Enfield Town 3 BK Skjold 1
Report by Andrew Warshaw
What a night, what an occasion, what an atmosphere!
On a freezing midweek evening, just short of 600 fans embraced our European debut on Tuesday and were in full voice as we beat the holders BK Skjold in the Fenix trophy that generated huge media exposure across the capital and beyond.
Against a well organised Danish team that may have been understrength but still posed a considerable challenge, we were well worth the win that puts us in an ideal position with three matches to go in the group stage.
With key players again missing through illness – this time Rhys Forster and James Richmond – Mickey Parcell occupied yet another defensive role by switching to centrehalf with the versatile Lewis Taaffe filling in at rightback and Adi Connolly in goal.
Yet throughout the 90 minutes, we limited Skjold to few clearcut chances which could end up as crucial since they are going to be a far tougher nut to crack in the reverse fixture in March.
Town had the better of the early exchanges, Josh Okotcha planting a header over the bar and Sam Youngs putting a header just wide while at the other end winger Marius Framnes – Skjold’s most dangerous player on the night – took advantage of misplaced pass by firing in a shot across goal though with no Danish player close enough to get a touch.
The deadlock was broken on 37 minutes as Town deservedly went in front. Skjold only half-cleared a Joe Payne freekick and the ball fell to Youngs who smashed it home.
Visiting keeper Thomas Thygesen then saved from Ollie Knight and Marcus Wyllie in quick succession as we looked assured and composed without necessarily playing the sparkling football we have seen in some of the recent home games.
The second half continued pretty much in the same though at times became somewhat scrappy.
Town continued to look a threat, however, and when Wyllie’s pace took him past his marker, his cross just evaded Reece Beckles-Richards.
While we only one goal ahead, however, the Danes were always in with a chance and so it proved with a sucker punch on 80 minutes as substitute Mattias Gorse lashed home an equalising volley with their only second-half shot on target.
Would we end up being frustrated and disappointed on our big night? Thankfully not. Four minutes later, Youngs restored our lead from the penalty spot after Thygesen was adjudged to have tripped Beckles-Richards.
There was still time during six minutes added on for Wyllie to make it three with a goal worthy of the Keystone Kops as he nicked the ball off Thygesen following a woeful defensive cross-field howler, sparking wild celebrations (pictured).
The only downside in otherwise memorable night and brilliant atmosphere was an injury to the excellent Adjei-Hersey that will have to be assessed.
“Really pleased with the performance, no-one could have denied us six which would have given us a goal difference cushion,” said a distinctly under the weather Gavin Macpherson who left much of the dugout duties to his coaching staff.
“We had to adjust yet again because of missing players and all in all the boys adapted themselves brilliantly. We had a real team ethic and it was more like the Enfield Town I know. The support was magnificent from first minute to last and really drove the boys on. If we can get two results against Llantwit Major, Copenhagen could be the decider.”
Connolly; Payne, Parcell, Okotcha, Taaffe (bailey, 86); Adjei-Hersey (Soulya-Osekanongo, 80), Thomas, youngs, Knight; Wyllie, Beckles-Richards (Donnellan, 90)