our playoff place already assured as were Lee Chappell and Lyle Della-Verde, the latter two coming on late in the second half.

In a swirling wind and on a bumpy pitch, conditions were not easy but Town were deserved winners in a carnival atmosphere, upping our game in the second half against opponents whose approach play was neat but who struggled in the final third.

Mo Faal, the league’s second highest scorer with 32 goals, had the first big chance, his shot brilliantly pushed over by Amadou Tangara after just two minutes.  Mo then somehow contrived to shoot wide of the far post with only the keeper to beat.

At the other end  Nathan McDonald was forced into action with a magnificent stop from Charlie Bell while Alfie Bridgeman’s cross came off the shin off Nathan Odokonyero.

With the wind behind them, a youthful Bognor side enjoyed plenty of first-half possession but just before halftime almost paid for a mistake by Tangara who hit a poor clearance straight at Ryan Kirwan, the richochet falling just out of reach of the lurking Mo.

H-T 0-0

Straight from the restart, Bognor’s Charlie Bell let fly from 30 yards, McDonald palming the shot over, but that was the cue for Town to dominate the rest of the game with Bognor heavily reliant on central defender Joe Cook, their outstanding player on the day, to try and keep us out.

The game was won on 51 minutes as Cunnington beat Tangara to a diagonal ball from Sam Youngs and bravely headed home (pictured).

Jerry Gyebi should have quickly doubled the lead, missing the target with a free header from a corner, while Tangara saved from Youngs and Mo, who might have had a hat-trick on another day, struck another effort wide.

As news came in of Wingate’s lead at Hornchurch, it became imperative to hold on to what we had, encapsulated by Gyebi’s fantastic clearance with Odokonyero ready to pounce.

But in truth but we rarely looked in any further trouble, Percy Kiangebeni looking particularly strong just at the right time with a series of timely interceptions. Indeed, we might have stretched our lead late on when calls for a penalty went unheeded after Tangara appeared to take out Kirwan.

Now it all comes down to Wednesday night’s showdown with Hornchurch, last season’s FA Trophy winners who, in the blink of an eye, find themselves having to travel to us instead of vice-versa.

It is, quite simply, the biggest game in our history with a place in the playoff final at stake against Bishop’s Stortford or Cheshunt.

“A great day all round that worked out well for us,” said Andy Leese. “Conditions made it hard in the first half but we used them in the second and dominated. Cunns led the line well. It rounded off a great season but there is still a job to do, starting on Wednesday. A mention to the fantastic support again.”

Town:

McDonald; Smith (Chappell, 70), Bray, Gyebi; Kirwan (Muleba, 73) Youngs, Maja, Kiangebeni, Taaffe (Della Verde 71); Faal, Cunnington

Possible away play-off travel

Depending on today’s results, we could be playing the semi-final of the play-offs away at Hornchurch next Wednesday 27th April 2022. The club may be running a coach to Hornchurch subject to supporters interest.

The details are:

-Date: Wednesday 27th April 2022 
-Departure Time: 4.30pm
-Departure Point: QEII Stadium
-Cost: £16.00

If you are interested please contact Les Gold on 07979727563 or speak to him at today’s match

Bring On Bognor

It’s been an thoroughly absorbing league campaign and on Saturday it concludes with our home game against Bognor Regis – just days before our eagerly awaited playoff with Hornchurch.

Back in December we drew 2-2 at Bognor, Mo Faal putting us two up in the opening 15 minutes before Nathan Odokonyero reduced the areas before halftime.

We then came under sustained pressure in the second half, particularly after Manny Maja was sent off for a second yellow card offence, and Bognor finally levelled the scores three minutes from time through Jordy Mongoy.

Mo nearly won the game for us with a chance in the last minute but on balance 2-2 was a fair result.

Bognor have been in good form of late but will have been disappointed not to have made the playoffs along with the likes of Lewes and Folkestone. On Monday they ended Lewes’ playoff ambitions with a 1-0 home win courtesy of a goal from Dan Gifford.

We are expecting another big crowd for our last home league fixture, you can book your tickets in advance using the link below.

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/event/ent2122h06/enfield-town-v-bognor-regis-town

If we can better Hornchurch’s result at home to Wingate and Finchley, we will be at home in the playoffs. Otherwise the mouth-watering semifinal will be at Hornchurch on Wednesday night. All to play for still.

Town Top Marks Versus Scholars

Potters Bar Town 0 Enfield Town 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town warmed up for the final league game of the season with a comfortable 2-0 derby win at Potters Bar on Easter Monday that saw each and every player in a Town shirt put in a terrific shift and ensure we gained our record points tally as as Isthmian League club.

With our playoff place already in the bag, the management team took the sensible decision to rotate the squad – and it worked a treat.

Mo Faal, who is fasting during Ramadan, and Sam Youngs both started on the bench, with the fit-again Adam Cunnington up front with Jake Cass, Bilal Sayoud at wingback and Percy Kiangebeni occupying central midfield with skipper Scott Thomas out injured.

Apart from a brief spell in the second half when the Scholars came into the game, we were largely in control with everyone playing for their place with so much at stake.

Jake Cass, arguably back to his best form, was particularly prominent and was almost on target with just a couple of minutes on the clock.

The lead we had threatened to take came on 17 minutes with yet another trademark Lyle Della-Verde left-foot strike after fine work by Sayoud.

Joe Boachie, Bar’s best player on the day, almost sneaked in to capitalise on some hesitancy at the back but most of the half-chances were still coming our way, much to the delight of the Town support who made up a majority of the 562 attendance.

H-T 0-1

Whilst the Scholars improved after the break, we were still very much the more composed side and after 58 minutes almost doubled our lead. Lewis Taaffe, who put in one of his best displays in a Town shirt both at the back and going forward in his wingback role, fed Cunnington who was narrowly ruled offside as he rifled the ball home.

At the other end, the pacey Boachie produced a thankfully unconverted sparkling run and cross while Tyler Christian Law put a free header over as Bar briefly threatened.

But with Percy, who revelled in being given the captaincy for the day, and Manny Maja controlling midfield, we posed the greater physical threat and always looked capable of extending our lead.

Which is exactly what happened with seven minutes to go.  Shortly after both coming off the bench, Sam Youngs placed a sublime header through to Mo who just managed to control the bobbling ball and shoot past Kacper Kurylowicz for his 33rd league goal of the season (pictured) despite the desperate attempts of a defender to keep it out.

There was still time for both Cass and Youngs to produce further efforts in what was a thoroughly satisfying afternoon full of desire and energy, made all the more so by the fact that Hornchurch were defeated.

This means that if we win our last regular league game on Saturday at home to Bognor and Hornchurch somehow fail to beat Wingate and Finchley, we will finish third instead of fourth and secure that all-important home playoff tie against the Urchins.

All to play for still, then, and let’s hope former Towner Marc Weatherstone, now in charge of W and F, can do us a favour.

“I never felt we were in danger, they didn’t trouble us too much,” said Andy Leese, who started with a back three and wingbacks, a system we often revert to during matches.

 “We got the ball first which we didn’t do on Friday against Cray. It was a solid, efficient, professional performance. The mindset now is absolutely vital over the next 10-14 days and it started today.”

Town:

McDonald; Sayoud (Kirwan, 56), Chappell, Bray, Gyebi, Taaffe; Kiangebeni, Maja, Della-Verde (76); Cass, Cunnington (Faal, 64)

Playoffs Here We Come

Enfield Town 3 Cray Wanderers 3

Report by Andrew Warshaw

In front of our biggest gate of the season, just under 800, Enfield Town secured the point they needed to mathematically make sure of a playoff place courtesy of hattrick hero Jake Cass.

Congratulations to the players and management team for fulfilling the goal we set out to achieve  at the start of the season back in August.

John Muleba was given a rare start against Cray while Cass continued up front in the absence of the still-injured Adam Cunnington.

The last three meetings between the sides had produced 21 goals and this was no different but was by no means straightforward. We were pushed all the way by a team scrapping for their lives at the other end of the table and who almost spoiled the Good Friday party.

Cray were on a four-game losing run and because of injuries had to call up U18s keeper Nathan Boamah for his senior debut .

But he produced an outstanding performance with a number of terrific saves especially in the final 20 minutes when we were in danger of losing back-to-back matches against relegation-threatened teams and applied mounting pressure.

On 11 minutes Boamah somehow got to a trademark Lyle Della-Verde freekick with a brilliant one-handed tip over but Cray were clearly not in the mood to be over-run and caused us several anxious moments at the back, Nathan McDonald producing his own tip over from the dangerous Jamie Yila.

The first goal could have gone either way but thankfully went to us. On 28 minutes Mo Faal was hauled back just as he was about to shoot and Cass buried the penalty confidently.

The lead lasted  lasted just two minutes, however. Just as Scott Thomas was down injured, Sam Wood’s swivel and turn restored parity.

Scott had to be replaced by Percy Kiangebeni but Town were back in front with the goal of the game, a thunderous 25-yard strike from Cass that almost burst the net.

Still we couldn’t put Cray away, however, and they responded again through Richie Danquah’s bullet header from a freekick on the stroke of half-time.

H-T 2-2

Cray began the second period with renewed intent and went in front for the first time on 66  minutes through Anthony Cook with an accomplished finish after the ball ricocheted off Rian Bray.

 Cue a double substitution and a storming Town rally. Cass steered the ball inches wide after being put through by Lewis Taaffe — who scored twice when the sides drew 4-4 in January – while a Mo volley produced a flying save from 17-year-old Boamah.

Finally, with two minutes to go, the pressure told as Cass secured a point by bravely turning in Sayoud Bilal’s corner (pictured).

He almost notched a fourth to win the game, only for his left-foot volley to produce another wonderful stop from the teenage keeper.

“It’s a fantastic achievement even though we made hard work of it today,” said Andy Leese after we secured a playoff semifinal spot, almost certainly an away tie at Hornchurch or Bishop’s Stortford .

“Some of the defending today was disappointing but Cray have some excellent individuals who really turned up and are a much better side than their position suggests.

“I’m delighted with the character shown and Cassie ran the line superbly and has found his form again. Hopefully the pressure will be off in our last two games. Obviously the objective is to finish as high as we can and we’ll be at it again at Potters Bar on Monday and again on Saturday.”

Town:

McDonald; Muleba (Taaffe, 74),  Bray, Gyebi, Chappell; Maja, Youngs, Thomas (Kiangebeni, 31),  Della-Verde (Sayoud, 75); Jake Cass, Mo Faal

Crowd: 782

3pm Cray Kickoff

Just a gentle reminder to all our fans that the Good Friday game at home to Cray Wanderers kicks off at 3pm rather than the evening.

A point from this fixture would ensure our playoff place but a win could put us back in the race for a home game in the playoff semifinals.

Back on January 3 we were involved in one of the games of the season when we drew 4-4 at Cray’s temporary home at Bromley FC.

Since then former Bromley manager Neil Smith has taken over at Cray but their recent form has not been great even before Sunday’s 0-5 thrashing by Hornchurch — their fourth successive defeat. Currently in one of the two relegation spots they desperately need points from their final three games to avoid the drop.

We are expecting a big crowd for our penultimate home league fixture, you can book your tickets in advance using the link below

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/brand/match-tickets

Enfield Town FC Supporters Society Members can now also vote for their player of the season via their link below.

https://poll-maker.com/poll4240857x53fd4eb9-133

Members without access to the internet can vote at the Club Shop on Friday.

Town Stunned by Last-Gasp Defeat

Brightlingsea Regent 2 Enfield Town 1

Report by Martin Bentley

The curse of the Manager of the Month award landed on Andy Leese’s unsuspecting head as an injury-time winner from Brightlingsea’s Ollie Bell saw Enfield Town slip to their first defeat in seven games.

The unexpected setback saw the Town hold on to third place in the league, but with Hornchurch two points behind them with a game in hand going into their fixture against Cray and possibly now in the driving seat to achieve that coveted home draw in the playoffs.

By contrast, this was only Regent’s second win in 11 games but could prove vital in their battle against relegation. It must be said that their win was deserved in the light of a strangely uninspired Town showing.

With Jake Cass returning in place of the injured Adam Cunnington, the Town started the game at a gallop, having two shots blocked in the opening 20 seconds and Lewis Taaffe hitting a free kick over the bar two minutes later.

Town were comfortably in control in the opening stages, and got their noses in front after 22 minutes, when Cass fired home the loose ball (pictured) after home keeper Charlie Turner had spilled a left wing corner.

We continued to enjoy the greater share of possession for most of the first half without managing to trouble Turner again, and were not helped by the enforced retirement from the game of Jerry Gyebi after 32 minutes.

As the home side started to come into the game, Town once again conceded an annoying equaliser on 39 minutes. A cross from the right was met by a first-time effort from Aaron Blair that was probably destined to finish closer to the corner flag than the goal until the ball was deflected in via the shin of Nathan Smith who had replaced Gyebi.

H-T 1-1

With Town now facing a stiff breeze in the second half, Brightlingsea started the brighter of the sides although most of their efforts were landing in the car park.

Their winger Valter Cachicote da Rocha embarked on a mazy dribble that was almost as long as his name but his final effort was disappointing.

 Town were struggling now to make any decent headway although Mo Faal hit a shot wide from Cass’ flick on and substitute Lyle Della Verde had a freekick well saved by Turner on 68 minutes. Ten minutes later Faal  thought he’d won the match, only for his effort to be  disallowed for offside as Town’s frustrations grew.

The final period of the game saw the home side force a string of corners that were dealt with by Town’s defence, before Regent administered the coup de grace in the first minute of injury time that sent the home crowd wild.

Rocha’s 30-yard freekick was partially cleared to the feet of Ollie Bell, whose low shot through a forest of legs beat Nathan McDonald to his left.

“A bitterly disappointing performance and result,” was how Andy Leese summed up proceedings. “Apart from 25 minutes at the start of the game we weren’t at it  and you get what happened in the second half when you do that.”

“We have to reset this week and get back to basic principles. We have to focus on the next game where we still need maximum points to secure a top-5 place.”

Town line-up: McDonald, Chappell, Kirwan, Thomas, Bray, Gyebi (Smith 32), Youngs, Cass, Faal, Taaffe (Kiangebeni 77), Maja (Della Verde 65). Unused subs: Muleba, Sayoud

Vital Game Time

Vital Game Time

Enfield Town 2 Southend  United U-23 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

A specially arranged friendly designed to give precious game time to those who have not been selected in recent matches ended with an impressive 2-1 over tenacious and skillful opponents on Tuesday night.

The management team put out a mixture of experienced first-teamers and academy players in what was an extremely useful exercise as we approach an eagerly anticipated run-in to the league season and then, almost certainly, the playoffs.

Several of the lesser known players produced eye-catching performances all over the pitch which certainly augurs well for the future including fullbacks Monty Clarke and Yahke Solomon, diminutive central midfielder James Bone and substitutes Ross Busunda and George Rankin.

As he gets back to full fitness, Jake Cass was among the senior players who started and had an early chance, producing a decent save from the visiting keeper as Southend tried and failed to play offside.

Many of their players may have been under-18 but Southend, two divisions higher than us, were a highly drilled unit and almost went in front when Jack Wood’s freekick came back off our bar.

H-T 0-0

Wood broke the deadlock on 53 minutes but within six minutes we were on level terms as Cass’ flick found Busanda who finished with aplomb.

The game was won on 62 minutes when Cass rifled the ball home from the edge of box and while all wins build confidence, this was mainly about players getting fit as well as trying to impress the management staff.

“Tonight was a great workout for us and thanks to Southend FC for coming and making it a very competitive game,” said Andy Leese.

“We were able to give first-team players some much needed match time and were also able to look at some as some of the young players who have been showing promise.”

We should also congratulate Andy on his award as manager of the month for March for our division, a thoroughly deserved achievement after six wins on the bounce that have put us to within touching distance of the play-offs.

Town: Connolly; Clarke, Muleba, Smith, Mohamed (Busunda); Kiangebeni, Solomon, Bone (Rankin), Della-Verde; Cass (Jordan), Sayoud.

Tuesday Friendly

With the playoffs looming ever closer, the club has arranged a friendly for tomorrow against Southend United’s U-23 team, specifically to give game time to members of our first-team squad who have not been in the starting eleven in recent matches.

They will be joined by some of our promising younger players who have been loaned out to other clubs this season.

The fixture makes eminent sense given who we might still need for the run-in, with four games to go.

“We need to keep the squad match-fit and this game gives us the opportunity to do that,” said Andy Leese.

“We will also get the chance to check on some of the players who have been out getting games elsewhere.”

Reduced admission prices of £5 for adults and £1 for under 16s will apply for this game.

We’re Almost There

Enfield Town 1 Horsham 0

Match Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town made it six wins on the bounce and are now within touching distance of that much coveted play-off spot with just four games to go.

Jerry Gyebi’s towering header midway through the second half put paid to a Horsham side that competed well but didn’t do enough to justify sharing the spoils.

With a couple of other key results going our way, mathematically we are one win away from securing a playoff spot, a testament to the players and management staff who have worked tirelessly to get us to where we are now.

It might seem like job done already as we remain third just a point behind Bishop Stortford but we want to finish as high as we can to get that home draw and to  try and beat our record points tally.

Games against Horsham invariably throw up a goalfest but whereas the corresponding fixture in January produced nine goals, this one was an entirely different affair. Control was difficult on a hard pitch and in tough conditions that included bright sun, driving rain and even a flurry of snow.

The visitors had arguably had the best chance of a well contested opening half when Eddie Dsane’s flashing header grazed the top of the bar with six minutes on the clock.

As Town responded, a lightning three man move down the left almost paid dividends while Manny Maja brought a superb tip-over save from Sam Howes and Sam Youngs almost broke the deadlock with a 25-yard freekick.

H-T 0-0

Whilst we just about shaded the first half, Shamir Fenelon came within a whisker of giving the Hornets a shock lead just after the restart but blasted his shot just wide.

Cue a timely double substitution, one of them forced, as Jake Cass replaced the limping, leg-strapped Adam Cunnington and Lyle Della-Verde took over from Lewis Taaffe.

Cass came close with a superb turn and half-volley before Mo Faal provided the game’s outstanding piece of individual skill, picking the ball up close to the halfway line and leaving not one, not two but FIVE Hornets players in his wake as he burst forward.

The only thing lacking was Mo’s finish as he got too close to the keeper before deciding to shoot.

The points were ultimately settled by an unchallenged Jerry Gyebi who rose above the visitors’ defence (pictured) to head home a Della-Verde corner on 68 minutes.

There was still time for Della-Verde to force Howes into a scrambled save from a fizzing 30-yard freekick and for Faal to square the ball for Cass who couldn’t quite get nearer enough to convert.

You can’t ask for more than a six-match winning streak at this time of the season, partly down to the fact that we have had a settled squad for most of the campaign with a fantastic team spirit drilled into them by the management team.

 “Another demanding game which only changed when we altered our shape in the second half,” said manager Andy Leese. “Horsham are a very decent team but we limited them to very few clear opportunities on goal.”

Town:

McDonald; Chappell, Bray, Gyebi, Kirwan; Thomas, Maja, Youngs (Smith 90), Taaffe (Della-Verde, 65) Cunnington (Cass 57), Faal.

Next up Horsham

Five league games to go, three home, two away, starting with entertaining Horsham on Saturday which, if recent encounters between the sides are anything to go by, could be a goalfest.

Our record against the Hornets in recent meetings may be somewhat iffy but we recorded a 4-3 win at the Camping World Community Stadium in the corresponding fixture in January with goals from Sam Youngs, Lyle Della-Verde, Mo Faal and Jake Cass.

Horsham are currently 13th in the table with 42 points from 36 games but on their day are a dangerous proposition as Tuesday’s 3-2 win over  Folkestone Invicta showed.

They are through to the final of the Velocity Trophy having beaten the same opposition  5-0 in the Semi Final.

And earlier this season they reached the first round proper of the FA Cup before going out 0-2 at Carlisle United, having beaten National League Woking 1-0 in the 4th Qualifying Round.

Tickets for tomorrow’s game are available at:

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/brand/match-tickets

Onwards and Upwards

Merstham 1 Enfield Town 3

Report by Martin Bentley

A fifth consecutive win, this time at struggling Merstham, that was far more convincing than the scoreline suggests and might easily have improved our goal difference had we converted more chances.

On a hard, bumpy pitch that demanded a direct approach, an unchanged Town started the game at a gallop, with Adam Cunnington and Mo Faal having shots saved by home keeper Patrick Ohman in the first 10 minutes.

Lewis Taaffe and Rian Bray were also narrowly off target as the Towners threatened to overrun their hosts.

The first goal finally arrived after 25 minutes, when Faal dispossessed a home defender 10 yards from goal and passed to Sam Youngs, who shot low into the net, much to the relief of the travelling faithful.

Taaffe then had two further chances to extend the lead, shooting wide when well-placed on 29 minutes and having a shot well saved by Ohman 10 minutes later.

Annoyingly, Town then conceded an equaliser a minute before the break, Tahjae Anderson heading in a right wing corner at the far post. This was a touch unfair on the Town, who really should have been out of sight by then.

H-T 1-1

But we began the second half in the same vein. Manny Maja had a goal disallowed for offside just after the restart before Town regained the lead on 49 minutes. Again Faal provided the assist, rolling a square ball into the path of the outstanding Youngs (pictured), who banged it gleefully into the roof of the net.

Still Town pressed forward. The luckless Taaffe managed to hit the crossbar from three yards; Faal fluffed a far-post header; and Taaffe’s right-wing corner somehow made its way unmolested through a crowded goalmouth.

The insurance goal finally came on 77 minutes courtesy of Mo, shooting low from the left into the far corner of the net.

Only hours earlier Town’s top scorer had made a guest appearance on Sky’s Soccer AM show, great publicity for both himself and the club on what was billed as Non-League Day.

Although the home side never gave up, Town played out the remaining few minutes without undue difficulty, successfully retaining third place in the league.

“Another solid professional performance to keep us on track,” said Andy Leese. “We dominated the game until we scored, then allowed Merstham some space and they took advantage.”

“We altered our shape at halftime and it worked, with Mo alongside Adam and a narrow midfield to get us on the ball more.”

“The only disappointing aspect is that we didn’t take more of the numerous chances we created. I think we will need to win most of our games to get to where we want to be.”

Town line-up: McDonald, Chappell, Kirwan, Thomas (Kiangebeni 81), Bray, Gyebi, Youngs, Taaffe (Smith 77), Faal, Cunnington (Della Verde 83), Maja. Unused subs: Joseph, Sayoud

Mo On TV

Our own Muhammadu Faal is scheduled to make a guest appearance on Soccer AM on Sky tomorrow morning.

As you may know, there is no Premier league or Championship football this weekend because of the international break. Saturday has been designated as non-league day and Mo, who has scored 31 league goals this season, is being featured as part of Sky’s coverage.

Mo will be on the show some time between 10.30 and noon before travelling to our game at Merstham

Tanners Tamed In Tight Encounter

Enfield Town 1 Leatherhead 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Four straight wins have put us within touching distance of the playoffs after yet another tight, nail-biting encounter against a Leatherhead team that played way above its relegation-threatened status.

In a game of precious few chances, the points were won after just seven minutes courtesy of yet another of those near-post headers by man-of-the-match Sam Youngs who ghosted in to convert a Lewis Taaffe corner (pictured).

Sam clearly relished the occasion and put in another outstanding shift but it was our defence – not always our strong point – which really caught the eye against opponents who took the game to us for long periods and will perhaps feel they deserved more.

Special mention has to go to the seemingly ageless Lee Chappell whose two vital interceptions soon after we took the lead almost certainly prevented an equaliser.

Lee, like his colleagues at the back, put on a superb “Thou Shalt Not Pass” display as we managed to snuff Leatherhead out whenever they threatened.

He made another fantastic block late in the first half and moments later a low cross was fizzed into our box but fortunately found no Leatherhead player.

For all their possession, however, the Tanners might well have fallen further behind when Mo Faal spooned a terrific chance over the bar after taking advantage of defensive hesitancy.

H-T 1-0

Leatherhead, who have had three managers this season, are unrecognisable from when we played them earlier in the season and in fact had only one player in their squad who featured back October.

With a brand new team, they are banking on a great escape and showed commendable passing ability though to be fair Nathan McDonald hardly had a notable save to make, largely due to being protected by those in front of him.

To make sure of the points, the management team switched to three at the back late on as we made it four wins on the spin after those three back-to-back defeats to move to within one point of second-placed Bishops Stortford.

Winning without playing at your best is the sign of a team with spirit and confidence and we have made a habit of that over the last couple of games.

More of the same and a playoff spot seems assured though no one is yet taking anything for granted.

“Another valuable win which came the hard way,” said Andy Leese. “Leatherhead belied their league position, were well organised and competed for everything. We were fantastic defensively  and limited them to few opportunities. We were having a terrible little run and to bounce back the way we have shows what we are about.”

Town

McDonald; Chappell, Bray, Gyebi, Kirwan; Maja, Thomas, Youngs, Taaffe (Smith, 77); Faal, Cunnington

Kraig for Grenada

We are delighted to report that our own Kraig Noel-McLeod has been called up for Grenada’s Senior Men’s National Team for two upcoming friendlies against Gibraltar and Andorra during international week

The games take place this Wednesday and on March 28 after which Kraig is due to return to the club.

Kraig, who can play at centrehalf or leftback,  joined us in January having previously represented Brightlingsea Regent and Clacton this season. He spent time with QPR and Norwich City in his early career.

Congratulations Kraig on being called up for your national team

Town Edging Closer

Enfield Town 2 Corinthian Casuals 1

Report from Andrew Warshaw

Whisper it quietly, with seven games to go we are getting ever closer to ensuring a playoff spot and achieving the goal we set as a club at the start of the season.

It may be a cliché but at the business end of the campaign it’s not necessarily about being pretty, rather about racking up the points, no matter how you get them.

So it was on Saturday when we should probably have killed the game when leading reasonably comfortably. But no team in this division just lies down and Casuals were no different, running us close just as they have done with other leading contenders.

 With Folkestone well beaten at home, we are now in third spot. The top five seem to be pulling away and there is no doubt we are handily placed.

But there is no room for complacency because we are not there yet. The likes of Lewes and Cheshunt are very much still in the mix.

 We want to finish as high as we can to try and ensure a home draw in the playoffs. All of which makes for a nail-biting run-in.

Against opponents missing no fewer than eight players, we were unchanged from the win against Hornchurch and got off to the perfect start with the strong wind behind us,  Adam Cunnington converting with a sweet volley from Lewis Taaffe’s fourth-minute corner.

Not much happened from then on until we doubled our lead. Sam Youngs was brought down inside the box and Mo sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.

Sam himself then narrowly missed the target with a neat shot and turn while Manny Maja fired over and although Casuals started to have more of the ball, we seemed in control.

H-T 2-0

Right at the start of the second period Mo broke clear down the left, only for keeper Daniel Bracken to grab the ball off his feet. But 2-0, they say, is a dangerous scoreline and Casuals, now playing with the wind, were suddenly a different proposition, showing more purpose and intent.

A deep freekick into the box almost caught us napping at the far post before Lee Chappell stooped low to clear the next effort off the line. But it was third time lucky for the visitors as Scott Thomas bundled over Misha Djamili and Kieron Cadogan drilled the penalty into the corner to halve the deficit.

Just as momentum switched and we had difficulty clearing our lines, so Town had a glorious opportunity to restore their two-goal advantage with eight minutes to go.

But in a game of three spotkicks, this one was missed as Mo drove his shot wide after being hauled down by Bracken as he raced through on goal.

It could have proved costly but fortunately we held on to grind out a third straight win.

“I was pleased with the first half and how we set about them,” said Andy Leese. “No matter who you play, the opposition are always going to have a spell. I’m not pointing the finger at Mo but the second penalty could have been a lifesaver and would have put the game to bed.”

“There are no easy games in this league. Nearly everyone has got something to play for.The conditions meant it wasn’t going to be a pretty game – we’ll take the points and move on to Tuesday against Leatherhead.”

Town

McDonald; Chappell, Bray, Gyebi, Kirwan; Youngs, Thomas, Maja, Taaffe (Sayoud, 71); Faal (Kiangebeni 89), Cunnington

(end)

Pre-Game Walk

Enfield Town FC have joined forces with Tottenham Hotspur for a walk/talk/exercise around Enfield Playing Fields before this Saturday’s home game and again on April 23 – our final league game of the season.

Meet outside the QE11 gates at 12.30pm.

For further details, contact  ianchrisham@hotmail.com  or  tel  07949071587

COLLECTING FOR UKRAINE

We will be collecting to help the people of Ukraine this Saturday and every remaining home league game of the season.


Items needed include the following: Tinned/Dried Food, First Aid kits, Blankets, sleeping bags.

Any other items you can assist with are listed below.

Collection point will be underneath the stairs leading to Butlers Bar.



binoculars

metal cups

backpacks

raincoats

socks

thermal underwear

painkillers

bandages

antiseptics

Used smartphones with internet access

Enfield Town FC Proudly stands with the people of Ukraine during these difficult times.

Double Over The Urchins

Hornchurch 1 Enfield Town 2

Report from Andrew Warshaw

Forget about the few chances to either side. Forget about lack of entertainment value.

Make no mistake, this was a potentially landmark victory against a side who had gone 16 games without defeat – including 13 wins – and was reward for an all-round team performance which, without getting carried away, represents a huge confidence boost going into our final eight league games.

The fact that our top-five rivals hadn’t lost since November – against us, no less, in the corresponding fixture – says everything about the result in what was a tight, often physical game which, for long periods, we managed to slow down and control at our own pace.

Wearing our yellow and blue strip, which seemed somewhat appropriate given events unfolding in Ukraine, we were without the unavailable Lyle Della-Verde but were otherwise close to full strength with Manny Maja especially eye-catching in midfield with a series of timely interceptions.

After a cautious opening by both sides we took the lead with one of the strangest goals you will ever see.

Lee Chappell decided to go short with a throw-in and Maja’s 40-yard floated cross totally deceived former Towner Joe Wright, who for some reason declined to wear a cap despite having the sun in his eyes and didn’t even move.  He apparently didn’t even see it.

Lewis Taaffe needed lengthy treatment after a strong challenge from Tom Wraight who then did the same to Sam Youngs without being booked.

As halftime approached, Wraight curled an effort wide but the hosts, last season’s FA Trophy winners,  had hardly had a first-half shot on target.

H-T 0-1

The Urchins were almost back in it straight after the break as Charlie Ruff brought a superb save from Nathan McDonald and headed the resultant corner over.

Ryan Kirwin and Mo Faal were the next two victims of rough play with no action taken by the referee and right on the hour Hornchurch broke through to equalise.  Micky Parcell, another former Towner, was given too much space on the right-hand side and his cross was headed home by Wraight.

Despite the disappointment there was no sense of panic as we continued to execute our game plan. Taaffe almost squeezed the ball home at the near post and on 66 minutes we restored our lead as Adam Cunnington (pictured) headed a Taaffe corner low and hard into the corner through a ruck of players.

This time, there was no Hornchurch comeback as we held firm at the back and cleared our lines at every opportunity. The only downside was a straight red card in stoppage time for substitute Jack Cass who had come off the bench to replace Mo and now misses three crucial fixtures.

Whilst Jake’s challenge on Parcell was late, the Hornchurch defender was ever so quickly up his feet and given what had gone before to our own players, the referee’s decision seemed questionable to say the least.

However, onwards and upwards. Eight games to go and the playoffs loom ever closer.

“A proper team performance against a strong Hornchurch team” was how Andy Leese summed up matters. “We had a plan which the players executed. We had to defend under pressure late the game  but we do that better with Manny back in the team. The result keeps us in the mix but that’s all it does at this stage.”

Town

McDonald; Chappell, Bray, Gyebi, Kirwan; Youngs, Maja, Thomas, Taaffe (Kiangebeni, 84); Faal (Cass, 75) , Cunnington

Can we tame the Urchins?

The anticipation is mounting. There is only one place to be at 3pm tomorrow and that’s at Hornchurch for a mouth-watering six-pointer in the race to make the playoffs.

Since we beat last season’s surprise FA Trophy winners back in November, they have not lost in the league and are arguably the form team of the division.

Most recently the Urchins – featuring a good number of former Towners — came from behind to win 2-1 at Potters Bar on Tuesday with goals from Tom Wraight and Liam Nash.

Nothing will be decided of course  tomorrow but who knows, this could well be a rehearsal for a play-off clash at the end of the season.

Town expect to be close to full strength against opponents who are level on points with us with a game in hand and, on paper at least, represent the toughest challenge of our remaining nine games of the regular season.

Ticket information and directions to the ground can be found here

Town Back With A Bang

Enfield Town 3 East Thurrock 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

That’s more like it! After three straight defeats, Enfield Town rekindled their play-off hopes by sweeping aside relegation-threatened East Thurrock on Saturday to move into fourth spot.

The visitors have radically changed management and playing staff since being dealt an 8-0 drubbing in the corresponding fixture back in October but were still largely second best.

Manny Maja was restored to our starting line-up after a lengthy injury layoff while Percy Kiangebeni was suspended.

On a day when girls and ladies were let in for free to mark International Women’s Day, boosting the attendance to almost 500, we were on the scoresheet after just six minutes with a textbook goal straight from the training ground.

Lee Chappell’s long throw was flicked on by Adam Cunnington and Sam Youngs buried the loose ball.

A strong wind and muddy pitch rendered conditions far from ideal but Town, playing a flat back four, were hardly troubled in a dominant first half.

Lyle Della Verde was particularly eye-catching with several inswinging corners but it was from open play that he almost created a second goal as he sent Mo Faal away down the left, only for Mo to miss the target by whisker. Two minutes later we went close again as the Thurrock keeper just managed to prevent the ball trickling over the line.

In their only threat of the opening half, Johnny Ashman failed to take advantage of Jerry Gyebi’s weak back-header but on 31 minutes we extended our lead as  Cunnington, showing commendable persistence, wrested possession from the opposition and squared for Mo to finish with precision (pictured).

Gyebi almost made it 3-0 with a bullet header from another Chappell throw and the only blemish of the first half was a booking for otherwise excellent Sam Youngs for kicking the ball away.

H-T 2-0

The Towners could have been out of sight by halftime but the Rocks re-emerged with a far more positive mindset and decided to have a go, Martins Dantas-Carvalhi particularly prominent as he twice weaved his way dangerously into our box.

With the visitors pushing forward, Nathan McDonald was finally called into action with a couple of decent saves while Gyebi was cautioned for a late challenge.

Nevertheless, the better chances still went our way as Thurrock had precious little end product.  Scott Thomas drove wide, Sam Youngs brought a flying save from  Arthur Janata and with the next goal always likely to prove crucial, we wrapped the game up on 69 minutes.

Cunnington was fouled 25 yards out and, not for the first time this season, Della-Verde’s sublime left-foot strike flew into the net.

There was still time, in a 4 v 2 Town counter-attack, to make it even more comfortable, only for Mo’s final shot to be smothered by the keeper.

“A much better day at the office” is how Andy Leese summed up proceedings ahead the all-important showdown at Hornchurch next Saturday.

“Getting the points was all that mattered and we did that without being troubled too much. We gave East Thurrock a couple of opportunities but dealt with what they had to offer.

“We have more games like this to come in the next six weeks. We need to focus on ourselves and on getting as many points as we can to guarantee a playoff spot. That was our objective at the start of the season and it hasn’t changed.”

Town

McDonald; Chappell, Bray, Gyebi, Kirwan; Thomas, Youngs, Maja (sayoud, 78), Della Verde (Taaffe, 73); Cunnington (Cass, 69), Faal

Free For Female Fans

A must-win game lies ahead for The Towners against East Thurrock tomorrow afternoon following setbacks in our last three games and all our female fans will have free entry.

The gesture is being made to mark International Women’s Day which officially falls on March 8.

We look forward to welcoming as many regular and/or first-time visiting women and girls to our Borough’s iconic Queen Elizabeth II Stadium.

Kickoff is at the usual time of 3pm and weather permitting there will be a display by Empire Cheerleading Academy beforehand and again at halftime while representatives of our women’s and girls teams will be assisting with a number of match-day tasks.

East Thurrock are in a desperate battle to avoid relegation and are currently 21st in the table seven points from safety.

Back in October we won 8-0 at Rookery Hill , with four goals from Muhammadu Faal, two from Lyle Della-Verde, and one each from Adam Cunnington, and Nathan Smith.

However, this will be no formality. Last Saturday East Thurrock beat Carshalton Athletic 1-0 and on Tuesday caused Folkestone a few problems before going down 1-3.

Last Chance For Cinellis

One of the UK’s most electrifying and dynamic blues bands, who wowed the audience at last year’s Livestock festival at Forty Hall farm, are back in Enfield – at our own Butler’s Bar this Friday March 4, with all proceeds going to the club.

Tickets for the Cinelli Brothers, who recently sold out the legendary 100 Club in central London with their unique infectious style of blues and rhythm and blues, are selling like hot cakes so get in quick.

This is a veritable coup as well as an extraordinary gesture by the four-piece band formed by Italian brothers Marco and Alessandro Cinelli who have already performed once at our club but have since developed a fanatical nationwide fan base.

The band have released several albums – tasty originals as well as finely crafted covers — and have been nominated for a number of awards.

Doors open at 7.30 and tickets, priced £10, can be purchased in advance by contacting Christine Hamilton on ianchrisham@hotmail.com.  Please state how many you would like.

Tickets may still be obtainable on the night but only pending availability.

Worthing Too Strong

Worthing 3 Enfield Town 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and admit you were beaten by the better side.

So it was on Saturday when, despite a formation designed to match our high-flying opponents, we were well beaten by the runaway league leaders on the south coast.

A healthy Town following in a bumper crowd of over 1,500 did their best to spur the team on but in truth we were never really in the game.

Yet despite having now lost three in a row and played more games than most of our playoff rivals, we are still very much in the hunt for a top-5 spot, with many of the other contenders having to play each other before the end of the season.

Basically nothing is settled as of now but we do need to bounce back next Saturday against East Thurrock, who are fighting to stay up,  to regain momentum before the mother of all six-pointers against Hornchurch the following weekend.

Worthing flew out of the blocks and caught us napping after just eight minutes when a quick throw found man-of—the-match Davide Rodari and his volleyed cross was headed home by Jasper Pattenden.

The game was billed as a clash between the league’s two top scorers, Oliver Pearce and our own Mo Faal with 60 goals between them.

But both had a quiet afternoon by their own high standards and instead it was Rodari, on loan from Crawley, who stole the show.

Jake Cass had our best chance of the opening half when he skimmed the top of the bar from 30 yards.

But Worthing always looked the more threatening side and had two more golden chances to extend their lead, one of which was cut out by a last-ditch Rian Bray interception.

H-T 0-1

Although we re-emerged with more urgency, we continued to struggle to deal with Worthing’s pass-and-move style in contrast to our more direct approach and on 54 minutes we fell further behind.

A quick break down our right ended with Rodari arriving at the back post to rifle the ball home from James Beresford’s pinpoint  cross.

And it was Rodari again who finished off the scoring with the goal of the game, a side-foot finish off the post on 65 minutes.

A hugely disappointing afternoon in the sunshine was complete when Percy Kiangebeni, who had already been booked, was shown what appeared to be a straight red for a body challenge on the edge of the box. Because it was not deemed as violent conduct, Percy is expected to only miss one game.

All in all not many positives to take away but let’s not get too downhearted.

 There will still be several twists and turns and victory against East Thurrock, when girls and ladies will have free entry to celebrate International women’s day, will keep us very much in the mix.

Town

McDonald; Bray, Chappell, Smith; Sayoud (della Verde 69), Thomas, Youngs, Kiangebeni; Faal, Cass (Taaffe, 74), Cunnington (Kirwan 82)

Worthing Here We Come

Following the postponement of our home game with Leatherhead last Saturday, the action returns tomorrow with our eagerly awaited trip to Worthing who are expecting a huge gate for what promises to be a mouth-watering occasion between two free-scoring sides.

Having drawn 2-2 in the corresponding fixture back in October when goals from Percy Kiangebeni and Muhammadu Faal cancelled out strikes from Jasper Pattenden and Reece Myles Meekums.  we are hoping for another positive result against the league leaders in what should be a cracking atmosphere in front of possibly close to 2,000 fans – including a healthy Town travelling support

A much-changed Worthing team made up primarily of youth-team players crashed out of the Velocity Trophy to Haywards Heath in midweek but in the league they have only slipped up twice at home all season and in their last two home games scored 10 goals without reply.

The fixture is  likely to feature the league’s top two goalscorers with Worthing’s Oliver Pearce on 31 up against Mo who has 29.

Match tickets are still  available on line at https://worthingfc.ktckts.com/event/wor2122h17/worthing-fc-vs-enfield-fc

You can also book your coach ticket now.  Payments can be made directly to our Bank account.

The details are:

Barclays Bank

ETFC Ltd

Sort Code: 20-45-45

Account Number: 43222942

Departure Point: QE II Stadium, Donkey Lane, Enfield, Middx

Departure Time: Leave 10.30.p.m. PROMPT

Cost: £16.00.

Please confirm your booking by contacting Les Gold on 07979 727563 or lesgold@enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk

COYT!

Leatherhead Date

We now have a revised date for our home league game against Leatherhead which had to be postponed last Saturday.

The match will take place on Tuesday, March 22 at 7.45 pm

Game Off

Today’s game with Leatherhead has been called off because of the weather.

The pitch was playable in the morning but the match had to be postponed following severe rain when conditions worsened badly. A new date will be announced as soon as possible.

Town Badly Beaten As Playoff Race Intensifies

Wingate and Finchley 4 Enfield Town 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Not even a temporary floodlight failure could save Enfield Town’s blushes as we slumped to a 4-1 defeat at local rivals Wingate and Finchley on Tuesday, marking our first back-to-back reversal of the season.

There were few positives to take from a night where we made a couple of defensive changes from Saturday’s loss to Bishop’s Stortford but were still very much second best against opponents who were clearly fired up for the occasion managed by former Town skipper Marc Weatherstone.

It was a game in which everything Wingate tried came off whilst our efforts were either well saved or narrowly off target.

But that doesn’t excuse a performance that will have infuriated the management team and only adds to the desperate need to get back to winning ways against Leatherhead on Saturday to rekindle our playoff hopes, with most of the other contenders now heaping on the pressure.

Almost before we could settle we were a goal down as Theo Ofori’s half-hit shot appeared to have either been deflected in off Lee Chappell or deceived Nathan McDonald.

On 20 minutes it got worse as Chappell was dispossessed near the corner and Dylan Kearney’s cross was turned in by man of the match Antonis Vasiliou – on loan from Barnet just to add salt the wounds.

Sam Youngs and Mo Faal both went close to halving the deficit  while Jack Cass was thwarted when one on one with Ben Goode in the Wingate goal. Then  Mo ran half the length of the pitch and set up Cass who narrowly failed to hit the target.

But W and F always posed a threat and just before the break, we fell further behind to a wonder strike as Vasiliou gave McDonald no chance from 30 yards.

There was still time for the hosts to come close to a fourth as McDonald saved superbly, again from Vasiliou, before a floodlight failure brought a temporary halt to proceedings.

H-T 0-3

When the lights came back on, Town needed to brighten up their ideas and they did so as Rian Bray moved up from the back to rifle the ball home from close range (pictured).

Bray put another snapshot just wide in a sustained period of Town pressure as we were finally in the ascendancy.

But the pivotal moment came on 66 minutes.  Mo won a penalty, only to see his spotkick saved by Goode and watch the follow-up go wide. Perhaps, bemoaned many Towners fans afterwards, it is time that penalty honours were switched to Cass who, after all, used to take them for Bishop’s Stortford.

A double substitution following a halftime change of formation briefly looked promising but on 78 minutes it was game over. McDonald parried but couldn’t hold a rasping freekick and as our defence hesitated, Kearney was first to the rebound.

Worryingly we looked poor throughout when we didn’t have the ball whilst some of the players appeared leggy and Andy Leese didn’t mince his words.

“It was the most shambolic performance of the season…we got what we deserved,” fumed Andy.

“I think we turned up with a misplaced confidence as a team thinking we can win and somehow we need to find a fighting spirit and resilience that has gone missing.”

Town: McDonald; Chappell (Taafe, 69), Gyebi, Bray, Smith; Youngs, Thomas (Della-Verde 68), Kiangebeni, Sayoud (Muleba, 46); Cass, Faal

Stortford End Towners’ Run

Enfield Town 0 Bishop’s Stortford 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town’s seven-match unbeaten run was halted in its tracks as equally in-form Bishop’s Stortford completed a rare league double over us on Saturday.

For once we failed to live up to our reputation as the division’s great entertainers but we are still in a fantastic position in the runners-up spot as the race for playoff places intensifies.

Rian Bray and Lee Chappell were both unavailable for different reasons while Manny Maja has only just resumed training after a lengthy injury absence.

No team can win every game and this was simply an off-day, something that all our play-off rivals have suffered over the last few weeks as we claimed victory after victory.

If our visitors were slightly fortunate to win the corresponding game with that last-ditch goal back in November, on this occasion they on balance deserved the three points.

Stortford were quicker to the ball and more composed than Town and managed to keep our strike force quiet for most of the game.

After a scrappy first 20 minutes  in front of a bumper 754 crowd, the Blues took the lead on 23 minutes as Ryan Charles ran on to Frankie Merrifield’s defence-splitting pass to beat Nathan McDonald who got a hand to the shot but couldn’t keep it out.

Town have been scoring goals for fun but on this occasion hardly troubled a defence marshalled superbly by skipper Ryan Henshaw.

H-T 0-1

 Three minutes after the break, our visitors doubled their lead as Merrifield converted from the penalty spot, sending McDonald the wrong way after Charles was barged over by John Muleba.

Lyle Della-Verde and Sam Youngs both had chances to reduce the deficit but it wasn’t until Adam Cunnington and Bilal Sayoud came off the bench that we posed any real threat.

Whilst no-one can take anything away from  Stortford, who closed us down at every opportunity, the fact remains that the players and management team have a superb job getting us to where we are now, something all of us would have taken at the start of the season.

It’s just a shame Jake Cass didn’t get a chance to shine against his old team and that we again dropped points against one of our play-off rivals who look certain to be in the mix with us come the run-in.

On the plus side, which cannot be emphasized enough, we have two highly winnable games – against Wingate and Finchley on Tuesday and Leatherhead on Saturday – before the eagerly awaited clash at Worthing.

Andy Leese summed up our performance as “bitterly disappointing. We never really got going and seemed a bit too anxious.”

“We didn’t start well. The things we’d asked to do  we weren’t doing. I thought at halftime we were in it. I thought we could go with two strikers and then we concede a penalty at a poor time. More disappointingly after that, we didn’t really create a lot. But credit to Stortford, they are good at what they do.”

Town:

McDonald; Muleba, Smith, Gyebi, Kirwan (Sayoud, 69); Thomas, youngs, Kiangebeni (Taafe, 77), Della-Verde; Cass (Cunnington 66), Faal

Showdown with Stortford

Tomorrow, Saturday, we entertain third-placed Bishop’s Stortford in another proverbial six-pointer given even greater spice by Jake Cass, if selected, playing against his former club.

After four straight league wins, we are anticipating a bumper attendance as we try and gain revenge for Stortford’s last-gasp victory in the corresponding fixture in November when Jake, ironically, gave them the lead from the penalty spot.

Town have taken an impressive 16 points from our last six games (five wins and a draw) while Stortford have lost only one of their last 25 and most recently won convincingly 3-0 at Potters Bar on Tuesday, making Saturday’s eagerly awaited clash all the more mouth-watering.

Andre Coker remains suspended pending the referee’s report after his sending off against Kingstonian.

Since we are expecting one our biggest crowds of the season we suggest you arrive a little earlier than usual to ensure everyone is in the ground by kick off.

COYT

Six Wins in Seven for Town

Bowers & Pitsea 1-4 Enfield Town

Report by Martin Bentley

Another thoroughly professional performance saw Enfield Town bank another three points with a comfortable 4-1 win over Bowers & Pitsea at the Len Salmon Stadium. With Bishop’s Stortford, Folkestone and Hornchurch all dropping points, this was another very good day to be a Town supporter.

An unchanged Town line-up got off to the perfect start when they were awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal after 6 minutes. Lyle Della-Verde stepped up to curl a delicious free kick past home keeper Mitchell Beeney and into the bottom corner, and Town were up and running. Jake Cass narrowly cleared Beeney’s crossbar a minute later as Town threatened to overrun their hosts.

Bowers came into the game more as the half wore on, with wingers Quentin Monville and Norman Wabo causing a few uncomfortable moments, although their only clear sight of goal came on 28 minutes when Wabo’s shot was well saved by Nathan McDonald.

Town were always looking dangerous though, and doubled their lead on 36 minutes. Mo Faal gathered up a loose ball on the left wing, and proceeded to tie home full-back Alex Bentley in knots before crossing low onto the boot of the grateful Jerry Gyebi.

Seven minutes later it was 3-0 and game over, Sam Youngs unleashing a proverbial tank shell from 25 yards into Beeney’s top right corner. Wonderful stuff.

For a long time, the second half was routine. Home substitute Mitch Gilbey tested McDonald a couple of times, and Wabo succeeded in pulling a goal back after 58 minutes with a neat glancing header from a James White free kick out on the left. Town were always going to have the last word in this one though and, after Youngs had headed against the post, and Cass had an effort deflected narrowly over, it was Town’s hard-working centre forward who added a fourth goal in stoppage time after being set up by Percy Kiangebeni.

__________

Town line-up: McDonald; Chappell (Muleba 86), Smith, Gyebi, Bray; Thomas, Kiangebeni, Youngs; Della Verde (Sayoud 78), Faal (Taaffe 88), Cass.

Unused subs: McLeod, Kirwan

Town’s Cup Defence Ends Early

Enfield Town 3-3 Barking (Barking won 4-3 on penalties)

Report by Martin Bentley

Enfield Town’s defence of the Velocity Trophy lasted just 90 minutes, as they were edged out in a penalty shoot-out after yet another lively encounter at the QEII.

As expected, Andy Leese rang the changes, with only Sam Youngs, Jerry Gyebi, Percy Kiangebeni, Jake Cass and Lyle Della-Verde retaining their places from Saturday’s win over Margate. There were debuts for Kraig McLeod, Alex Solomon and youngster Emmanual Adebiyi, as well as a second debut for the returning Bilal Sayoud.

Any thoughts of a comfortable win for the Town were dispelled in the 10th minute, when the visitors’ Freddie Parker slammed a shot against the foot of Adi Connolly’s post. Throughout the first half, Barking played swift, incisive football, aided, it must be said, by some very poor Town passing and decidedly benevolent defending. By the end of the half, the visitors had opened up a 3-1 lead, courtesy of two goals from the dangerous Parker and one from his strike partner Charlie Heatley. Town’s sole reply came from the lively Sayoud, who accelerated on to Della-Verde’s pass to beat Barking keeper James Shaw with a thumping finish on 39 minutes.

The second half saw a spirited Town rally. Barking, rather strangely, substituted both centre halves at half time, and the game turned in Town’s favour. Jake Cass galloped onto Kiangebeni’s through ball to reduce the deficit on 56 minutes, and, 11 minutes later they were level; a corner was cleared to Sayoud on the edge of the box, and he belted a powerful shot through a crowd of players into the bottom corner. The winning goal just wouldn’t come however, despite a fusillade of Lee Chappell long throws, which were dealt with by the visitors’ second string defence comfortably. With Barking also creating a couple of hairy moments for Town at the other end, the game reached a thoroughly entertaining conclusion.

Apart from the penalty shoot-out that is. Town did not have many proven penalty takers on the field by then, but the loss was still disappointing. For the record, Cass, Sayoud and Solomon all scored their kicks, with Chappell and Matt Walsh having theirs saved. Connolly produced one excellent save from Louis Dillon’s kick, while keeper Shaw’s kick flew over the bar to take the shoot-out to sudden death. Unfortunately, Adebiyi, who had been excellent as a second half substitute, skied his kick to give the victory to Barking.

Nothing to get too concerned about here though. Back to the more important matter of league points on Saturday.

______________

Town line-up: Connolly, Muleba (Chappell 66), Kirwan, Youngs (Solomon 79), Gyebi, McLeod, Kiangebeni (Adebiyi 55), Taaffe (Walsh 79), Cass, Sayoud, Della Verde (Nichols 66)

Bilal is back

We are very pleased to announce the signing of Bilal Sayoud, who has returned for a second spell in a Town shirt.

Forward Bilal began his career through the Nike Academy before moving on to Coventry City. Since then, he spent time with us at Enfield Town, as well as Hendon and Met Police before joining Wingate & Finchley in December 2019. He swapped Wingate for Potters Bar in December 2021, and has now re-joined Town for the final push to the end of the season.

Manager Andy Leese added: “We have moved to bring Bilal back to the club. We have one or two issues in the squad looming next month and signing Bilal again will help us.

He’s matured since he was here last, both his physicality and his all round game. He’s added goals to his game as well and is more versatile as he showed when he played against us this season.

I’m sure you’ll welcome him back as he’s goes in to the squad tomorrow night.”

Muhammadu Faal scores his second goal to make it 3-0

Impressive Town Thump Margate

Enfield Town 4-0 Margate

Report by Martin Bentley

Enfield Town moved to within two points of leaders Worthing after an almost complete performance saw them beat play-off contenders Margate by four clear goals. With Worthing, Lewes and Bishops Stortford all dropping points, this was almost a perfect afternoon for the Town, with the majority of the 625 crowd thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Town recalled Jerry Gyebi to the back line with Nathan Smith moving to left back. New signings Kraig Noel-McLeod and Alex Solomon were both on the subs’ bench.

The game was played in a stiff end-to-end breeze, with both teams attempting to make use of it with a plentiful supply of crosses. Lyle Della-Verde’s dead ball kicks and Lee Chappell’s long throw-ins were causing visiting keeper Billy Johnson no end of problems, while the visitors’ Ben Greenhalgh was firing the ball in from all angles at the other end, but with limited end product. It was from a Chappell throw that Town struck the first blow on 37 minutes, Mo Faal smashing in a loose ball from a flick-on.

After the break, Town doubled their lead after Margate goalie Billy Johnson missed his kick on the edge of the box, leaving Jake Cass to finish into the empty net. After that, the home side took over completely. Sam Youngs’ long-range header ended up on the roof of the net, and Johnson somehow juggled a corner against his own post, before saving Youngs’ follow-up. After 65 minutes, Town made the game safe when Cass flicked on Nathan McDonald’s long kick into the path of Faal, who finished expertly to Johnson’s left.

Faal then hit the crossbar after 79 minutes, Adam Cunnington’s follow-up effort being cleared off the line. Town’s top scorer then completed his hat-trick in injury time with a well-taken penalty following a trip on Della Verde. The celebrations were long and raucous at the final whistle. Just how far can this Town team go?

___________

Town line-up: McDonald; Chappell, Smith, Gyebi, Bray; Thomas, Kiangebeni (Taaffe 80), Youngs; (Cunnington 74), Della-Verde, Faal, Cass

Unused subs: Noel-McLeod, Solomon, Muleba

Two New Signings

Before Saturday’s Pitching In Isthmian Premier Division match with Margate, we are happy to confirm the signings of two new players. Defenders Kraig Noel-McLeod and Alex Solomon have joined and are available for selection.

Grenada international Kraig has played with Brightlingsea Regent and Clacton so far this season, and spent time with QPR and Norwich City in his early career. Alex has been called up by Cyprus Under-17s, and was on the books at Leyton Orient for the past two years.

Manager Andy Leese said: “Both lads have been training with us for a while. Alex has been released at Leyton Orient and can play a number of positions but primarily is a defender. Kraig is a centre-half or left-back and has a good pedigree. We need some depth to the squad at moment and both lads give us quality options.”

Town March On

Enfield Town 2 Carshalton Athletic 1

Report by Martin Bentley

Two goals either side of half time saw Enfield Town bag a hard-earned victory over a hard-working Carshalton side who looked the better side for much of the first half. The win saw Town hang on to second place in the league on a night where Worthing, Lewes and Bishops Stortford all recorded wins to leave the top of the table looking largely unchanged.

The Town fielded an unchanged line-up from Saturday’s spectacular win over Kingstonian, but this was to turn out to be a vastly different sort of game. In fact, the opening half hour was a case of dustcart following Lord Mayor’s show, as Town struggled to put together any constructive moves, with a Sam Youngs header that was well saved by Brad House in the visitors’ goal being their only effort of note. Carshalton were buzzing purposefully around Nathan McDonald’s penalty area, and got their noses in front after 22 minutes, when a fortuitous rebound landed at the feet of winger Lewis White, who beat McDonald with a low shot to his right.

Slowly but surely, Town clawed their way back into the game. Both Jake Cass and Sam Youngs fired decent efforts over the bar before the equaliser arrived three minutes before half time, Nathan Smith bringing a bout of penalty area pinball to a satisfactory conclusion by striking a crisp half-volley into the net via House’s left-hand post.

After just two minutes of the second half, however, Town found themselves in front courtesy of the ever-reliable Mo Faal. His effort from the edge of the box was hardly hit with anything resembling venom, yet the ball somehow sneaked into the bottom corner, with House appearing to misjudge the direction of the shot. Five minutes later Faal beat House to a long through ball, only for his shot to be cleared off the line by Bradley Williams. Lyle Della-Verde picked up the loose ball and pinged a low cross back across the goal just out of the reach of Cass’ despairing lunge. Della-Verde and Cass both saw shots fly over as Town maintained the pressure, but the decisive third goal wouldn’t come.

The visitors’ late rally came to very little as Town defended well, and Faal even managed three further efforts in stoppage time, one just wide of the post, one well saved by House and one over the bar. This was a game in stark contrast to the win over Kingstonian, but Andy Leese’s side showed a pleasing resilience to bank three points in tougher circumstances.

“We could’ve taken the pressure off and made life a little bit easier for ourselves, but I thought we were the better side in the second half”, the manager noted.

“I think we’re showing that consistency. I’m absolutely delighted with us, nearly at the end of a really long month, to dig that out tonight was absolutely tremendous.”

______

Town line-up: McDonald; Chappell, Kirwan, Smith, Bray; Thomas, Kiangebeni (Taaffe 83), Youngs; Della-Verde (Cunnington 71), Faal, Cass

Unused subs: Gyebi, Coker, Connolly

AGM Summary

A healthy 80-plus members attended last Thursday’s AGM on zoom at which a number of pressing issues were discussed, writes Andrew Warshaw

The Board reported to members how we had to run a mothball budget during the curtailed seasons whilst at the same time having to deal with losing players to National League clubs. Conversely we were protected by a number of grants that arrived from the Football Foundation and other sources.

Turning to this season, chairman Paul Reed admitted that pre-season results didn’t augur well but said there were mitigating circumstances, not least considerable uncertainty in trying to get players signed up.

The mood has rapidly improved during what has been our best ever start to a league campaign, with home attendances up by an average of 70 and the club rarely out the playoff places. The addition of Ian Hart and Tommy Fester to the management team has proved a huge benefit while the gesture of free tickets to NHS workers has been extremely well received.

Decent Cup runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy allowed some prize money to be re-invested in the playing staff while shirt sales, both nationally and globally, have contributed to a healthy financial situation. In fact we have recorded probably our strongest operation profit to date.

Tribute was paid by Paul to Future’s sponsorship of the youth section while the publicity generated by the NXT UK sponsorship deal now stretches to over 250 news outlets in 40 countries, all great exposure for the club.

Other positives include the growth of the academy, notably Adi Connolly breaking into the first team, our floodlights being upgraded and increased engagement on social media.

What happens next depends largely on where we are at the end of the season but Paul Millington made a detailed presentation on a number of possible options for ground development should we gain promotion, with further talks planned on the most efficient way forward in terms of how to add 100 extra seats in one stand that can  accommodate 250 fans, as well as turnstile additions.

In terms of community shares, the board intend to pay its first interest payment at 2 percent over base rate.

Inevitably several questions related to the future of Mo Faal and Paul Reed conceded that Mo would almost certainly review his options at the end of the season since understandably he still has ambitions to play at a higher level.

Paul revealed that despite pushing and pushing in terms of trying to tie Mo down for longer, he perfectly reasonably only wanted to commit for this season even though he was offered a longer-term contract.

Andy Leese took a break from training to answer members’ questions and revealed how a number of other clubs in our division and even higher had tried to sign Jake Cass. Their loss is our gain!

Andy said preparations for matches was the best he had ever known his time at the club and made a point of thanking supporters for the noise generated both home and away.

A full video recording of the AGM will be available shortly.

Town rampant in latest goal fest

Kingstonian 3 Enfield Town 5

Report by Martin Bentley

Another end-to-end thriller, eight more goals, and, most importantly, three more points. It’s certainly never dull for Towners fans.

With Worthing and Lewes both dropping points unexpectedly, Saturday’s latest win against dangerous opponents saw the Town consolidate their position in second place, now just four points behind leaders Worthing.

Having rested several players in the 3-1 midweek win over Bowers, Andy Leese reverted to something close to his first-choice side and formation for this crucial six-pointer, with Ryan Kirwan, Percy Kiangebeni and Lyle Della Verde recalled to the starting line-up. Lee Chappell also returned at right back after a three-game absence.

Kingstonian were the first to settle, spreading the play across the midfield and putting in several dangerous crosses.

Town, however, opened the scoring after 18 minutes.  Mo Faal won the ball on the left and played in Percy Kiangebeni, whose low cross was smashed gleefully into the roof of keeper Rob Tolfrey’s net by Jake Cass.

The Ks hit back rapidly, and Daniel Ajakaiye had already lobbed narrowly over Nathan McDonald’s crossbar before they found an equaliser on 22 minutes, Fabio Saraiva netting from the edge of the box after a well-worked move.

There was no time to breathe however. Four minutes later, Mo found himself in behind the Ks’ backline, and, with appeals for offside going unheard, beat Tolfrey with ease.

 The next goal was always going to be crucial and Mo was once again on hand to provide it. The outstanding Cass (what a signing!), who had already drawn a decent save from the Ks’ keeper, again burst through the home defence before presenting Mo with another chance, which our top scorer gobbled up gratefully.

Things then calmed down a little for the remainder of the half, with only a speculative long-ranger from Rian Bray to inconvenience Tolfrey.

H-T 1-3

Any thoughts of consolidating the lead in the second half, however, disappeared rapidly out of the window.

 A mere 22 seconds had passed when Lyle Della Verde shot over from the edge of the box, and within another minute it was 4-1. Sam Youngs’ neat through ball sent Cass (pictured) galloping into the box for another emphatic finish.

Cass almost completed a hat-trick on 54 minutes, but Faal’s low cross from the left was diverted out of his reach by a desperate lunge from Simon Cooper.

But the scoring didn’t end there, far from it, as Della Verde netted with a glorious left-footer from 20 yards as we romped into a scarcely believable 5-1 lead.

Although the home side continued to play neat football on both flanks, Town’s defence was not unduly stretched – until Kingstonian suddenly reduced the arrears. Not once but twice.

The hard-working Ajakaiye pulled one goal back on 77 minutes, and Saraiva made it 3-5 with one minute of the 90 remaining.

The result was never in doubt however, although Andre Coker managed to get himself sent off for two yellow cards in four minutes, an annoying conclusion to a massively enjoyable away day for Town’s vociferous travelling support.

“What a performance, nothing short of fantastic. To put that score on the board against a top-five team is scarcely believable,” said a jubilant Andy Leese after we reached the landmark target of 50 points.

“In every department we were superb, from one to 11. It’s given us a huge confidence boost and will live long in the memory.”

“The front three were different class and Jake led the line really well. I don’t remember him losing a header. The back four were superb especially during spells of their pressure in the first 15 minutes and a 10-minute spell in the second half. And in midfield, Sam Youngs has been playing well for weeks.”

“My only disappointment is the two late goals we let in because goal difference could prove so important. But overall, fantastic. What finishing and we could even have scored more.”

“These pitches can sap your strength, especially the way we press. Some of them were puffing at the end  so it will good to get a small breather at the end of January.”

Town line-up: McDonald, Chappell, Kirwan, Thomas (Taaffe 74), Smith, Bray, Kiangebeni, Youngs, Cass, Faal, Coker 75), Della Verde (Gyebi 85). Unused subs: Cunnington, Connolly

Unmissable Gig at Butlers Bar

One of the UK’s most electrifying and dynamic blues bands, who wowed the audience at last year’s Livestock festival at Forty Hall farm, are back in Enfield – at our own club, would you believe.

The Cinelli Brothers, who recently sold out the legendary 100 Club in central London with their unique infectious style of blues and rhythm and blues, have agreed to play at Butlers Bar on Friday, March 4, with all proceeds going to the club.

This is a veritable coup as well as an extraordinary gesture by the four-piece band formed by Italian brothers Marco and Alessandro Cinelli who have already performed once at our club but have since developed a fanatical nationwide fan base.

The band have released several albums – tasty originals as well as finely crafted covers — and have been nominated for a number of awards.

The show begins at 8pm and tickets, priced £10, can be purchased in advance by contacting Christine Hamilton on ianchrisham@hotmail.com. Please state how many you would like. Tickets will also be available on the door pending availability.

Player Update

We have today released Luke Cook from the club. Luke was seeking more game time and having recently strengthened our attacking options with the addition of Jake Cass, it was not something we could guarantee and we are happy to let him progress his career elsewhere, which we will monitor.

Michael Dome-Bemwin has also made the decision to play higher up the pyramid and we wish him well for the future.

We will continue to invite triallists into training with a view to strengthening our squad, but with Manny Maja now back to full fitness and Lee Chappell returning from honeymoon, we have greater options. John Muleba is nearing fitness, whilst Harold Joseph continues to improve.

Town Up to 2nd

Enfield Town 3 Bowers and Pitsea 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

We may have now caught up and even overtaken some of our rivals in terms of numbers of games but it’s all about points on the board in this gruelling month of fixtures which continues on Saturday with a top-five showdown at Kingstonian.

Hence the importance of Tuesday’s win over a Bowers and Pitsea side who matched us for long periods but fortunately didn’t have our finishing skills.

With such a relentless programme, the management team rung a couple of changes but went with a strong attacking line-up and two wide players and it paid off as we moved up into second spot.

We were almost in front straight from the kick-off when Alexander Bentley was forced to head over his bar under pressure.

The lead came on 16 minutes courtesy of a quick one-two between Mo Faal and Adam Cunnington which Mo finished off with a neat toe-poke.

Shortly afterwards Cunnington squared for  Jake Cass but the ball was just out of reach of our new forward.

Bowers, who reached the first round of this season’s FA Cup before narrowly losing to Lincoln City, missed a glorious chance to equalise when Lewis Manor put a free header wide – and they were soon made to pay.

On 25 minutes, Andre Coker, who started wide on the left, produced a sumptuous freekick from 25 yards into the top corner (pictured) to double our lead to the delight of the 365 crowd.

Bowers, whose pacey winger Quentin Monville gave our defence plenty to think about, had a strong penalty claim turned down before Nathan McDonald was forced into a superb stop after the visitors got in behind us.

Yet how our opponents still had 11 men on the pitch by halftime is a mystery. Jamie Dicks, who had already been booked for an ugly challenge on Sam Youngs, was lucky to survive a second yellow after another bad foul, this time on Mo.

H-T 2-0

It was no surprise when Dicks was taken off at the interval to save him from further punishment but within five minutes of the restart Bowers cut the deficit.

Youngs was dispossessed halfway inside our own half and the dangerous Monville drilled the ball home via a deflection.

The next goal was always going to be crucial and within just two minutes we restored our advantage. Mo shot straight at keeper Michael Beenley who somehow spilled the ball and the quick-thinking Cunnington was first on hand to finish it off.

Beenley then redeemed himself with a fine save from Coker as we went for a fourth and Mo headed wide after Cass stood the ball up at the back post.

But Bowers weren’t finished and three times came within a whisker of again getting back into a highly watchable encounter, only to be thwarted by lack of finishers in the box.

“Another hard-working performance against a well-drilled resilient Bowers team” was how Andy Leese summed it up.

“An even game which we shaded with our finishing. We had to defend deep at times especially in the second half where I felt we got opened up a bit too easily at times.”

“We needed the third goal when it came. Some players earned a rest and it shows how the squad will be needed in the coming weeks. We are back in a great league position which I’m sure we would all have taken at the start of the season.”

Town:

McDonald; Gyebi, Smith, Bray; Taafe (Kirwan 71), Youngs, Thomas (Maja 66), Coker; Cass, Faal (Kiangebeni), Cunnington

AGM This Thursday

The Annual General Meeting of Enfield Town FC Supporters’ Society Limited will be held via Zoom this Thursday 20 January at 7:00 pm.

This is your chance to pose any questions to the board and management and raise any issues you wish so don’t miss out.

The AGM will receive an update from the board on work carried out since the last meeting and plans for the coming year ahead. There will be an opportunity to raise any Enfield Town-related matters.

There will also be a Q & A session with Andy Leese and Mario Noto.

Members will be sent a link to the meeting using the email address they have previously provided.

You must be a member to participate but you can still join via

https://membermojo.co.uk/etfcs/membership

Just a reminder too that we are home to Bowers and Pitsea this evening (Tuesday)  in the latest game of a gruelling January and hope to see as many of you there as possible.

Kingstonian travel

The Club will be running a coach for our next away league fixture at Kingstonian on Saturday 22nd January – 3.00 Kick Off.

Departure Point: QE Stadium, Donkey Lane, Enfield, Middx

Departure Time: Leave 11.30.p.m. PROMPT

Cost: £16.00.

Please Note: We understand that trains on 22/1/22 going to Tolworth are likely to be affected by staffing shortages .

For Bookings please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563

lesgold@enfieldtownfooballclub.co.uk or Leave your details at The Club Shop at the Bowers match on Tuesday.

It is essential that bookings are made through either of these contacts only.

Early reservations are essential to avoid disappointment. Face coverings to be worn on the coach.

Town Draw Rare Blank

Haringey Borough 0 Enfield Town 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

You’d have got pretty good odds, given our recent goal sprees, if you’d correctly predicted that our latest fixture would finish goalless.

But a mixture of solid defending by both sides and a lack of quality in the final third made for an underwhelming if satisfactory afternoon in front of a bumper 796 derby crowd.

Another point on the road and a welcome clean sheet were undoubted positives, plus the fact we actually moved up a place in the league to third despite most of our playoff rivals winning.

Rian Bray cleared off the line early doors for the Town but for the rest of the opening period most of the half-chances came our way with Lyle Della-Verde missing the target by a whisker and both Percy Kiangebeni and Jake Cass having shots saved.

The pace of Mehki Leacock-McCleod was a constant threat for Haringey but this was a day when our defending was arguably the most encouraging part of our game, with young rightback Eli Nichols growing in stature and putting in an assured display.

Right on half-time, Mo Faal shot narrowly across goal as we ended the half in the ascendency.

H-T 0-0

The game’s pivotal moment came 12 minutes after the break. Cass pounced on a bad defensive mistake and was brought down by goalkeeper Lamar Johnson, only for the Boro custodian to turn from villain to hero by palming away Mo’s penalty (pictured).

Cue Haringey’s best spell and we nearly paid the price when Nathan McDonald punched away Ade Cole’s goalbound effort.

Our response was to go with three strikers to try and win the game but for once we left our collective shooting boots at home despite a period of late pressure.

“They defended well especially late in the game and have shown they can hold their own with anyone in the league this season,” said Andy Leese afterwards.

“We dealt with their counter-attacking game really well. Very disappointing obviously with the penalty but it was a decent save. A good week on the road with four points from the six available.”

Next up Bowers and Pitsea on Tuesday when we can go second and put pressure on the others, followed by a mouth-watering clash at Kingstonian next Saturday in what is a gruelling month.

“We have another challenging week ahead when hopefully we can get one or two bodies back,” said Andy. “We just have to keep picking up points and staying in touch.”

Town: McDonald; Nichols, Bray, Smith, Kirwan; Thomas, Youngs, Kiangebeni, Della Verde (Cunnington 70); Faal, Cass

Town edge seven-goal thriller

Horsham 3 Enfield Town 4

By Andrew Warshaw

Another top-turvy goal fest but this time Town emerged victorious, cementing our role as the division’s great entertainers and pushing us up to fourth in the table.

On a drizzly night in West Sussex, we once again wobbled at the back but such is our offensive strength that we ran out deserved winners, helped by some canny tactical moves by the management team.

Ali Nichols, on loan at Colney Heath under dual registration, was handed his first league start of the season at rightback and, after an understandably nervy first few minutes, performed extremely promisingly whilst our new striker Jake Cass (pictured) was thrown straight in alongside Mo Faal – and even got on the scoresheet.

In front of a crowd of 502 – including a vociferous throng of Towners fans who kept up a constant din – it could have started disastrously for us.

But having given away a third-minute penalty, Nathan McDonald redeemed himself with a superb save from Eddie Dsane’s spotkick.

It wasn’t long before the goal spree started. Sam Youngs, who put in an assured and tireless box-to-box shift all evening, opened the scoring after being put through by Mo having already been denied by a reflex save.

But within 60 seconds before we  could celebrate, the lead was wiped out when Lee Harding took advantage of hesitancy on our left side.

McDonald’s finger-tip save from Shamir Fenelon kept us in it, only for Fenelon to put the hosts in front. Back we came through Lyle Della-Verde before the goal of the game seven minutes later.

Mo received the ball near the touch line and carried it 20 yards before unleashing a wonder strike beyond Sam Howes for his 22nd league goal of the season and one of his best.

The only downside of the first half was a nasty looking injury to Harold Joseph who came off worse in a 50-50 challenge and after lengthy treatment had to be substituted.

 Another stoppage saw Nathan Smith, Harold’s replacement, luckily get to his feet after going for the same ball as Charlie Hester-Cook who had to be carried off.

H-T 2-3

Horsham thought they had levelled when the dangerous Fenelon fired into the side netting but parity was restored on 64 minutes when, slightly against the run of play, Dsane wasn’t picked up at the far post from a corner and atoned for his spot-kick failure.

Horsham then had arguably their best spell but as we switched formation, so we went for the winner and duly got it courtesy of Jake’s close-range finish following fantastic link-up play with Mo which can only augur well.

The pair of them were mobbed by the travelling faithful such was the importance of the goal that proved pivotal despite a mighty scare at the other end in the final action of the game.

Andy Leese was naturally delighted with the result, which came after one win in six but somehow seemed especially sweet with no-one else playing on the night.

“We opted to bring Eli back from his spell at Colney Heath and of course Jake making his debut. Both did very well and Jake got his reward for a very hard-working performance,” said Andy.

“Horsham are a well-drilled side and we had to adapt our shape a couple times to counter them.  We do that well and the final change brought about the winning goal. It;s all about picking up points this month however they come.”

“The only downside on the night was the injury to Harold. He’s damaged his ribs and we wait to see the extent. A quick note on the support. A good number of you made the long journey and you lifted the team,  especially in the last part of the game which was appreciated as always.”

Town:

McDonald; Nichols, Gyebi, Joseph (Smith 39), Kirwan; Thomas, Youngs, Kiangebeni (Bray, 74), Della-Verde (Cunnington 75); Faal, Cass.

Jake Joins

We are delighted to announce that we have signed striker Jake Cass in what the management and board believe is terrific piece of business.

Jake has parted company with play-off rivals Bishop’s Stortford after scoring 15 goals this season and is an exciting addition to our forward line.

“We are really pleased to get Jake on board,” said manager Andy Leese. “We feel we need to strengthen the squad right now with the schedule we have, and Jake coming available was too good an opportunity to miss.”

Jake, 28,  was Stortford’s leading scorer this season in his second spell at the club, having joined from Chelmsford last July.

“He’s an experienced player, he knows his way around this level,  wants to win things and as soon as we spoke he wanted to come here,” Andy added.

“I’m sure the fans will love his style and welcome him to the club. We will continue to review the squad this month as we know where we have to improve if we want to maintain and improve our current position.”

Welcome Jake

Horsham Next Up

The games come thick and fast and tomorrow (Tuesday) we travel to Horsham hoping to get back to winning ways.

Horsham are currently 12th in the table with 28 points from 22 games but have playoff aspirations of their own and it promises to be a highly entertaining encounter.


In the FA Cup they reached the First round proper before going out 0-2 at Carlisle United having beaten National League Woking 1-0 at home in the Fourth Qualifying Round.

The ground address is: The Camping World Community Stadium, Worthing Road, Horsham RH13 0AX.

Admission Prices are Adults £11, Over 60s, Under 18s and Students £6, Under 16s £2. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.horshamfc.co.uk or by card or cash at the gate on the day (subject to availability.)

There is very limited parking at the stadium as this is reserved for match and club officials, official guests and the teams. Supporters travelling by road must use (free of charge) Horsham Park & Ride RH13 0AR, which is an easy 300m walk from the ground.

The attached link is from the Horsham FC website


If you wish to travel by club coach, leaving the QEII Stadium at 4PM please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563.

COYT!

Inconsistent Town Cave In

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)

Eight-goal thriller

Cray Wanderers 4 Enfield Town 4

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Where on earth do we start?

Crazy game, both defences at times non-existent but fantastic entertainment – especially for the neutrals.

In the end, we came away with a point on Monday which, on the balance of play, was probably about right.

If you score four goals away from home, you expect to emerge victorious.  Equally, hitting back from 4-2 down could prove crucial come the end of the season and actually pushed us up one place in the table.

Cray have a new manager in Grant Basey, whose tenure began 48 hours earlier with a good away win.

They are a far better side than their lowly league position suggests and they came at us straight from the kickoff when we were caught napping by a well-worked freekick, the ball cleverly switched from right to left and the resulting cross turned in by Chris Dickson.

We had another scare on 19 minutes when Dickson seemed certain to double Cray’s lead, only for his shot to be deflected off Nathan Smith.

Three minutes later, slightly against the run of play, we were level.  Andre Coker, back in the starting line-up and looking sharp against his old club, stooped to convert Lyle Della-Verde’s cross.

This should have settled us down but instead, all our good work was wasted as Cray restored their lead. Dickson’s shot was parried by Adi Connolly, once again standing in for Nathan McDonald, and Jamie Yila supplied the finish.

By now, we were being worryingly stretched with pace though with the ball we looked a constant threat – despite Mo having one of his quieter games.

Sure enough, six minutes before the interval, we were again back on level terms through a superb piece of skill from Della-Verde.

With no other option after receiving the ball, he  swept into the area and finished brilliantly from the tightest of angles, Salah-style!

H-T 2-2

The game continued at a relentless pace with John Muleba replaced by Lewis Taaffe at halftime and Percy Kiangebeni switching to right-back in a tactical move.

It didn’t seem to have the desired effect when dangerman Yila squared the ball across and  Cameron Brodie took advantage of more slack defending to put Cray in front for the third time.

Within moments it should have been 3-3, only for Coker to choose the wrong option by going for glory instead of passing to Mo who was totally unmarked in front of goal.

We were soon made to pay when Cray seemed to have made the game safe, the luckless Ryan Kirwan turning the ball into his own net when trying to clear.

One felt for poor Connolly, who was given precious little protection and could do little about any of Cray’s goals.

It could have been even worse when Cray had a legitimate claim for a penalty waved away after Yila cut inside and looked to have been clipped by Nathan Smith.

Yet for all our defensive deficiencies, without the unavailable Harold Joseph, we showed character in abundance as once again we regrouped.

In what was surely one of his most effective  displays of the season, Taaffe reduced the arrears in the 76th minute when he burst into the area and converted Mo’s cross.

His desire was there for all to see as he picked the ball out of the net and ran back to the centre circle.

And with three minutes of normal time remaining, he became Town’s saviour, pressuring the Cray keeper into a mistake and placing the ball into an empty net (pictured).

In the end a point didn’t serve us too badly as we moved up to fourth with a massive six-pointer to come against Lewes on Saturday.

“It was another frustrating day where our defending let us down,” said Andy Leese. “Early mistakes set the tone and gave the lively Cray forwards line plenty of hope.”

“That said, we showed great character again to battle back for what looks like a good point  in light of other results.

“We shouldn’t be scoring four goals away from home and not winning. We have more work to do to tighten up our shape as a team.”

Town: Enfield Town:  Connolly;  Muleba (Taaffe, 46), Bray, Smith, Kirwan; Thomas (Cunnington, 64),  Kiangebeni (Chappell, 66), Youngs, Della-Verde; Coker,  Faal

Town emphatically back on track

Enfield Town 4 Potters Bar Town 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

The perfect start to 2022. After a wobbly couple of weeks, Town moved back into the playoff positions with a second-half demolition of local rivals Potters Bar in front of a New Year’s Day attendance of 682 — largely courtesy of Mo Faal’s latest hat-trick.

Having taken just a point from our previous three games,  we started hesitantly and teenage reserve keeper Adi Connolly, in for Covid-hit Nathan McDonald, was forced into a superb early save.

Sam Youngs then produced a brilliant clearance off the line from a looping effort by Dwight Pascal as the Scholars, despite having to re-organise because of an enforced change just before kick-off, threatened again.

They were arguably the two best chances of the first half though Percy Kiangenbei  twice went close for the Town and both Mo — needlessly booked for handball — and Lyle Della-Verde also had opportunities.

At the other end, young Connolly was again called into action to save a curling effort by former Towner Bilal Sayoud who also produced a fierce drive  that whistled past the post.

H-T  0-0

Having already been forced into one change in their starting line-up, Bar were unlucky  to also lose key striker Joseph Boachie at the  interval and were blown away in a 15-minute spell at the start of the second period.

With the first move of the half, Mo capitalised on defensive hesitancy and lobbed Cieran Gordon-Stairn to give Town the lead.

Suddenly our confidence flooded back and Della Verde doubled the lead on 49 minutes picking up the ball in the left channel before drilling it home.

Between the two goals visiting manager Lee O’Leary received two yellow cards in quick succession for what appeared to be some choice words to the officials – and played no further part in the proceedings.

Right on the hour we made the game safe as Mo converted from the spot after a clear trip.

Bar now had arguably their best spell of the game as substitute Luke Joyce-Dwarika and Samson Eson both came close to cutting the deficit.

But they couldn’t stop Mo who saved the best till last, latching on to an 89th-minute cross from Andre Coker before committing the keeper, steadying himself and burying his shot in the corner to collect the match ball.

With only a 48-hour break before the next outing at Cray Wanderers on Monday, it was a hugely important three points – made sweeter by Folkestone and Cheshunt both losing.

 Special mention has go to young Connolly who once or twice was charged down by the visiting forwards but kept us in the game at vital moments.

“We were a bit laboured in the first half but we played Lyle just behind the front two after the break and it worked an absolute treat,” said Andy Leese.

“We’ve stuttered in the last couple of games and conceded too many goals so we needed to get momentum back. I’m really pleased for young Adi who had to go in at 48 hours’ notice.”

Town

Connolly; Maluba, Joseph, Smith, Kirwan; Thomas, Youngs, Kiangebeni (Taaffe, 74), Della-Verde (Bray, 84); Cunnington (coker, 74), Faal.

New Year’s Day

What better way to start 2022 than a trip to the QEII Stadium. Tomorrow, Saturday, we start the new year with another local derby, this time against Potters Bar Town, kick off is 3 PM.

Our visitors have had a mixed season and are currently 14th in the table with 24 points. They recently recorded a sensational 5-1 away win at high-flying Lewes but more recently have lost 3-4 at home to Leatherhead and 1-4 at Corinthian Casuals.

For our part we need to get back to winning ways after two defeats and a draw from our last three league games.

Every team has a spell like that during the season, the test is how quickly you can bounce back. There would be no better way to start 2022 than with a home win, but it will not be easy.

Two days later on Jan 3 we make the trip across London to play Cray Wanderers who play their home games at Bromley FC .

The travel information below is from Cray’s website.

There Ain’t No Justice

Cheshunt 2 Enfield Town 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

The old adage that football is a cruel game was rarely more applicable than on Monday when we dominated our local rivals but somehow came away with nothing apart from frustration and disappointment as we slipped out of the play-off places for the first time in weeks.

A huge Town following boosted the derby attendance to a bumper 966 but we left to rue a spate of near-misses as well as a series of bizarre decisions by the officials.

On another day we would have won comfortably but were undone by two pieces of clinical finishing by Cheshunt after taking an early lead.

After a pitch inspection allowed the game to go ahead, both teams started without key players through illness and injury, in our case Manny Maja and Andre Coker. 

But we were in front after 11 minutes. Adam Cunnington, who tirelessly won challenges all afternoon, saw his header from Lee Chappell’s long throw cleared off the line and when Lee recycled the ball back in, Sam Youngs (pictured) headed home.

Six minutes later, however, Cheshunt were level with, to their credit, a well-worked team goal finished off by Mo Camara.

After a brief respite, it wasn’t long before we wrested back control in terms of chances and possession. Lyle Della-Verde’s shot stung the hands of the Cheshunt keeper, Rian Bray missed a golden opportunity from six yards by heading over and not one but two penalty appeals were turned down, one of them a cast-iron spot-kick for a body check.

Just before the interval, Percy Kiangebeni’s strength took him past three players and he was unlucky to see his resultant shot come back off the post.

H-T 0-0

The second half began as the first ended as Della-Verde was thwarted by a last-ditch block and Percy curled a shot narrowly wide.

It wasn’t long before we had the ball in the net again, only for the referee to blow for an infringement.

Cheshunt’s defensive bravery often spilled over into ugly fouls, not least on Mo Faal who found himself a marked man most of the afternoon but still posed a worry for the hosts.

We could, maybe should, have done better with a series of wasted freekicks in dangerous positions but it seemed only a matter of time before the pressure told.

Instead on 75 minutes, just as we feared it might be one of those days, the Ambers stole the points. Their main man, Rowan Liburd, had posed little threat beforehand but good strikers only need one chance and when the ball ran loose to him in a swift counter-attack, he burst forward and buried his shot in the corner.

The goal galvanised Cheshunt whilst leaving us shellshocked and unable to create any worthwhile chances to salvage a draw as we tired visibly after such a strong effort.

Having dropped points now against several of our playoff rivals, it leaves us ideally needing a maximum haul over the New Year period against Potters Bar and Cray.

In conclusion, it has to be said that the conduct of a minority of home fans, notably unnecessary foul and abusive language, was disappointing.

“It was a very frustrating afternoon and a game we wouldn’t have lost but for two bits of pace from their forward,” said manager Andy Leese after seeing Cheshunt leapfrog us in the table.

“We controlled the game, had a decent penalty shout in the first half and created plenty but the game is decided in both boxes and they obviously edged that.”

“I was pleased with how we played after the injury and illness issues we have had. We have to look forward now and get back on track if we want to stay in the race at the top. Not many points are covering a host of teams and they will all have to play each other.

“We now have to regroup and reset ourselves for the second half of the season.  If we achieve what we have in the first half, we will be fine but I want us to improve on that.”

Town:

McDonald; Chappell, Bray, Joseph, Kirwan (Cook 83); Kiangebeni, Youngs, Thomas, Della-Verde (Taafe, 83); Faal, Cunnington

Trio Out On Loan

We have sent three players – Matt Walsh, Ebrima Sawaneh and Eli Nicholls – out on loan to Step 4 Colney Heath on a dual registration basis in order to get game time.

“All of them are still our players and we can recall them any time,” confirmed Andy Leese.

Whilst Matt and Ebrima will be familiar names, Eli’s favoured position is fullback. His last club was Carshalton and he trained with us for number of weeks.

Graham Dodd, our head of football operations (pictured), further explained: “We felt it would be better for them to go out on loan. Nothing beats game time but they are all boys who we want to keep tabs on.”

New Arrival

With a mammoth January programme, the management team have been quick to strengthen our defensive midfield options by bringing in 25-year-old Michael Dome-Bemwin.

Michael has played in the USA, Spain, Cyprus and, most recently in terms of his overseas sojourns, Sweden.

 Whitehawk held his registration but Town fans will perhaps remember him playing against us for Lewes a couple of years ago on the opening day of the season.

Welcome, Michael

A personal thank you

Enfield Town chairman Paul Reed has a special message for all those who followed us at Eastleigh on Saturday

Saturday was a tough day for us on the pitch against a really good Eastleigh side, we were understrength through Covid, illness and suspension but I was extremely proud of how the boys kept going to the end, didn’t allow their heads to drop and kept fighting for every ball.

To be competing at that stage of the competition against full-time teams shows how far we have come in our 20 years. I spent some time after the game talking to their directors and understanding the journey they have been on to get to that level and what has been involved financially and operationally to get them to and sustain themselves in the National League. It definitely gave me some real insight in to the finances and structure needed to compete at the higher echelons of non-league football and offered food for thought for us a board as we plan for the future.

For me, the outstanding memory of Saturday will be the incredible support that the team received, both in numbers and volume you delivered outstanding backing to the boys with constant singing and encouragement throughout the 90 minutes.

 The players and management have all told me how much it meant to them and you also received many compliments for the officials and supporters of Eastleigh that I spoke to.

For so many of you to make a 200-mile round trip on the Saturday before Christmas in these uncertain times is amazing and as a club we would like to offer a small token of our appreciation for you at the Potters Bar game on New Year’s Day.

Anyone presenting proof of purchase of a ticket for the Eastleigh game can claim a complimentary drink from the bar (up to a value of £4.50) and a limited edition ETFC chocolate bar as a thank you from the club. Please show your proof at the bar to claim your items.

I understand all ticket purchases for the game were “cashless” so hopefully you will easily be able to demonstrate your purchase, however if for any reason you cannot, please contact me at chairman@etfc.london and we can make alternative arrangements.

On behalf of the board, players and management, thank you again for your incredible support on Saturday and please do get behind the team for the rest of the season.

Up The Town

Paul Reed

Absentees felt in Trophy defeat

Eastleigh 5 Enfield Town 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

It’s hard enough being drawn away from home against a fully professional side two divisions higher. But when your squad is suddenly decimated, the task becomes virtually impossible.

So it was on Saturday when Town lost a swathe of  regular starters to Covid on the morning of the FA Trophy third round tie at Eastleigh.

Add to that the one-match suspension of Manny Maja and the fact that we had only two players on the bench eligible to play and you get some idea of the nightmare scenario the management team faced on the trip to Hampshire.

To their credit, despite one or two playing out of position, the team battled hard, kept their shape and were well in the game at 1-0 down. But once the second Eastleigh goal went in on the stroke on halftime, any chance of a recovery flew out the window.

Some of our defending could – perhaps should –  have been cleverer. For much of the game, Mo Faal was having to track back, nullifying his goal threat.

But in the end, we can have no complaints as our run in the competition came to an end against a quicker, stronger, physically superior team who didn’t really give us a sniff of a goal or any worthwhile possession and wore us down.

Former Southampton midfielder Jake Hesketh stole the show with a sublime hat-trick (and hit the woodwork twice) as the Spitfires took charge from the off, unlike the FA Cup meeting with Folkestone earlier in the season when our playoff rivals so nearly caused a huge upset .

Eastleigh were almost ahead within two minutes through Tyrone Barnett and further penalty area scrambles came and went in the opening period.

Just as we showed signs of settling into the game, we fell behind on 37 minutes as Hesketh fired home off the post with fantastic technique.

Being robbed of possession against full-time professionals is a dangerous game and it wasn’t long before Eastleigh doubled their lead, this time through advancing full-back Josh Hare who smashed the ball home with the help of a deflection off Sam Youngs.

H-T 0-2

Three minutes after the break it was game over as Ryan Hill fed Hesketh who carried the ball forward and finished in the corner.

Only now did we look like getting on the scoresheet as both Youngs and Faal fired off shots that either missed the target or were too soft.

The fourth goal, and arguably the best, came on 70 minutes when a well-worked corner was played across our box for Andrew Boyce to unleash a magnificent volley.

In truth, Nathan McDonald couldn’t do anything about any of the goals and the fifth came on 81 minutes as Hesketh finished off some terrific interplay.

It could have ben worse as Hesketh and Harry Pritchard both rattled the woodwork in the final stages.

Whilst we were bruised and battered at the finish there is no doubt that mitigating circumstances played a considerable part.

Special mention has to go to our travelling fans who kept up a relentless noise and outsung the home supporters in the 877 crowd from start to finish. They were a credit to the club and were praised by a number of Eastleigh officials.

 “A challenging day was made more difficult when circumstances conspired against us with a number of positive Covid tests in the camp on Friday and Saturday  morning,” said Andy Leese afterwards.

“It may not have affected the outcome of the game but it certainly affected the preparation as we had to select another team to the one we worked on all week.”

“We conceded goals at poor times especially the second and third. We never really kept hold of the ball long enough to fashion any decent opportunities and didn’t give our fantastic support much to shout about.”

“We can get back to the league campaign provided we have enough fit and healthy players to train this week. Thanks to everyone who travelled to support us. Please stay behind the team as we look to make this a memorable season.”

Whilst it was a disappointing end to the Trophy run, the league comes first and now we prepare – Covid regulations permitting — for the eagerly awaited derby at playoff rivals Cheshunt on Dec 27 before an eye-watering nine scheduled games in January.

Town:

McDonald; Joseph, Gyebi, Bray, Smith; Youngs, Taaffe (Kirwan 83), Kiangebeni, Coker (Cook 67), Faal; Cunnington

Updated Match Information

Our home match with Bowers & Pitsea has been rearranged to take place on Tuesday 18th January.

Meanwhile, please note that match tickets for our 3rd Round FA Trophy tie at Eastleigh on Saturday are available at https://www.eastleighfc.com/tickets/

Adult tickets are £10 and concessions are £5.

We understand Eastleigh do not intend to segregate away fans. Tickets will be available on matchday and Eastleigh intend to make an announcement closer to match day.

If you wish to travel by coach to Eastleigh, just a reminder to please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563 or lesgold@enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk. The coach will depart the QE II Stadium at 11 AM. Cost £16.

You will be required to wear face coverings on the coach, and Eastleigh have advised face coverings are required to enter their club shop.

If you are intending to use the coach it is recommended you take a Lateral Flow Test on Saturday morning.

Andy and Mo

For those who haven’t seen it, here is the link to a fascinating interview with both the manager and Mo following the Bognor game.

Andy talks about the match itself, fixture congestion, the competitiveness of our league, our unique fans and preparations for Eastleigh while Mo discusses his love for the club, his aims and aspirations.

Meantime, just to remind everyone that match tickets for our FA Trophy tie at Eastleigh are now available at https://www.eastleighfc.com/tickets/

Adult tickets are £10 and concessions are £5.

No decision has yet been made by Eastleigh if tickets will be available on the day or if away supporters will be segregated. These decisions may be dependant on advanced ticket sales

If you wish to travel by coach to Eastleigh please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563 or lesgold@enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk

Coaches will depart the QE II Stadium at 11AM (to be confirmed).