Ryan & Nathan Move On

All the best to defenders Ryan Kirwan and Nathan Smith, who are no longer registered to the club.

Nathan made 43 appearances in a Town shirt, scoring five times; while Ryan featured 45 times, chipping in with six assists. Ryan leaves to join Isthmian Premier side Brightlingsea Regent.

Both were central figures in last season’s squad which reached the playoffs – we would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them well for the future.

“Nathan hasn’t featured since last season having picked up injuries. He’s been back in with us recently but with the squad settled now, we agreed there won’t be too many opportunities for him to play”, said manager Andy Leese. “My thanks go to Nathan for his time here. He’s a consummate professional who set standards when he was here. He wants to carry on playing and we have amicably agreed that will be elsewhere. Best wishes Smudger.”

“I have discussed with Ryan that he needs to be playing having come back from playing at Walthamstow. We have agreed he can get games with Brightlingsea to keep him match fit. We will monitor the situation, but hopefully Ryan does well for them.”

Town Rue Another Cup Exit

Haringey Borough 2 Enfield Town 2 (Haringey win 4-3 on penalties)

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town exited yet another cup competition on Tuesday night, this time via the curse of penalties in the Velocity Trophy 4th round, leaving us to concentrate on the league for the rest of the season.

But the players can feel a touch unlucky after dominating our nearby opponents for large spells of the game, not helped by some questionable officiating.

In the end it came down to profligacy in front of goal and two of our spotkick takers missing the target, reminiscent of several past shootout disappointments.

Except for the absence of Sam Youngs, still recovering from the knock he took at Carshalton, we fielded virtually a full side against opponents missing three regular defenders.

And apart from a dangerous spell just after they equalised for 1-1, it was Town who imposed their game on the opposition in a tournament we had genuine hope of winning.

On another day Jake Cass may have had a hattrick but left his scoring boots at home but he wasn’t the only one guilty of a string of near-misses.

It all started so well with a composed finish after 13 minutes by Marcus Wyllie (pictured) who is rapidly becoming a fans’ favourite.

It was almost two when the Haringey keeper flapped at a Joe Payne long throw but after struggling to keep the ball, the hosts hit us with a sucker punch seven minutes before the interval.

From an Enfield corner, they surged up the other end  in a three-man move that beat us for pace, Anthony Mendy providing the finish.

Suddenly we found ourselves on the back foot, Nathan McDonald somehow keeping out a close-range effort from Ou Durojaiye that slammed into his face.

H-T 1-1

It was Town who again began the second half in the ascendancy, creating chances as we pushed Haringey back, the best falling to Cass, whose header inexplicably missed the target.

Jake deserved a goal for all his usual tireless running off the ball but on 67 minutes we fell behind. Juevan Spencer’s driving run was halted in its tracks and as Haringey  burst into the space left vacant behind him, Kylan Hinds made us pay.

Luckily not for long. Five minutes later Lewis Knight, rapidly becoming our surprise go-to goalscorer, got his head to Lewis Taaffe’s freekick to restore parity.

For some reason, the officials didn’t spot a blatant off the ball challenge on Joe Payne that might well have resulted in a red card.

As the clock ticked towards penalties, Lyle Della-Verde hit the post, Cass couldn’t quite convert the rebound, and substitutes Wraynal Hercules and Andrew Coker, the latter with almost the last kick of the 90,  went agonisingly close.

And so to spotkicks with Haringey netting four of their five – including  one fortuitously retaken after originally being saved by Nathan who was bizarrely adjudged to have been off his line —  and both Della- Verde and Coker missing the target for Town.

It rounded off a what-might-have-been evening with only the Middlesex Senior Cup left in terms of cup competitions.

“A bitterly disappointing night,” said Andy Leese. “We had enough chances to win two games and it was frustrating to watch. The penalty shootout saw us continue to miss the target.

“We have to regroup now and move on to the important league games we have. We only have ourselves to blame for exiting the League Cup.”

Town

McDonald; Spencer, Knight, Richmond, Payne; Della- Verde, Thomas, Wordsworth, Taaffe (Coker 78), Wyllie (Hercules, 82); Cass

Hornchurch Switch

Our eagerly awaited home fixture with Hornchurch will now take place at 3PM on Saturday 17 December and not Monday 12 December as previously proposed.

This became possible because Folkestone, our scheduled opponents, are involved in the FA Trophy that day as are Bognor, who were due to play Hornchurch.

The Board felt a Saturday would be more appropriate for such an important fixture which could now attract our biggest crowd to date this season.

Massive credit to our match Secretary John Dolan for making the necessary arrangements.

Sun Shines On Town

Carshalton 1 Enfield Town 3

Report by Martin Bentley

A solid, professional performance, combined with some charitable donations from the home defence, saw Enfield Town bank a comfortable three points at in-form Carshalton and move up to fourth.

With Anthony Wordsworth making a first start in midfield, Town started brightly, and raced into a two- goal lead in the opening 22 minutes.

Town made good use of the low sun that rendered visibility difficult for the entire first half, and first benefited after six minutes.  Lyle Della Verde’s cross from the right disappeared into the sun, and then reappeared for Sam Youngs to jab the ball into the corner for his first league goal of the season (pictured).

Jake Cass nearly doubled the lead two minutes later with an audacious effort from the centre circle that passed a foot over a relieved Danny Bracken’s crossbar.

The second goal wasn’t long in arriving though. Cass set off optimistically after a long ball, arriving just in time to see home keeper Bracken and defender Ollie Cook make a complete mess of the clearance, leaving the Town striker, who loves chasing seemingly lost causes, a free run at an empty net.

The first half then played out amidst a flurry of yellow cards and few efforts on goal.

H-T 0-0

Not surprisingly Carshalton began the second half positively, and reduced the deficit 10 minutes in. Town uncharacteristically lost possession on their left, and the resultant low cross was turned in by home skipper Tom Beere.

At this point though, the home side’s propensity for unsolicited gifts kicked in once again. Under no apparent pressure, defender Bradley Williams nodded a long ball past Bracken, to the travelling fans’ disbelief – and delight.

Town saw out the remainder of the game without difficulty, although injuries to goalscorers Youngs and Cass are a concern; at least we have a ten-day cushion before our next fixture. Town now appear to be gathering momentum in time for a tricky set of fixtures in November and December.

Town: Mc Donald, Spencer, Payne, Thomas, Knight, Richmond, Taaffe (Coker 81), Youngs (Antonio 69), Cass (Wyllie 73), Wordsworth, Della Verde Unused: Braithwaite, Hercules

Next Up Carshalton

This Saturday we travel to in-form Carshalton Athletic for what looks likely to be a hard-fought encounter. Their address is: War Memorial Sports Ground, Colston Avenue, Carshalton SM5 2PW

The Robins are currently sixth in the table with 25 points from 14 games, one point behind Town with a game in hand.

Carshalton have won five and lost one of their last six fixtures in the league.

Save yourself £1 by getting your ticket here: https://www.carshaltonathletic.co.uk/tickets

How to get there: https://www.carshaltonathletic.co.uk/find-us

Trains from Victoria at 11 and 41 minutes past the hour will get you to Carshalton in 30 minutes from Central London.

Velocity Trophy

Meanwhile we have been drawn in the fourth round of the Velocity Trophy away at Haringey Borough whom we visit on Tuesday Nov 22 for a mouth-watering derby.

Town See Off Seasiders

Enfield Town are into the next round of the Velocity Trophy after a dominant first half display set them on their way to a 2-1 victory over Felixstowe & Walton United.

Downpours which had hit the Suffolk coast earlier in the day had subsided by kickoff, making for a slick, moist pitch at Delwood Avenue – with Town playing some neat football throughout and perhaps a shade unfortunate not to register more than the two goals they did. When this slick build-up was brought to an unceremonious halt down the left flank after a shove on Marcus Wyllie 12 minutes in, Enfield threatened as Lewis Taaffe’s inswinging free kick was glanced goalwards by Wyllie, but gathered by goalie Callum Robinson.

Two minutes later, the hosts would eventually be undone from a similar position. This time Taaffe sent a low shot bouncing against the base of the post, though the loose ball was smartly recycled by James Dayton, whose clipped cross was guided superbly into the far corner by Lewis Knight on the volley – the centre-back’s third goal in his last four.

Town’s tails were firmly up now, looking menacing in the wide areas, and almost immediately Dayton flighted a similar cross to the back stick, though Wraynel Hercules sliced over the crossbar. Off the ball, the visitors’ pressing was also excellent – with the defence, as well as a midfield which included debutant Anthony Wordsworth, sweeping up well when called upon. Just shy of the interval, Knight was withdrawn out of precaution after going down in discomfort, making way for another new arrival in centre-half Joshua Okotcha.

Not that Town lacked a threat when the goalscorer departed. On the 45-minute mark, Jake Cass’ looping header across goal was retrieved by Wyllie, who shifted and drilled a finish beyond Robinson and in via a defender to double the Towners’ advantage. Felixstowe were somewhat fortunate to go into the break just the two down as an apparent trip in the area on Wyllie, who attempted to stay on his feet, was inexplicably waved away by the officials.

Half Time: FWUFC 0-2 ETFC

The second half began in frantic fashion as the industrious Taaffe advanced from midfield and twice was unlucky not to find the target, again striking the foot of the post before forcing an excellent two-handed stop to Robinson’s left on the edge of the area. A fleet-footed counter attack followed minutes later, started by Dequane Wilson-Braithwaite at his own corner flag, and very nearly ending in Taaffe converting from Wraynel Hercules’ square ball. Wyllie was cynically brought down after bearing down on goal, yet for all their graft, Town were unable to find a third. A series of substitutes would follow, with Sam Youngs brought on in an advanced role after Cass and Wyllie had both been taken off.

Mere moments later and the hosts pulled one back seemingly out of the blue, as a long ball bounced straight through the centre and was lofted over Nathan McDonald by Samuel Ford. McDonald was alert to thwart Ford again shortly after, but now the mood had shifted, with Town having to repel several Seasiders set pieces. With four minutes of injury time, ‘keeper Robinson was sent upfield in hope, but it was Joshua Hitter’s late, curling free kick which was the closest the home side came to snatching an equaliser; McDonald parrying clear to secure Town’s passage into Round 4, and an away tie at Haringey Borough in two weeks’ time.

“A difficult game; they’re playing well. I was really pleased with the first half, I thought we were excellent”, said Andy Leese.

“We got the measure of them, and got two good goals to put us in a winning position. There were a couple of enforced changes as well [Knight; Dayton] but it didn’t really affect us.” “Second half I think we started really well, though the amount of changes we made caused us to stutter a bit. But then last 15 with all those changes we saw it out well. It was all about getting a result tonight and that’s what we did.”

Town: McDonald; Wilson-Braithwaite, Knight (Okotcha 39′), Richmond (Thomas 65′) , Payne; Wordsworth, Taaffe, Dayton (Antonio 45′) ; Hercules, Wyllie (Youngs 73′) , Cass (Coker 65′)

Attendance: 209

A Knight To Remember

Enfield Town 1 Hastings United 0

Match Report by Usayd Tai 

(Partially rewritten and edited throughout by Andrew Warshaw)

It was always going to take something special to settle a tight game and Town managed to find a way through late on to make it back-to-back wins.

There may have not been many fireworks but for an unlikely hero, it certainly was a Nov 5 to remember with a sparkling winner.

Hastings substitute Chinedu McKenzie had just seen his angled shot come back off the post when, in virtually the very next move, recent arrival Lewis Knight moved up from the back to produce a 25-yard thunderbolt (pictured) and take the points for Town after 87 minutes, in the process moving us up to fourth.

Town started positively, looking especially dangerous down the right with Lyle Della-Verde giving the Hastings leftback a difficult afternoon.

The first chance fell to Andrew Coker , who was put through on goal, but his shot was scuffed and cleared by the Hastings defence.

A half full of long throws by each team’s specialist produced a string of half-chances. Enfield skipper Scott Thomas, in his 100th appearance for the club, set up arguably set up the best chance of an attritional opening period, Della-Verde drilling the ball just wide on the stroke of halftime while James Richmond saw his effort fly over.

Despite a few bright cameos, it was a half to forget as neither keeper was really tested.

H-T 0-0

Town picked up some momentum at the start of the second half as they looked to break the deadlock, new signing Hamilton Antonio showing his effectiveness in support of Sam Youngs.

 A lovely move saw Della Verde play in the overlapping Jeuvan Spencer but his cross was put behind for a corner by Louis Rogers.

Three minutes later, another corner whipped in by Della-Verde was headed goalwards by Richmond only for Rogers to pull off a magnificent save.

As the rain started to lash down on an increasingly soggy surface, control became difficult.

Jake Cass was inches away from converting a right-wing cross but suddenly Hastings, well drilled despite missing three players, started to believe they could win it.

On came supersub McKenzie with 20 minutes to go and he threatened to turn the game.

Put through down the left he shot narrowly wide, then was presented with an even better chance in the 84th minute but hit the post from six yards out.

Those  chances came back to haunt Hastings  as a long throw was cleared, only to fall to Knight who, with a striker’s instinct,  hit a beauty into the top corner. Shortly afterwards, Hastings keeper Louis Rogers was lucky to stay on the pitch after pole-axing Wraynel Hercules.

“I couldn’t really see where a goal was going to come from,” said Andy Leese afterwards. “We couldn’t really find a way through so I’m absolutely delighted. I didn’t really expect to sign a centrehalf who has now got two in three games! The composure to bring the ball down and bend it in like that was nothing short of incredible.”

A Knight to remember, you could say, and a big three points.

Town: McDonald, Spencer, Payne, Thomas, Knight, Richmond, Coker (Hercules 73), Youngs, Cass, Antonio (Taaffe 67), Della-Verde (Wyllie 79) Unused : Wilson-Braithwaite, Dayton

One In, One Out

Anthony Wordsworth

We are delighted to welcome midfielder Anthony Wordsworth to Enfield Town. Anthony started out at Colchester, before embarking on a professional career which has taken him to the likes of Ipswich Town, Southend United, and AFC Wimbledon. He spent last season with League of Ireland side Waterford.

“We have taken the chance to sign Anthony after he has been training with us”, said manager Andy Leese. “A fantastic professional career means he brings quality and very high standards to the group, along with a winning mentality which will all help the younger players especially. Anthony gives us another option in midfield where we are stretched with the current schedule of games. He’s a local boy as well which we like. Please welcome Anthony to the club when you see him today.”

Rian Bray

We would also like to thank central defender Rian Bray for his efforts as he departs the club in search of regular football. Rian (pictured) made 53 appearances for the Town, scoring once, and was an important part of last-season’s squad which reached the playoffs.

“We have agreed to part company with Rian Bray. Rian didn’t feel he would get the opportunities he wants with our recent signings so we agreed he can look elsewhere to play his football”, added Andy. “I understand Rian’s desire to play as he’s been a regular here for us. We part on good terms and I’d like to personally thank Rian for his contribution last season especially.”

NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY 

Once again we are holding a New Year’s Eve party in Butler’s Bar with live  music from Ray Macfarland

Tickets £10 (£5 under-16s and under-5s free)

To book please contact:

Christine Hamilton:  07949 071 587 –  ianchrisham@hotmail.com

Alan Medlock: 07963 196 224

Please book your tickets in advance as soon as possible so we can make an informed decision regarding numbers. 

Further Additions

We are happy to announce two new faces to our squad as of this week. The first is defender Lewis Knight (pictured), whom you may have seen feature – and score on his debut – in our 4-2 win over Herne Bay on Saturday afternoon. Lewis joins on a month’s loan deal from Margate, and brings with him prior experience at Step 2 with St Albans, Concord Rangers and Maidstone United.

(above) Hamilton in action for Corinthian-Casuals

The second is Hamilton Antonio, who joins having last featured for Herne Bay. He is a central midfielder whose other previous sides include Corinthian-Casuals and Walton Casuals.

“Lewis has joined us on loan from Margate to strengthen our defensive options and is a player we have liked for a while”, said gaffer Andy Leese. “We have also added Hamilton Antonio to the squad this week. He was playing at Herne Bay this season and last year helped them to promotion. We need to bolster the midfield area with our demanding schedule at the moment and Hamilton will do that with his energy and physicality. We hope to see him in action tonight when supporters will get a chance to welcome him into the club.”

Welcome to Town!

Town Back to Winning Ways

Enfield Town 4 Herne Bay 2

Report by Martin Bentley

In front of a bumper crowd of 678 celebrating our annual Whole Club Day, Enfield Town and Herne Bay served up a highly entertaining end-to-end game that could easily have ended with twice the number of goals scored.

From the Town’s point of view, the game saw a welcome return to winning ways –their first victory in five.

The action exploded into life with two goals in the first quarter-hour. Just five minutes had passed when Town were awarded a freekick in that area of the pitch that should really be known as ‘Lyle’s Office’ – 25 yards from goal and just right of centre.

Mr Della Verde curled the kick deliciously into keeper Josh Strizovic’s top left hand corner – we were up and running.

The visitors attacked boldly in search of an equaliser, with Tashaun Walters firing a shot wide and Keiron Campbell stinging Nathan McDonald’s palms after cutting in from the left. They found their equaliser after 15 minutes, the outstanding Marcel Barrington latching onto a poor defensive header and belting the ball past McDonald.

The game continued at a lively pace. Sam Youngs missed badly from 12 yards and Barrington had a shot well saved at the other end before Town went back in front on the half hour, Della-Verde’s right-wing cross being turned into his own net by right-back Che Krabbendam.

Four minutes later Town were awarded a penalty following a foul on debutant centreback Lewis Knight. Unfortunately and rarely for him, Jake Cass’s spot kick flew wide.

A frantic half concluded with Campbell forcing another decent save from Mc Donald.

H-T 2-1

The second half continued in much the same vein, and Town extended their lead on 56 minutes. Once again it was a Della-Verde special, this time low to Strizovic’s right – wonderful to watch.

Three minutes later Barrington forced an error from James Richmond to reduce the arrears, and the Town faithful were once again feeling a little concerned.

But after seven more minutes, we were all breathing a little easier. Della-Verde had a shot deflected wide, and from the resulting corner, Richmond headed down at the far post for Knight to turn the ball over the line.

The pace of the game slowed a little after that, as Town were able to see out matters for a much-needed three points.

Town: McDonald, Spencer, Payne, Thomas, Knight, Richmond, Taaffe (Hercules 80), Youngs, Cass, Coker (Dayton 72), Della Verde (Braithwaite 86) Unused: Bray, Cunnington

Manager’s Player Update

“We have had to find game time for a number of players recently as they have come back to fitness. A number have gone across to Walthamstow to help Nick Ironton as he builds a new team. We are grateful to Nick as it helps us as well. The players have dual registered which allows us to call them back at any time.

Josh Urquhart needs games now he is fit and we will monitor how he does in the next few games. Te Wihongi, Ryan Kirwan and Kian Wilkes have all done the same. Alex Solomon has also done the same with St Neots. Graham Dodd will be watching them and keeping an eye on progress for us.

Rian McLean has gone to Witham where he played last season. He wasn’t getting the game time he wanted. We have agreed we will keep in touch. Wynford Marfo has joined Cray and Gucci’s loan has ended now so he is back with Sutton Utd.


It’s the hardest part of management keeping all your players happy and these moves allow us try to do that. The squad is under constant review as we seek to get the right balance and quality to push us on. We also have to balance the books which is a challenge we face every year.

As regards Bilal Sayoud, he  has also gone to Walthamstow so he can get regular football as we could not guarantee the game time he wants. We wish Bilal the very best and thank him for his contribution in his second spell with us.”

Andy Leese

Whole Club Day

This Saturday is a very special occasion when all sections of the club come together for our annual Whole Club Day.

All the teams – men’s, ladies, youth and disability – will gather for a mass photoshoot before the game against Herne Bay

At the end of the game everyone will be asked to stay on for a Hallowe’en Party in the bar until around 9pm.

Feel free to invite all your friends and work colleagues to what should be a memorable day for everybody – and hopefully three points!

Gates will open at 12.30 for what will we anticipate will be a bumper crowd.

Nightingale Cancer support will be attending the game and will set up a stand to give out leaflets and also will carry out a bucket collection during the afternoon.

Town Pegged Back At Cray

Cray Wanderers 1 Enfield Town 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Frustration seemed to be the byword amongst the Town players after a fast-paced encounter which, on another day, we might have won.

The celebration among the Cray team at the final whistle said much about how they felt about sharing the points in a tight game that saw us drop to fifth.

With the teams in and around us – most of whom have played fewer games — picking up three points, there was a sense of disappointment after we had taken the lead through Marcus Wyllie’s first competitive goal for the club, only to be pegged back shortly afterwards.

But this was a big improvement following the Lewes debacle, particularly in terms of players covering each other all over the pitch and the amount of the possession we carved out.

The management team made three changes from the Lewes game but kept the defence in tact and to be fair, for large periods of the game we were relatively untroubled.

This fixture so often produces a goal fest but not this time, with defences on top for much of the game.

On 19 minutes, Jake Cass, who chased lost causes all afternoon and was a constant threat, let fly from 25 yards, narrowly missing the target.

Cray almost took advantage of a rare James Richmond slipup, only for Nathan McDonald to save with his legs.

Nathan produced an even bigger stop to keep out a point-blank Jalen Jones header from a freekick but in a half of few clearcut chances, Sam Youngs almost broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime as he held off two defenders before swivelling and shooting just wide.

H-T 0-0

Four minutes into the second period, we took the lead as Wyllie pounced on a weak defensive header just outside the Cray box and strode forward to fire a delicious right-foot effort into the corner sparking huge celebrations (pictured).

Cass almost made it 2-0 but couldn’t quite keep control before Cray hit back.

Nyren Clunis had already gone close to an equaliser after being put through by skillful teenager Ben Krauhaus when the ball was played into the path of Dan Bassett and his low shot seemed to squirm under Nathan’s body.

The home side briefly threatened to turn things round as they upped their game but we held firm and finished the stronger with three pairs of fresh legs on the pitch.

Cass and Wyllie combined to set up ex-Wand Andre Coker down the left but his shot lacked sufficient power. And in the dying moments, Cass so nearly won it with an audacious piece of skill and strength that was kept out by Rowley.

Neutral observers will feel the outcome was just about right but perhaps looking back it was a game from which we might easily have come out on top.

“Much, much better performance from us today… a much different performance than we’d given the previous two Saturdays”, said Andy Leese. “We had to deal with Cray and the way they play, which I felt we did really well… just a little bit disappointed we didn’t capitalise – we created lots of chances.”

Town: McDonald; Spencer, Wilson-Braithwaite, Richmond, Payne; Thomas (Dayton, 64); Hercules (Della-Verde, 72), Youngs, Taaffe (Coker, 72), Wyllie; Cass.

Early Six Pointer

This Saturday we visit Cray Wanderers in need of a positive result after a disappointing outcome to our last league game.

 Cray are currently fourth in the table on the same points and games as Town, separated only by goal difference. A game therefore between two playoff contenders?

Cray’s most recent result was a 4-0 win against Brightlingsea on Tuesday which included a hat trick from Ben Krauhaus.

Directions below

Town Fall To Dominant Rooks

Enfield Town 2 Lewes 4

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Another four goals shipped, a shellshocked manager yet still third in the league and more than handily placed so it’s certainly not all doom and gloom.

But it’s undoubtedly been a rollercoaster few weeks for the Town after Saturday’s latest debacle.

Lewes have become something of a bogey team as they followed up last season’s convincing double over us with another dominant display that belied their lowly league position.

That we managed to pull two goals  back after going 0-4 down restored a certain amount of pride and respectability, especially after the rare sound of being booed off at halftime, albeit by a tiny minority of supporters.

But this shouldn’t hide the fact, as Andy Leese admitted afterwards, that there were worrying deficiencies that need rectifying to keep us on track in the upper echelons of the league.

After Tuesday’s improved display against Bognor following the Chesham humiliation in the Trophy, what unfolded was as alarming as it was unexpected, leading to an unusually flat atmosphere.

Lewes hadn’t won in the league since August but were slicker on the ball, more cohesive as a unit and in Razz Coleman De-Graft had a player who ran the show.

The Rooks were almost ahead within the first minute when Coleman De-Graft curled a cross-shot just over the bar from the edge of the box and it was no surprise when they took the lead six minutes later. Michael Klass played a one-two with Coleman De-Graft and Deon Moore lashed the loose ball into the roof of the net.

Lewes’ game plan was clearly to try and pull us out of shape, making it hard for us to keep the ball especially against their five in midfield and forcing our wide players to sit too deep.

It wasn’t until the 22nd minute that we had our first real chance as James Dayton almost made Jack Cass’ backheel count. Cass came  even closer, only to find goalkeeper Lewis Carey in Lewes’ goal before Carey just held on to Joe Payne’s 30-yard piledriver.

Lewes continued to look the more threatening side, however, and Jamie Mascoll doubled the lead on 35 minutes when the wall failed to deal with his direct freekick.

Lewes’ third just before halftime was criminal from a home point of view. Marcel Elva-Fountaine was allowed to run unchallenged for 25 yards before firing into the far corner.

H-T 0-3

The management team decided to keep faith with the starting eleven and we almost reduced the deficit within two minutes as Lewes kept out a Cass header and Bilal Sayoud’s follow-up.  But it soon went from bad to worse as Coleman De-Graft curled a beauty into the corner of the net at the other end.

Even though it seemed there was no way back, we at last started to get in Lewes’ faces as the management made a triple substitution.

Cass’ superb header on 57 minutes from Sayoud’s sublime cross brought it back to 1-4. Then James Richmond rose to head a rebounded corner into the net to half the deficit (pictured).

The damage may have already been done but it made for an exciting finish as our support play improved and we stopped giving the ball away.

Lyle Della-Verde hit a golden opportunity down the keeper’s throat and both Sam Youngs and Scott Thomas had further chances to pull off a miracle.

Ultimately, however, it was too big a gap to bridge.

A clearly shell-shocked manager didn’t mince his words afterwards. “Absolutely horrendous first half, men against boys,” said Andy. “We simple weren’t good enough from one to 11 and let them do what they wanted.”

“I can only apologise again to the fans. I could hear all the barracking which I understand. Most of it’s aimed at me which I also understand. It was totally unacceptable and there are obviously going to have to be some changes.”

“Strangely we probably created 10 to 12 chances. But they didn’t really have to get out of second gear. It was a very chastening afternoon and lots of worrying signs which we have to address. We need people who will run for the cause and die for the cause. Today again, some players didn’t want to do that. We’ve got some very good footballers but some of them just seem to be lacking the basics.”

Town

McDonald, Spencer, Payne, Thomas, Wilson-Braithwaite, Richmond, Sayoud (Coker 74 mins), Youngs, Cass (Cunnington, 75 mins), Dayton (Wyllie 74 mins), Della-Verde

Lewes Up Next

Our next fixture is against Lewes tomorrow, Saturday, kickoff 3pm, the last in a run of consecutive home games.

Our visitors are surprisingly 17th in the table, but have played fewer games than most.

Their most recent result was a 1-4 defeat at Herne Bay and Lewes have not won in the League since they beat Bishops Stortford 2-1 back in August.

Town are currently third in the table, two points behind league leaders Bishops Stortford and Potters Bar,  and a win could take us top if other results go in our favour. A hugely anticipated encounter is in prospect.

Advance tickets can be purchased here

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/event/match8/enfield-town-vs-lewes

Football and Faith – Bilal’s Twin Passions

Everyone who witnessed Bilal Sayoud’s stunning strike at Margate a couple of weeks ago marvelled at the sheer technique. But no-one was the least bit surprised, writes Andrew Warshaw.

Bilal may not start every game but his ability on the ball has never been in doubt.

“I do have that in my locker, sometimes it’s just about the confidence in taking it on,” says Bilal who is relishing his second spell at the Town.

“When we lost Mo, some people wondered where the goals would come from. But Lyle had double figures last season as did I, albeit not at Enfield. We also have Jake and Marcus, who is champing at the bit. Plus Sam of course.”

Ever since returning to the Town, Bilal has enjoyed every moment, whether starting or coming off the bench. The phrase impact player is a compliment he recognises though obviously he would prefer more.

“It’s not really a tag I would like to stick because obviously like any player I’d ideally like to be starting games. But the competition now is fierce.”

All teams have their wobbles but Bilal is confident Town can mount a consistent challenge.

“We’ve got so many options around the squad now. Two or three wins in this league puts you right up there.”

As for his own footballing experience, Bilal could be forgiven for wondering what might have been after being on Coventry City’s books for over two years when the club were in League One.

But it’s not something he bangs on about and is getting just as much pleasure out of playing non-league football. “I don’t really bandish the Coventry thing about because I don’t dwell on the past. But if I’m 100 percent honest, I didn’t feel secure in myself there.

“It taught me a lot about professional football and how cut-throat it can be. But on the plus side, also about high standards and how to treat your body. You watch football on tv and think ‘I can do that’. But some people don’t realise the daily grind.”

It wasn’t difficult, after spells at Met Police, Wingate and Hendon, for Bilal, who works for a charity, to make the decision to return to Enfield.

“It gives me far more satisfaction than when I played professionally. I’ve always loved the club. When I left the first time I wanted to get more experience. But most of the teams I played for were never really challenging come the end of the season. I came to realise you want to be up there.”

Religious faith,  as many of you will know, is a huge part of Bilal’s life as a staunch Muslim. Before the season started he went on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia for three weeks.

“It wasn’t easy trying to keep fit. I knew some players were leaving and I wanted to stake a claim. But it took longer for me.”

Managing to combine playing football with his religious faith has become second nature to Bilal who prays five times a day.

“We all have our different faiths and beliefs. The club has been nothing but supportive and accommodating, always offering me a room to pray in, whether before games, halftime or in the middle of training. It’s that kind of club.”

Points Shared With Rocks

Enfield Town 1 Bognor Regis Town 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

First things first. This was a massive improvement after Saturday’s ignominious FA Trophy exit, with each and every player showing hunger, purpose and desire.

That we  didn’t pick up all three points was more down to the strength of the opposition than any particular failings on our part though critics will doubtless point to our lack of fire power up front and the absence of sufficient midfield creativity.

Overall a draw was a fair result which keeps us extremely handily placed on the coat tails of Bishop Stortford and Potters Bar.

Early days still of course but victory over Lewes in another home game on Saturday could send us top if other results fall in our favour, albeit with only a quarter of the campaign completed and other sides having played fewer games.

The management team made three changes to the starting line-up, including the return of James Richmond who brought composure and stability to the back line.

Right from the off, Town showed intent with Jake Cass twice going close but it was the visitors who took the lead on 15 minutes when a risky squared clearance fell to Bognor frontman Nick Dembele who finished well.

Bognor’s movement and transition play was always a threat but right on halftime  James Dayton almost levelled when a corner was headed back across goal and his header was hit straight at the keeper.

H-T 0-1

We haven’t always had the rub of the green with decisions this season but got back in the game from a softish penalty on 51 minutes.  Dayton was adjudged to have been obstructed by  Nathan Odokonyero and Cass made no mistake from the spot (pictured).

Thereafter, as the game opened up,  both sides had chances to win the game though the Rocks arguably had more.  

Luckily for us, Odokonyero screwed his shot just wide of the upright when it looked certain he would score on 75 minutes. And  five minutes later, Alfie Bridgman blasted wide with only Nathan McDonald to beat.

But Town might well have snatched it late on through Dayton and Richmond, both of whose efforts looked easier to score.

Bognor claimed they would have won the game but for the officiating and poor finishing . At times we did ride our luck but we fully deserved a share of the spoils for application and effort.

“I’m pleased with the response after Saturday,” said Andy Leese. “A difficult game tonight. Bognor are young, well-drilled and energetic. At times they stretched us. I clearly would have preferred a win – it could have sent us top which would have been a boost – but really pleased.”

Town: McDonald; Spencer, Richmond, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne;  Thomas (Wyllie, 70), Youngs, Della-Verde (Hercules, 81), Coker (Sayound, 63), Dayton; Cass

Town Crash Out of Trophy

Enfield Town 0 Chesham United 4

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town’s exploits in this season’s two main cup competitions are well and truly over after we crashed out at the first hurdle in the FA Trophy – just as we did in the FA Cup.

A similar horror show to the one at Canvey saw us put to the sword by the Generals who, despite also being at Step 3 (in their case Southern League Premier Division South ) were far superior in every department.

Chesham put on a commanding display to make it a miserable afternoon for Andy Leese who spent a decade in their own dug-out where he had two memorable cup runs.

Not this time, though, and while we can now put all our energies into the league campaign, everyone connected with the club will be disappointed that there are no more special FA Cup or Trophy days to look forward to – or the revenue stream they provide.

Once again, understandably after three straight wins, Town were unchanged. With a strong bench and players coming back from injury, there was every hope of a good performance even though Chesham are flying high in their league.

Instead it was a chastening display, at times too one dimensional and easy to defend against and Andy was refreshingly honest about the performance as a whole afterwards.

Having said that, for the first 20 minutes we looked up for it as we took the game to Chesham, only to be caught cold when Jordan Edwards hit a low freekick through the wall against the run of play.

Try as we might to respond, we simply couldn’t get any change out of a disciplined and well organised unit who got back in numbers at the slightest hint of a threat – and were devastating on the counter.

Five minutes before halftime Edwards was almost on target again as his 35-yard piledriver crashed against the angle of our post and bar.

Right on halftime, the visitors doubled their lead at the worst possible time for us. After we failed to clear a corner, Jeanmal Prosper pounded on the loose ball and lashed it home.

H-T 0-2

Cue an immediate halftime substitution with Jake Cass replacing an out-of-sorts Wraynel Hercules but as we chased the game, the visitors almost made it three when Shaquille Hippolyte drilled the ball wide of an open goal.

 Andre Coker’s neat finish on 53 minutes  – our first shot on target – so nearly put us back in the game, only to be ruled offside. And perhaps we knew it wouldn’t be our day when Cass somehow missed the target from four yards as he planted a header wide (pictured).

It was a chance we were left to rue as, on 73 minutes, Francis Jno-Baptiste’s pace took him surging into our box and he finished with aplomb.

Lyle Della-Verde came off the bench to see his 35-yard freekick tipped over the bar and from the resultant corner, a Sam Youngs snapshot flew wide.

But unfortunately Chesham weren’t finished yet.  Jno Baptiste too quick for Rian Bray who, with no defensive cover,  had little option but to pull him back inside the box.

Nathan McDonald brilliantly saved the penalty, only for T’Sharne Gallimore to force home the rebound. To  complete our misery, Rian became our latest player to be shown a straight red card.

“It was just a complete and utter disgrace but take nothing away from Chesham,” admitted a furious Andy Leese.

“A totally disrespectful performance, a complete capitulation. No fight, no application to the game plan. Performances since the Canvey Island debacle have been absolutely fine but it looks like we have ability to throw in that kind of performance.  I’ve got to wear it, they’ve got to wear it, and we’ve got to try and get things right for Bognor on Tuesday. That’s the challenge.”

Town:

Mcdonald; Spencer, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Hercules (Cass, 45) Thomas, Youngs, Dayton (Della Verde); Cunnington, Coker (Sayoud, 71)

Bring On Chesham

Our next fixture is our FA Trophy 3rd qualifying Round tie tomorrow when we host Andy Leese’s former team, Chesham United, kickoff 3pm.

Andy spent a decade at Chesham, adding extra interest to an already eagerly anticipated fixture between two Step 3 clubs.

Chesham are in cracking form, currently third in the Southern League Premier division South with 20 points from nine games.

Their most recent result was a 3-0 home win over Tiverton Town and they are certain to pose a strong challenge in our bid to go as far as far we can in the most important cup competition left for us this season.

 Third round qualifying winners receive £2450, losers receive £625. This game will be decided on the day as there are no replays in the FA Trophy this year.

If the scores are level after 90 minutes the game will be decided by penalties.

We, too, are on a fine run of form and you won’t want to miss out.

Advance tickets can be purchased here

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/event/match6/enfield-town-vs-chesham

Season Tickets, except those held by Gold GoToTown members, are not valid for this game.

Mario’s Marvellous Marathon

Huge congratulations to our assistant manager, Mario Noto, who completed Sunday’s London Marathon in a time of four hours, 16 minutes, writes Andrew Warshaw.

Mario has managed to raise over £5,000 including a healthy donation from those who attended our league game against Corinthian Casuals.

The money will be split between the Royal Papworth hospital and Haven House Children’s Hospice, the former having performed a life-saving heart transplant operation on his godfather.

Mario, who had trained for the race since July, hit the notorious pain wall around the 15-mile mark when his calf started to cramp up but he was determined to continue.

“I may have torn it but I just gritted my teeth and kept going,” he explained. “I wanted the time to be a bit quicker but it was an amazing experience so I can’t be too down on myself.”

“I had all my family there and even saw a few people I knew during the race including one lad I even used to coach. Everyone got behind everyone else regardless of gender, race or anything else. There was a proper community feel about it with so many people coming out to support.

“It’ll probably take me around a week to feel my body is back to normal but I’d definitely do it again.”

Well done Maz from everyone at Enfield Town FC

Our New Scandinavian Friends

Scandinavian  football fans are renowned for flying over to the UK to watch Premier League fixtures at the weekend, writes Andrew Warshaw.

But it isn’t every day they opt exclusively for the non-league game instead.

It was therefore both a surprise and a pleasure to welcome seven Danish fans and 17 Swedes for our recent 2-0 home win over with Corinthian Casuals.

Both trips were organised entirely separately and provided an international feel to the game which was also attended by two Italian supporters. Enfield Town’s reach is obviously stretching far and wide!

All the Swedish fans were members of a so-called “brothers in sport” society and supporters of first division club IFK Norrköping .

They chose to come and watch us as the first in a three-match weekend itinerary and afterwards both clubs exchanged pennants.

Gunnar Hagberg, who helped organise the Swedish trip, explained: “We go to England on a regular basis to watch football but we always tend to go to clubs like Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal.”

“This time we wanted to look for the roots of the game, to find football’s true soul, something we think has been lost in top-division football.”

Luckily for Gunnar and his friends, we just happened to be playing on a Friday night since they had already made arrangements for Saturday and Sunday.

“I checked through the fixture list and saw Enfield were playing on Friday. We couldn’t miss that instead of going out somewhere in London,” said Gunnar. “We had a brilliant time. The rain was perfect for football! We really enjoyed it and everyone was so friendly. It’s been a real treat.”

Needless to say, both the bar and the club shop did a roaring trade among our Scandinavian guests!

Although we are in step 7 of the national pyramid, Gunnar (pictured with another Swedish fan) says we could hold our own much higher up in Sweden. “I was talking to some of our coaches who came with us and they reckon Enfield Town would be the equivalent of the Swedish third division.”

“They were surprised and impressed how intense the game was.  We will definitely be spreading the word!”

Town Complete Hat-trick of Wins

Enfield Town 2 Corinthian Casuals 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

If ever the expression “job done” was appropriate, this was it.

Any club in any division would look a trifle leggy after having to play three games in six days so huge credit to the players for grinding out another three points that have pushed us to within striking distance of the top.

Players and management now deservedly have a week’s rest before the eagerly awaited FA trophy tie with Chesham, basking in the knowledge that they have responded superbly to the FA Cup debacle at Canvey Island with three straight wins and an increasingly healthy competition for places.

 This fixture was originally due to take place on Saturday at Casuals but was reversed to Friday at QEII as a result of a tree falling on the Casuals clubhouse.  As a result, Enfield played in light blue because the only kit Casuals could muster was one with white shirts.

The swirling rain hampered ball control but Town’s opener on 38 minutes defied the conditions, recent  signing Wraynel Hercules, who had missed two earlier chances,  unleashing a stunning strike (pictured) that dipped markedly at the last moment.

The goal was as spectacular as it was unexpected given what had gone before which wasn’t very much as both teams defended in depth and tried to hit the opposition on the break. A timely clearance by Ruben Carvalho prevented Adam Cunnington pouncing on a whipped-in Andre Coker cross while a trademark Joe Payne long throw was almost turned in.

As for the visitors, Elijah Simpson fired just wide while Rian Bray’s interception prevented Mohamed Diallo from getting in a shot.

H-T 1-0

 Soon after the break, Casuals appeared to have a decent penalty shout waved away, only to concede a spotkick themsleves on the hour. Coker was bundled over by Benjamin Checklit and got up to confidently double our lead.

Andre almost made it three, spooning over the bar from six yards, while substitute Lyle della-Verde’s run and shot whistled past the post.

At the other end Dequane Wilson-Brathwaite brilliantly cleared of the line as Casuals tried to respond while Mohamed Diallo’s bullet header whistled narrowly wide.

The visitors will rue a string of crosses being dealt with efficiently by Town’s defence which was arguably the best part of our game on the night.

“Not the best of games but they’re the sort of fixtures you just have to dig out,” said Andy Leese. “Especially in our position – three games in six days effectively. We weren’t at our best tonight but we’ve done what mattered. And kept a clean sheet.”

Town:

McDonald; Spencer, Wilson-Braithwaite, Bray, Payne; Hercules (Sayoud, 68), Thomas, Youngs, Dayton (Della-Verde, 75); Coker (Wyllie), Cunnington

Town Into Playoff Spot

Enfield Town 2 Horsham 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Enfield Town followed up Saturday’s confidence-boosting win at Margate with three more points to leapfog Horsham and move into fifth place in the table.

Tuesday’s fixture was the re-arranged game that was postponed because of the death of the queen and we took full advantage against another of the pre-season playoff hopefuls.

Horsham have stuttered somewhat after a fine start to the campaign but play the game the right way and had their moments against an unchanged Town.

But on clearcut chances, we were well worth the win and could go even higher if we can make it three in a row against Corinthian Casuals on Friday – a game that has been switched to QEII after a tree fell on the Casuals’ club house but for which we have precious little recovery time.

Enfield started the game with a bang and should have gone in front straight from the kickoff. Wraynel Hercules was played in down the right but panicked somewhat as he advanced on goal and put his shot on the running track.

But on 12 minutes we went in front when a cross into the box was only half-cleared  and Andre Coker shot low into the corner for yet another early-season goal.

The Hornets managed to fashion a number of promising positions without being able to supply the final touch and on 26 minutes our lead was doubled.  Coker’s shot was well saved and Adam Cunnington (pictured) — a tower of strength all evening, dribbling past fullbacks, turning goalkicks into corners —  forced home the rebound.

In the final action of the half, Lucas Rodriquez curled a 20-yard freekick over the wall but Nathan McDonald was on hand to make an excellent save.

H-T 2-0

The second half was just a couple of minutes old when Horsham, hit by a lengthy injury list, halved the deficit. Jack Mazzone whipped in a fierce low cross and Rian Bray, in trying to clear, only succeeded in knee-ing the ball into his own net.

Suddenly Horsham gained a new lease of life and started to winning second balls. Mazzone  narrowly cleared the bar from 25 yards and the defensive side of our game, so improved in recent matches, was frequently called into action.

But still we had the better chances – four in particular. When Sam Youngs took advantage of Michael Beeney’s punched clearance, his goalbound chip seemed certainly to make it 3-1, only for Tom Day to rush back and produce a miraculous  goal-line clearance.

There was more to come in the shape of substitute Bilal Sayoud who had three golden opportunities in quick succession to add to his sublime strike at Margate.

First, he struck a freekick fractionally over. Then, in the dying moments, he probably should have done better when pulling his shot narrowly wide, and got even closer by striking the post as Horsham pushed forward.

“In the first half we smothered them in midfield and they couldn’t get out,” said Andy Leese. “2-0 is an awkward scoreline and we started the second half exactly as we did at Margate.”

“At times we then had to dig in. There were some tired legs. We are running harder than we’ve ever done to get to where we want to be but it’s taking its toll on one or two.  I have to give a  special mention to Cunns for yet another outstanding shift. I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome. We don’t have much recovery time before Friday and may have to freshen things up but then we have a full week.”

Town:

McDonald; Spencer, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Hercules, Thomas (Soulya-Osekanongo, Youngs, Dayton (Wyllie, 79); Coker (Sayoud, 67), Cunnington.

Additional Reporting By Martin Bentley

Chesham In Trophy

Talk about a mouth-watering tie! We have been drawn at home to Chesham united in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy on Oct 8.

Chesham, also in Step 3, are currently third in the Southern League Premier Division South and will present formidable opposition.

As many of you will know, our manager Andy Leese was manager of Chesham where he enjoyed a successful 11 years.

Seven years ago, Andy steered Chesham to a 2-1 FA Cup fourth qualifying round victory over the Town which prevented a maiden appearance in the first round proper.

This time, he will be out to mastermind victory over his former club.

“It’s certainly an interesting draw. I still speak to a few people over there and they will bring a good following with them,” said Andy.

“A real challenge as Chesham are a strong team challenging in their division. We haven’t had kind draws in the national competitions but we want to well in this one like we did last year. We’ll prepare well as always but in the meantime we have some important league games to focus on.”

Casuals At Home Friday

We can now confirm that our away game with Corinthian Casuals, originally set for Saturday, has been switched to   Enfield because of a problem with the Casuals stadium where a tree recently fell on the clubhouse.

The game will be played at QE II stadium this Friday, ko 7.45, instead of Saturday.

Before then, Horsham are the visitors on Tuesday. They are currently fifth in the table two points ahead of Town but have played a game more.  

Their most recent result was a 0-2  home defeat to Bishops Stortford. Only one win in their last five but will provide a stiff Test for Town. 

Match Tickets are available here

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/event/match3/enfield-town-vs-horsham-

Town Clinical on Kent Coast

Margate 2 Enfield Town 5

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Anyone leaving the ground after 20 minutes at Margate yesterday – or even at halftime for that matter – could not possibly have imagined how the game would pan out.

We simply hadn’t been at the races, didn’t get close enough to the opposition, especially in midfield, and Towners fans feared the worst.

But as the old cliché goes, goals change games and once we levelled for the second time on the Kent coast, there was only going to be one winner as the hosts collapsed in spectacular fashion.

Missing the likes of Lyle Della-Verde (still suspended) and Jake Cass (injured), the fact that we managed to score five – albeit one an own goal – backs up the theory that we have goals all over the pitch despite Mo’s departure.

And there were a stack of positives, with Adam Cunnington simply outstanding in the air, a hungry Andre Coker again looking like a new player and an excellent debut on the right wing for Wraynal Hercules.

But it was an ominously worrying start.

Not once, not twice but four times in the opening period,  we escaped by the skin of our teeth as Margate came charging out of the blocks, prompted by their captain Ben Greenhalgh who actually has a Champions League medal on his CV.

It was no surprise when they took the lead on 22 minutes, Cameron Brodie rifling home from 20 yards after pouncing on a loose ball.

Our response was immediate with our first effort on target and a stroke of good fortune. Hercules mishit a cross-shot, bamboozling the Margate keeper who saw the ball squirm into the net at his near post.

Coker almost gave us the lead with a sublime strike that clipped the top of the bar but Margate had certainly been superior in the opening half.

H-T 1-1

We needed to up our game but within two minutes of the restart, we fell behind again as Greenlagh’s low, left-footed freekick was touched home by Harry Hudson.

But instead of capitalising on their chances, Margate  again left the door open at the back and Joe Payne, who had another fine game, was left unmarked to lash home our second equaliser.

Now the whole pattern of the game changed as the momentum switched. Within a minute, James Dayton’s excellent cross was side-footed home by Coker to put us 3-2 up  and as the home defence panicked, Hudson’s own goal gave us a fourth.

The best was still to come courtesy of two substitutes.  On 79 minutes, Marcus Wyllie showed great control to set up Bilal Sayoud for the sweetest of curling efforts (pictured) that had the purists purring.

There was still time for Nathan McDonald to make a flying stop from Greenhalgh but by then we were out of sight and celebrating a well-earned, hard-fought three points that can only boost confidence.

It’s not easy replacing so many quality players and although we may not look totally settled yet, we are now sitting in seventh with back-to-back home games to come, starting on Tuesday against Horsham.

“I thought we were dreadful for the first 25 minutes,” conceded Andy Leese. “It was a hard-earned 5-2 win but I thought the way in which we saw the game out was top class.”

“If you look at their results at home we knew it would be difficult down here. But really pleasing to come away  and score as many goals as we did. That 35 minutes in the second half we were excellent. We are slowly getting back to how I want us to play.”

Town

McDonald; Spencer, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Dayton, Thomas, Youngs, Hercules (Wyllie 72); Coker (Sayoud, 78), Cunnington (Urquhart 81)

Hercules Joins

We are excited to announce that we have signed former Brentford B winger Wraynel Hercules who featured prominently in our recent friendly against Beaconsfield

You may remember Wraynel, who has also played for Barnet under-18s and is still only 20, scored twice against us for St. Albans in pre-season

“Wraynel has been working with is in training and gives us another option up front with his direct style and pace,” said Andy Leese.

“He’s been in the professional game at Brentford, he’s a local boy, he’s young and we think he can develop with us.”

Welcome, Wraynel

Margate Next Up

Tomorrow we make the trip to Margate hoping to avenge our last-minute defeat in the corresponding fixture last season.

Margate are currently 14th in the early-season table with eight points from six games.

Last Saturday they bowed out of the FA Cup losing 1-2 late on at Dulwich Hamlet in front of a crowd of 1,725.

 In the League their most recent result was a 4-0 home win against Herne Bay.

You can purchase tickets here

https://margatefc.ktckts.com/event/mar2223h05/margate-v-enfield-town

The club are laying on a coach for Margate, Departure Point: QEII Stadium, Donkey Lane, Enfield, Middx

Departure Time. – Leave 10,45. a.m. SHARP

Cost: £18.00

For Bookings please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563

lesgold@enfieldtownfooballclub.co.uk

Casuals Switch

There is a possibility next weekend’s fixture may be moved to Enfield because of a problem with the Casuals stadium where a tree has fallen on the clubhouse.

 The favoured option by both clubs is that the game is moved to the QEII Stadium next Friday 30 September , but we are currently waiting for the League to sanction this change. Obviously we will let you know as soon as we can.

National call-up for Alex

Congratulations to Town central defender Alex Solomon, who was recently called up to Cyprus’ Under-21 squad. Alex (right of image) , who recently re-signed for the club following a spell with Swedish side Ytterhogdals, has joined up with his national teammates for their upcoming match against Malta. Συγχαρητήρια!

Travel Update

The Club will be running coaches for our next two Isthmian League Premier away matches at Margate F.C. & Corinthian Casuals F.C.

Match 1 – Margate F.C.

·       Date: Saturday 24th September 2022 – 3pm kick-off

·       Address: Hartsdown Park, Hartsdown Road, Margate CT9 5QZ

·       Departure Point: QEII Stadium, Donkey Lane, Enfield, Middx

·       Departure Time. – Leave 10:45 am SHARP

·       Cost: £18.00

Match 2 – Corinthian-Casuals F.C.

·       Date: Saturday 1st October 2022 – 3pm kick-off

·       Address: King Georges Field, Queen Mary Close, Hook Rise South, Tolworth, Surrey, KT6 7NA

·       Departure Point: QEII Stadium, Donkey Lane, Enfield, Middx

·       Departure Time. – Leave 11:00 am SHARP

·       Cost: £18.00

For bookings, please contact Les Gold on 07979 727563

email:  lesgold@enfieldtownfooballclub.co.uk

or leave your details at The Club Shop

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

Early reservations are essential to avoid disappointment

Toothless Town Held In Stalemate

Enfield Town 0 Canvey Island 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Frustration and disappointment were the key words used by Andy Leese following Tuesday’s distinctly underwhelming display.

After scoring nine goals in our previous two games, albert one of them a friendly, we were surprisingly toothless in the final third and would probably have lost but for several timely saves from Nathan McDonald — aided and abetted by some resolute defending across the back four.

The game was preceded by a minute’s applause in honour of the late Mike North, a life-long Town supporter who sadly died recently.

When the action got going, it was as if Canvey had been given a proverbial kick up the backside following their 3-0  home loss in the FA Cup on Saturday – one round after ironically inflicting a heavy defeat on us.

Just as in that fateful cup tie, Evans Kouassi was again their danger man, troubling us with his lightning pace and trickery before we got to grips with him and managed to stop his runs.

Twice in the first 20 minutes, Koussi broke clear to force excellent saves from Nathan, then whipped in a cross that was headed wide.

A Canver penalty claim when Luca Albion went down left the referee uninterested but the visitors remained a threat going forward, Bradley Sach’s opportunist effort bringing a another finger-tip save from McDonald.

Our two best half chances of the first half fell to Marcus Wyllie whose touch let him down – as it did, to be fair, with the rest of our attacking players.

H-T 0-0

Adam Cunnington managed to finally get a Town effort on target but frustratingly our passing wasn’t up to scratch as we invariably chose the wrong options whenever we had the ball.

But when you don’t take your chances, you can pay for it and the visitors almost did. In what looked like a Town training ground routine, Sam Youngs sped down the left to collect Coker’s freekick and his centre flashed across goal before being cleared off the line. Substitute Bilal Sayoud then forced a decent save from Bobby Mason.

But even a switch to 4-2-4 couldn’t produce any serious creativity for us, compounded by the absence of Lyle Della-Verde serving the first of a three-game ban.

 Luckily for Town, Canvey proceeded to waste a couple more opportunities, not least when Albon lashed wide.

“Hand on heart we didn’t do enough to win the game,” said Andy.  “After Brightlingea and Saturday’s friendly when we were full of attacking intent, we weren’t going past people or putting balls in the box. Our decision making in the last third was poor.”

“I’m frustrated and disappointed. We’ve got to be winning those sort of games at home if we want to be doing anything this season. The one real positive was another clean sheet.”

Next up a visit to Margate on Saturday and a chance to avenge  last season’s agonising last-minute defeat on the Kent coast.

Town:

McDonald; Spencer, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Thomas, Dayton (Cass, 73), Youngs; Wyllie (Sayoud, 63), Cunnington, Coker

Gig Cancelled

The Blues Chapter fundraising gig in Butler’s Bar on Oct 7 has regretfully had to be postponed.

The band are hugely apologetic and we very much hope to book them again in the near future.

Anyone who has bought tickets in advance should contact Christine Hamilton for a refund

Revenge in the air

We get the chance to avenge our FA Cup defeat when Canvey Island visit the QEII Stadium Tuesday night, kickoff 7.45

Canvey have made a similar start to ourselves in the league with 8 points from 6 games. Their most recent league result was a 1-1 draw at home to Haringey but on Saturday they bowed out of the FA Cup losing 0-3 at home to St Ives Town in the second qualifying round.

Our last two results – a 4-0 away win at Brightlingsea and Saturday’s demolition of Beaconsfield in a friendly – give us plenty of cause for optimism

Tickets are available on line at https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/

Town Ease To Friendly Win

Enfield Town 5 Beaconsfield 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

It may only have been a friendly but Saturday’s dominant display against fellow Step 3 opponents was another sign of things moving in the right direction in the wake of our cup humiliation at Canvey Island.

Building on our 4-0 demolition of Brightlingsea in midweek, there was an air of resolute determination about the way in which we went about our business – combined with some superb goals.

Thoughts are already  turning to taking revenge on Canvey in the league on Tuesday night after the tables were turned on the Gulls when they too were knocked out of the FA cup on Saturday, albeit in the second qualifying round.

We can certainly take confidence from Saturday’s showing as we blew Beaconsfield away in a rampant first half.

Sam Youngs opened the scoring after 10 minutes and Scott Thomas doubled the lead with his first ever goal for the Town,  an unstoppable 25-yard thunderbolt (pictured)

On the half hour, Youngs’ through ball found former St Albans winger Wreynell Hercules who drew the keeper before squaring to Adam Cunnington for number three. And right on halftime,  Andre Coker, clearly relishing playing again, made it four.

A flurry of substitutions ensued including the welcome return of Josh Urquhart — back in a Town shirt after his lengthy injury layoff.

Beaconsfield pulled one back but with time almost up Lyle Della Verde – who now misses three games because of his dismissal at Brightlingsea – exchanged passes with Kian Wilkes and unleashed another of his trademark screamers.

Town starting line up:

McDonald; Spencer, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Thomas, Youngs, Soula-Osekanogo; Cunnington, Coker, Hercules

Saturday Friendly

With no league fixture this Saturday, we have organised a friendly match at home to Beaconsfield Town FC. Beaconsfield also play at Step 3, in the Southern League Premier South, so it should be a competitive game.

Kickoff is at a slightly earlier time of 2pm – so supporters will be able to catch neighbours Spurs in their match at 5:30. Admission prices are £5 adults, £3 concessions, £1 under 16.

Town Bounce Back at Brightlingsea

Brightlingsea Regent 0 Enfield Town 4

Report by Martin Bentley

Now that’s better. A dominant Enfield Town performance resulted in four goals and an emphatic win over a Brightlingsea side who started the evening one point above Town in mid-table.

Andy Leese shuffled his pack following the heavy FA Cup loss at Canvey Island, reverting to a flat back four with Juevan Spencer given a first start at right back and Joe Payne making a second, indeed arguably a third, debut following his recent move back to the Town from Cheshunt. There were also starts for Andre Coker and James Dayton, giving the Town line-up a radically different look.

The Town were into their stride from the first whistle, with Coker fizzing a shot over, Lyle Della-Verde hitting the side netting and Sam Youngs heading against the top of the bar, all in the opening 20 minutes. The first goal arrived after 27 minutes, with Adam Cunnington’s shot being deflected past home keeper Charlie Turner. Payne then had a shot well saved, and Della-Verde curled a free kick just wide as Town concluded the half well on top.

The home side enjoyed a spell of possession early in the second half, and fired a warning shot across Town’s bows nine minutes into the half, Luke Woodward heading powerfully against Nathan McDonald’s cross bar from a right wing cross. Within a minute, however, Town doubled their lead; McDonald’s long kick caused confusion in the home defence, and Coker ran on to the loose ball to beat Turner with a powerful finish. Coker repeated the dose six minutes later with an equally emphatic effort from the other flank, and Town were out of sight.

Still Town pressed for more goals, with substitute Jake Cass hitting the foot of Turner’s post before Della-Verde added a fourth with a curling effort from Sam Youngs’ lay-off. Unfortunately, the game ended on a sour note for Della-Verde when he received a straight red card for a late tackle on the home side’s Zack Littlejohn. The decision seemed harsh, with referee Hursey seemingly making no allowances for the greasy surface, and having previously punished a similar-looking offence at the other end by Regent’s Dominic Locke with only a yellow card. Town comfortably played out the remaining ten minutes without alarm, however, and completed an excellent win that saw them jump to eighth place in the table.

Town: McDonald; Spencer, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Thomas, Youngs, Dayton (Sayoud 85); Coker (Wyllie 74), Della-Verde, Cunnington (Cass 64).

Unused subs: McLean, Shulton.

Two defenders return

Before tonight’s league game at Brightlingsea, Town are very pleased to announce two returning faces to the squad, as defenders Joe Payne and Alex Solomon have signed on at Donkey Lane.

“We decided to bring Joe back to the club to give us competition in the left back position”, said manager Andy Leese.

“Joe can also play centrally. We didn’t want to lose him when he moved , on but he comes back more experienced. Alex is in the same position. He went off to play professionally in Sweden and comes back with some games under his belt. He’s versatile for a young player and we will see how he gets on when we have international clearance for him.” Welcome back both!

Weekend fixtures postponed

In light of recent events, there will be no football this weekend as a mark of respect to HM Queen Elizabeth II.

All Isthmian League matches have been postponed. Our match with Horsham, originally scheduled for Saturday, will be played at a later date.

Town humiliated at first hurdle

Canvey Island 5 Enfield Town 1

Report by Martin Bentley

Enfield Town’s FA Cup campaign lasted for only 90 painful minutes as they were dumped out of the competition in the first qualifying round.

Town were strangely lifeless for much of the game, only succeeding in competing meaningfully in the final half hour.

Ex-Towner Evans Kouassi enjoyed himself more than most, bagging a hat-trick against his former employers.

With Marcus Wyllie replacing Adam Cunnington in the only change from last Monday’s loss at Potters Bar, Town were forced onto the back foot from the opening salvo.

Nathan McDonald had already made two decent saves before the first goal arrived on 19 minutes, Kouassi converting Danny Parish’s astute pass from close range.

Four minutes later it was 2-0 when Parish ran onto Reiss Chandler’s long ball as Town’s defence failed to react.

As the half progressed, Canvey continued to find vast amounts of space on both flanks while Town struggled to get a foothold in the game.

We did manage a couple of shots on target, with both Lyle Della Verde and the industrious Wyllie having efforts well saved by Rhys Byrne in the home goal.

Two minutes before half time, however, the game was over as a contest when Canvey added a third, Jamie Salmon flicking in a near post header from a left-wing freekick.

Town made two substitutions at half time, but things did not get any better, Kouassi adding a fourth after 50 minutes. Two minutes later, Conor Hubble rolled a shot against McDonald’s left-hand post, leaving the disbelieving travelling support fearful of the eventual final score.

 Town succeeded in mustering a few attacks, with Wyllie having another shot saved by Byrne, and Jake Cass having a header tipped over from Bilal Sayoud’s free kick.

After 70 minutes though, Kouassi completed his hat trick with a rebound from McDonald’s parry to compound Town’s misery.

To their credit, Town managed a consolation goal within two minutes, Cass converting substitute Juevan Spencer’s low cross.

Unforunately even the goal carried a sting in the tail for Town, as Cass collided with Byrne and had to be helped off in obvious pain from what looked like a knee injury.

With Town down to ten men having made their subs, Canvey promptly replaced both their strikers, and the remainder of the game was largely uneventful.

Not a lot of positives to be gained here. Truly a dreadful day to be a Town supporter.

Town line-up: McDonald, McLean, Braithwaite, Shulton, Bray, Taaffe (Spencer 45), Youngs, Cass, Wyllie (Cunnington 58), Della Verde (Dayton 45), Sayoud. Unused subs: Thomas, Connolly, Marfo, Coker

Blues In Butlers

We may not have a game on Saturday Oct 8 but don’t miss out on our latest fundraising gig the night before in Butlers Bar.

On Friday, Oct 7, the five-piece Blues Chapter bring their unique brand of driving Texas hotshot blues to the club with a mixture of their own compositions and covers of the likes of Gary Moore, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Bonamassa.

Tickets priced £10 can be purchased in advance by emailing  Christine Hamilton at  ianchrisham@hotmail.com. The bar opens at 7.30 and tickets will also be available on the door depending on how many are left.

These guys really know how to tear up a stage, led by the rasping vocals of charismatic front man Sky Wood and the brilliant guitar playing of Jesse Thomas.

It might be best to book early for this one since people have been known to have been turned away in the past for Blues Chapter gigs. They are, quite frankly, probably the finest young blues band in London – and all left-handed to boot!

Save the date!

FA Cup first qualifying round

We enter the world’s oldest domestic knockout tournament on Saturday with a tough fixture away at Canvey Island

With the winners receiving £2,250 in prize money, both teams would probably have hoped for an easier draw but this promises to be a fascinating cup tie.

Canvey were promoted via the play offs to the Isthmian Premier Division last season.

Their opening fixture was a 1-3 home defeat to Horsham but since then they have won 5-1 at Brightlingsea, lost 0-1 at Cray Wanderers, beat Hornchurch 2-1 at home and most recently drawn 1-1 at Bowers and Pitsea.

These results suggest Canvey will more than hold their own in the Isthmian Premier and may even be one of perhaps a dozen teams who could challenge for a play off spot.

Address on Saturday is the Movie Starr Stadium, Park Lane, Canvey Island, SS8 7PX, kickoff 3pm

If a replay is necessary it will be at the QEII Stadium on Tuesday 6 September.

Town Cruelly Beaten At Death

Potters Bar 2 Enfield Town 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

There sometimes ain’t no justice. Despite our best performance of the season to date, we came away with no points on Bank Holiday Monday and scant reward against our local rivals after dominating the second half.

Potters Bar may be top of the league but got lucky with a late winner on a day when our approach play and running off the ball deserved more.

The Scholars may argue they hit the post but with a 3-4-1-2 system that for large parts negated their physicality, we were left ruing what might have been and now have to pick ourselves up for the all-important FA Cup clash at Canvey Island on Saturday.

In the first meaningful attack of the game, the skillfull Quentin Monville, who will be a handful for most opposition teams this season, burst through and  saw his shot flash wide of our goal. Then Bar’s Kasim Aidoo was booked for diving when claiming a spotkick.

Once we absorbed early pressure, we settled down and grabbed the lead on 13 minutes with, yet again, another peach of a freekick from specialist Lyle Della-Verde.

If Saturday’s strike against Bowers was a thing of beauty, this was 30 yards out and even more sweetly struck (pictured). The keeper got a hand to it but only succeeded in pushing it on to a post and into the net.

Unfortunately the lead lasted a mere seven minutes as Mo Kamara, Bar’s midfield dangerman, was given space to line up a shot and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top right corner.

As  the action began to get tasty, as happens in derby games,  it all went off in front of the dugouts as players on both teams waded in. Luckily the referee gained control of the situation.

As the half progressed, a great freekick by Bilal Sayoud, who enjoyed a fine afternoon, almost produced dividends as Adam Cunnington connected  at the back post but only succeeded in sending the ball across goal.

Just before the interval, Rian Bray handled whilst struggling to deal with a hanging ball but the result was rightly yellow rather than red despite howls of Potters Bar protests.

H-T 1-1

On 55 minutes we got into something of mess defensively and were fortunate to see Joe Boachie’s angled shot come back of a post.

But from then on, it was one-way traffic as we pushed the hosts back and carved out a string of corners and half-chances.

A sweeping Town move ended with Scholars defence just getting in a block. Then a 35-yard Della-Verde freekick cannoned off the wall.

Our one big chance of the half came on 73 minutes when Cunnington dived full length to meet a Lewis Taaffe cross but steered his header narrowly wide.

The introduction of Marcus Wyllie and Andre Coker provided further hope of a Town breakthrough only for the hosts, who had  defended stoutly, to snatch victory with two minutes left, much to the disappointment of Town fans who made up the majority of the 531 attendance.

Town failed to adequately clear a throw-in and when the ball fell to Monville on the edge of the box, he took a touch and fired a shot into the bottom right hand corner via a deflection to undo all our good work.

“A sucker punch really,” said manager Andy Leese. “I thought we set up really well and defended really well in an even first half..”

“But I thought second half we came out and dominated proceedings.  There may have been few clearcut chances but what chances there were fell for us.”

“It’s massively disappointing, we certainly didn’t deserve to lose. We were missing one or two but I’m not going to complain about that – we’ve good a squad with plenty of depth. We’ve got to dust ourselves down now, focus on the FA Cup on Saturday and then start getting some points on the board as quickly as we can. If we play like we did against Potters Bar, I think we’ll be fine.”

Town

McDonald; McLean, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite; Taafe, Youngs, Shulton, Sayoud (Coker, 80); Della-Verde (Wyllie, 76); Cass, Cunnington

Town Secure First Win

Enfield Town 2 Bowers and Pitsea 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

A much-needed first win of the season was achieved courtesy of two set pieces – one in each half – and some solid defending against a Bowers team who have changed their entire playing squad this season.

Town may be some way off last season’s playoff form but this was the ideal boost ahead of Monday’s local derby at table-topping Potters Bar.

Despite plenty of endeavour, some neat interplay and a couple of spells of pressure, Bowers didn’t unnecessarily trouble us and had more bookings, six in all, than they did shots.

Nevertheless we hardly set the world alight as an attacking force either in what was often a scrappy game.

Town lined up without Marcus Wyllie who was rested as a result of slight hamstring issue.

 Jake Cass, who worked tirelessly all game,  led the line and was almost on the end of a Lyle Della-Verde pass early doors, the ball just running on to the keeper.

Twice in the first 20 minutes, Della-Verde whipped in dangerous freekicks to the back post, both of them eluding Town’s forwards.

But it was third time lucky on 28 minutes from a slightly more favourable position outside the box. Cass was bundled over and Lyle produced another of those trademark left-foot beauties that flew past Kie Plumley (pictured)

Bowers tried to respond and Freddy Moncur had a goalbound shot blocked but with James Richmond putting in another eye-catching display in central defence, the visitors’ moves came to nothing.

In fact only a timely interception to thwart Cass prevented Town doubling their lead on the stroke of halftime.

H-T 1-0

Bilal Sayoud’s header forced a low save from Plumley who minutes later produced an even better stop, also from Bilal, saving with his legs after Town’s best move of the afternoon.

In between, Bowers had two decent chances but Nathan McDonald generally had little work to do such was the protection he received from the defence, who switched to a back three for the final period of the game.

Bowers never looked out of contention, however, and it was with some relief when the game was made safe on 85 minutes as Cass lost his marker at a Lewis Taaffe  corner and guided his header into the ground and up into the net.

The one disappointment for Town was having fullback Ryan Kirwan sent off for a second yellow literally seconds from the end, theoretically meaning he will miss Saturday’s tricky FA cup tie at Canvey Island.

Yet it is a game Ryan was unavailable for anyway.

“I’m pleased with a clean sheet following on from last Sunday but in attacking sense we weren’t at our best today, not at our most fluid,”  said Andy Leese.

“Really pleased with the outcome and our defending, such as it was, just a little disappointed with our attacking play. But then whatever way the goals come, I’d take another 20 of those results today.”

Town: McDonald; McLean, Bray, Richmond, Kirwan; Sayoud (Cunnington, 66) , Shulton, Youngs, Dayton, Della-Verde (Taaffe, 83); Cass

Toothless Town play out Sunday Stalemate

Kingstonian 0-0 Enfield Town

Enfield Town are still searching for their first league win of the campaign after slugging out a forgettable goalless draw with Kingstonian on a stiflingly warm Sunday afternoon.

With the conditions and unusual scheduling impacting the quality of football on display, in truth neither side threatened seriously to break the deadlock; Ks enjoying large but ultimately ineffective spells of possession, and Town taking a particularly direct approach that paid very few dividends.

After a ragged start from both sides, the hosts had the first shot in anger on 8 minutes as Kenny Beaney drove a long shot over the crossbar, before Jake Cass centred for Marcus Wyllie to head into the grasp of Ks custodian Rob Tolfrey at the other end. The game’s flashpoint – if ever there was one – arrived two minutes later as Cass collected a flighted through ball down the inside-left channel, skipping past his marker and around Tolfrey before falling under contact from defender Jack Strange. Referee Paul Stratton whistled, only to signal for a Kingston free kick; an incredulous Cass booked for perceived theatrics.

Lee O’Leary’s side were starting to grow into the game, working space out wide and afforded time to pick out some neat passes, if ultimately coming to nothing. With 26 gone, Korrey Henry’s well-struck effort across Nathan McDonald from the edge of the Enfield box was smartly tipped away; Henry again unable to force a loose ball beyond the goalie from a floated cross a few minutes later. Town themselves struggled to find any real rhythm to their build-up play. Nonetheless, they threatened just shy of half time as Wyllie’s persistence in the press won possession in the final third, yet neither he nor Cass could muster a final product as their goalward efforts were crowded out.  

Half Time: 0-0

Town arguably had the better of the second period, although the visitors continued to lack any real cutting edge. Ten minutes after the restart, they were almost gifted a bizarre opener as a relieved Tolfrey watched his clearance ricochet against Jake Cass but fly narrowly wide of goal. A series of crosses were overhit or collected by the Kingston goalkeeper, and several hopeful long forward passes were returned with interest by the Ks defence. The home side’s best chance of the half came on 68 minutes, with McDonald remaining sharp to thwart Gabriel Ajuchi’s deflected shot at the end of a buccaneering run. With time ticking away, Lyle Della-Verde twice went close from carbon-copy chances; cutting in from the right and producing a couple of low, driven efforts which were well repelled by Tolfrey’s outstretched left boot.

“A point is a fair result”, said Andy Leese. “It was a bit of a nothing game. We didn’t do enough to win it, likewise we didn’t deserve to lose. I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get to grips with Kingstonian’s style of play, and we lacked a bit of composure when we had the ball.”

“I’m pleased with a clean sheet away from home but we could and should do better.”

__________

Kingstonian: Tolfrey; Pascal (Jones 81’), Skura, Strange, Ogundega; Gogo (Shomotun 80’), Owen, Beaney; Collins, Cadogan, Henry (Ajuchi 63’).

Unused: Bonnett-Johnson, Maragh

Town: McDonald; McLean, Bray, Richmond, Kirwan; Riley-Snow (Soulya-Osekanongo 75’), Youngs, Cunnington (Taaffe 80’); Della-Verde, Wyllie (Sayoud 70’), Cass.

Unused: Spencer, Dayton

Attendance: 275

Town Edged out in thriller

Hornchurch 3 Enfield Town 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

A pulsating encounter that was a wonderful advert for Step 3 sadly brought little reward for Town who succumbed to two late Hornchurch goals, rekindling those painful memories of our playoff semifinal defeat.

One point from two games may not be the start we wanted but it is doubtful we will have too many tougher challenges and Nathan McDonald (pictured) must feel aggrieved and frustrated in equal measure after pulling off four or five stunning saves.

It could certainly be argued we deserved something from the game for a battling performance that said everything about our spirit, industry and camaraderie.

 We also had more than a few good chances of our own but Hornchurch, with one of the most dangerous forward lines in the division,  would argue they were the superior team over 90 minutes and carved out more clearcut opportunities.

Having said that, we got off to a lightning start. With virtually the first attack of the game, Jake Cass was unlucky to see his looping header come back off the bar while former Towner Mickey Parcell cleared another effort off the line.

Rian Bray picked up an early booking before our luckless captain Scott Thomas had to leave the field with what looked like a bad shoulder injury and was replaced by Lyle Della-Verde.

The change didn’t phase us, however, and we took the lead on 22 minutes, Cass beating another former Towner Joe Wright from the penalty spot after Della-Verde was fouled.

It was almost 2-0 when the increasingly promising Marcus Wyllie just missed the target from a narrow angle but our lead lasted a mere four minutes, Liam Nash getting the final touch in a goalmouth scramble after we failed to clear.

As Hornchurch upped the ante, McDonald pulled off the first of several smart saves to thwart Tom Wraight. Then Joe Christou skimmed the crossbar but on 38 minutes we were back in front.

Kenny Clark was booked for a foul on Della-Verde, who got back on his feet to  thump home a sumptuous trademark freekick which came off both posts before nestling in the net.

Sam Higgins, scourge of Town in the playoff defeat, saw his bullet header miraculously parried by McDonald who moments later pulled off a remarkable double save with his legs. In between, Wyllie’s snap shot was pushed away at the other end by Wright.

H-T 2-1

With Hornchurch hurting us through the middle, we needed to keep the ball better and began the second half in precisely that vein.

A Sam Youngs header was mysteriously disallowed for offside, then Sam turned provider for Della-Verde whose shot was saved by the feet of Wright, Wyllie hitting the rebound just over.

But just as in the playoff ,the game turned on a Hornchurch substitution, Ola Ogunwamide causing havoc for the last 30 minutes.

Our resistance was finally broken on 77 minutes when the last in a flurry of home corners was flicked on for Nash to finish at the far post.

 Now it was a question of hanging on although James Richmond, who put in another commendable shift at the back,  could have put us immediately back in front, only to plant a header over from a rare Town corner.

A series of last-ditch blocks seemed to have got us over the line for a point . But with six minutes left of riproaring encounter, Ogunwamide sent over a pin-point centre which Wraight finished off with a glancing header.  

Still we weren’t finished with both Wyllie and Cass coming close to snatching a draw that would have been reward for all the hard work against an extremely accomplished side.

“We put in a good shift, I’m not going to complain,” said Andy Leese. “We had to reshuffle a bit with Scott going off which was a blow. There were just lapses of concentration, I guess much like the playoff semifinal.”

Town:

McDonald, McLean, Kirwan (Sayoud), Thomas (Della-Verde 14) , Bray, Richmond, Taaffe (spencer 86), , Youngs, Cass, Riley-Snow, Wyllie

Hornchurch Info

Tonight we visit Hornchurch in our first away league game of the season, kickoff 7:45 pm.

Their address is The Stadium, Bridge Avenue, Upminster RM14 2LX 

Admission Prices: – 

Adults £12.00

Concession £7.00

12-16 £3.00

Under 12 Free

Programme £2.50

Tickets available here:

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

Directions to the ground:

https://www.hornchurchfc.com/club-information/club-and-directions/

Hornchurch lost their opening game at Bognor Regis 0-1 on Saturday despite dominating the second half.

Our last meeting with the Urchins, the playoff semifinal defeat, is still painfully fresh in the memory for Town fans but in the corresponding league fixture we won 2-1. A similar result tonight would be a real coup but this is probably going to be one of our toughest games. 

Points Shared In The Heat

Enfield Town 1 Folkestone Invicta 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Despite the scorching conditions, two sides seeking nothing less than a playoff place come the end of April served up a commendably fast-paced encounter, with the points deservedly shared as the new season got under way.

Huge credit has to go to the ground staff who have worked tirelessly during the summer to present a playing surface to be proud of.

Our visitors, who won the corresponding fixture 3-2 last season and finished in sixth place just outside the playoff places, had half a dozen newcomers in their starting line-up including a couple of eye-catching forwards.

But just like last season when we reached the playoff semifinals, Town showed tremendous tenacity and spirit and had chances of our own to take all three points.

Invicta stormed out of the blocks with three quickfire chances,  the second of which brought a magnificent one-handed tip-over save from Nathan McDonald who later admitted it was probably one of his best ever. In between, Lyle Della Verde’s run and shot whistled past a post.

After growing into the game, we took the lead on 24 minutes shortly after the first drinks break.  Ryan McLean, given the nod at rightback, dispossessed  Folkestone dangerman Ira Jackson and his glorious ball over the top found Jake Cass who had only returned from a long-haul trip six hours before kickoff but kept his composure to round the on-rushing keeper and finish wonderfully from a tight angle (pictured).

One minute later we got lucky when Jackson’s angled shot looked all the world like an equaliser, only to bounce back into play off the post with McDonald beaten.

At the other end, one of many fouls on Cass led to a yellow card for Ian Gayle but Della Verde’s freekick was charged down.

 Folkestone thought they had levelled when Jackson’s long throw from the left was nodded home by Gayle but McDonald had clearly been impeded.

In an end-to-end half, another Della-Verde effort  was deflected away before a second drinks break was allowed with just minutes to go to halftime, much to the annoyance of our our visitors.

H-T 1-0

Folkestone again started on the front foot but we always carried a goal threat.

Invicta’s new keeper Bailey Vose kept them in the game with a terrific reflex stop from Lewis Taaffe, set up by Marcus Wyllie who had a highly encouraging league debut for Town after moving up from Step 5, not only going forward but also helping out defensively.

Just before the hour mark, however, it was 1-1. Kadell Daniel wasn’t closed down and cut inside two Enfield players before curling in an unstoppable equaliser despite Ryan Kirwan’s protestations that he had been fouled in the build-up.

Cue a trio of Enfield subs including Adam Cunnington and Blaise Riley-Snow, the latter having just signed forms on a dual registration shortly before the game.

 Only in the last quarter did the energy-sapping conditions get to the players, with crosses understandably overhit and chances drying up although Bilal Sayoud saw his goalbound drive deflected for a corner. All in all a good point against a strong side .

“A fair result in the end between two very good sides going at it,” said Andy Leese afterwards. “They are stronger than last year and their front three are as good as anyone’s. First half we were about even on chances but we could have been a couple of goals to the good. Second half we didn’t get as tight on Jackson and Daniels but after their goal they didn’t really trouble us.”

“Jake and Adam had only just come back from holiday yet I thought they were running scared of Jake. It was a great finish. I always say don’t lose to the teams around you and I think Folkestone will be one of those teams.”

Town:  McDonald; McLean, Bray, Richmond, Kirwan; Thomas, Taaffe (Riley-Snow, 64), Youngs, Della-Verde (Sayoud, 80 ); Cass (Cunnington, 60), Wyllie

Town bring in new Goalkeeping Coach

We are pleased to announce that Kyri Neocleous has been appointed First Team Goalkeeping Coach. Kyri is no stranger to Enfield Town as a former manager of Enfield Town Ladies, and was most recently GK Coach at National League South side Braintree Town. We wish all the best to Jake Murphy, who has departed the club.

Andy Leese commented: “We’re sorry to lose Jake but delighted to secure Kyri as an experienced coach.”

Blaise Riley-Snow and Cheshunt FC

Town are pleased to announce the signing of Blaise Riley-Snow on a dual registration from Cheshunt FC

Twenty three year-old defensive midfielder Blaise spent last season in Scotland, playing for Raith Rovers and Alloa Athletic having previously been a professional in Spain. Welcome to the club, Blaise.

Further to our dispute with Cheshunt with regards to Ben Frempah this summer, both clubs have now spoken and are keen to move on having accepted that mistakes were made around the registration of the player. As a club we recognise and thank Cheshunt for their help in allowing us to complete the dual registration of Blaise in a speedy fashion. Whilst the player has signed league forms, we wait to receive clearance that he will be eligible to play tomorrow.

Off we go again

After what seems like no time at all, the new season gets under way tomorrow (Saturday) as we entertain Folkestone Invicta in our opening league game, writes Andrew Warshaw.

 Last season Folkestone finished sixth, just outside the playoff places, and look likely to again feature in the promotion race.

 In the corresponding fixture last season we suffered a rare home defeat losing 2-3 in front of a crowd of 501 in early December.  

Our visitors have enjoyed a good pre-season concluding with a 1-0 win over National League south Dover Athletic and a 4-2 win over Ashford United. 

Tickets for Saturday’s home league game with Folkestone are available at

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/

In the build-up to the game, we are delighted to announce that Bilal Sayoud and Lyle Della-Verde have both re-signed for Town and George Rankin from our Academy has also signed.  Both Bilal and Lyle are available to play Saturday.

Manager Andy Leese says the bulk of the squad are now back from work or holiday commitments with only one or two absentees on what is certain to be an energy-sapping afternoon in the heat.

“It all starts again tomorrow in what will be a very difficult challenge,” said Andy. “Folkestone look to have built an even stronger squad  than they ended last season with, and in addition the weather will challenge the fitness of both teams.”

“We are good to go after some hard work on the training ground and we hope to have everyone available barring a couple of players absent on holiday, not just the starting 11 but the bench as well. We are in good spirits, ready to go and looking forward to seeing the stadium in good voice. We want to pick up where we left off last season and we need your support as always to do that.”

Fixture change

Our away fixture at Kingstonian, scheduled for Saturday Aug 20,  has been switched to the following day, Sunday Aug 21.

The reason is that Kingstonian’s landlord Tooting & Mitchum have a home cup tie on the Saturday.

Kickoff time remains at 3pm

The Big Step

Enfield Town are very proud to be partnering with The Big Step this season to support their campaign to remove gambling advertising in football. The Big Step are part of the Gambling with Lives Charity. More information on their campaign can be found here. 

the-bigstep.com/home

Our Chairman, Paul Reed said: “We know that gambling can and does have a huge detrimental impact on individuals and family life and as a community club we are proud to be associated with Gambling with Lives and the Big Step. “

Pre-season ends on a high

Enfield Town 2 Berkhamsted 0

Enfield Town’s final pre-season friendly resulted in a low-key 2-0 victory over a well-organised Berkhamsted side, writes Martin Bentley.

The stifling heat resulted in a slow-paced game that will undoubtedly bear little resemblance to next Saturday’s opening league fixture against Folkestone, although Town’s overall performance was encouragingly efficient.

Neither side succeeded in troubling the goalkeepers in the opening half hour, although Lewis Taaffe shot narrowly over, and Marcus Wyllie missed inexplicably from five yards after being set up by Ryan Kirwan.

The first on-target efforts came from the visitors, both being dealt with well by Nathan McDonald, but Town got their noses in front after 41 minutes, with Lyle Della Verde curling a trademark sublime freekick past visiting keeper Craig Hill.

The second half continued in similar soporific vein, not helped by the inevitable procession of substitutions. Taaffe had a shot well saved after being set up by Wyllie, and Della Verde shot narrowly over before Town scored a second after 79 minutes. Once again the assist came from the industrious Wyllie, his pass being converted by a triallist from close range.

Town line-up: McDonald, Spencer, Kirwan, Thomas, Bray, Richmond, Taaffe, Youngs, Wyllie, Triallist, Della Verde.

Subs: Braithwaite, Connolly, Marfo, Sayoud, Smith, Wihongi, Wilkes, Triallist

Huge thanks to Spurs academy

The club continue to get the QEII ready for the eagerly awaited start of the season. Back in May we were joined by first-year players from Spurs Academy.  The under 18s teamed up with our band of volunteers to help out with a range of jobs, from sweeping the terraces to weeding.

After meeting volunteers and getting to grips with a range of jobs across the stadium site, the players met with Vice-Chairman Paul Millington and his team to learn more about the important role the community plays in supporting grassroots football. 

Speaking after meeting the players, Paul Millington, Vice-Chairman of Enfield Town FC, said: “It was fantastic to welcome the boys to Enfield Town FC and great to see them getting stuck into their jobs with such enthusiasm. 

“Clubs like ours depend on the incredible support we’re lucky to receive from a committed band of volunteers within the community. It was great to show the boys first-hand the work that goes into running a Club at this level.” 

Anton Blackwood, Senior International Football Development Manager at Tottenham Hotspur, said: “The boys were a credit to the Club and showed a huge amount of willingness to help out and work together with volunteers.  

“We have long been a Club embedded within our community – both in Tottenham and Enfield – and it was brilliant to see the players enjoy playing an active and important role in the local area”.  

Our thanks to Spurs and we look forward to welcoming them to the QEII again soon.

(picture produced with the permission of THFC)

Three More Additions

We are pleased to announce another three additions to Town’s squad for this season, who you may have seen in recent pre-season action:

Centre-back James Richmond has joined us for 2022-23. The 27-year-old had been skipper at Merstham for the last three seasons and was previously at Burgess Hill Town, where he was voted their Player of the Season in 2017. He’s also had stints with Carshalton, Kingstonian and Leatherhead.

Another central defender to sign with us for 22-23, who will likely be familiar to a number of you, is Rian McLean. 23-year-old Rian started out with Leyton Orient’s academy and enjoyed an initial stint with us in 2018 following an impressive trial period, before signing a deal to join Doncaster Rovers. He has also represented Hendon, Margate, Sheffield FC and most recently Witham Town.

The third signing to bring you is young midfielder Kian Wilkes, who has progressed from Enfield Town’s U19 academy to the first team this pre-season. He has spent the past couple of seasons with Leverstock Green – winning their Young Player and Manager’s Player of the Season awards last term – and he came off the bench to set up our first goal on Saturday at Hayes & Yeading.

Welcome, lads!

Town Defeated Despite Fightback

Hayes and Yeading United 3 Enfield Town 2

The scoreline may have flattered us somewhat but there were more than a few mitigating circumstances surrounding Saturday’s defeat to fellow Step 3 opponents in our penultimate pre-season friendly, writes Andrew Warshaw

Firstly Hayes and Yeading, who lost in the Southern League Premier Division South  playoff final last term, were a week ahead of us in their preparations, kicking off their league campaign next weekend.

Secondly, they had almost  a full-strength side. Perhaps most importantly of all, we were missing at least EIGHT players who might ultimately be considered members of the first-team squad.

Certainly at one stage it looked as if we might be overrun by a slick, quick-thinking, one-touch-passing H and Y side, reminiscent of that 7-1 drubbing almost exactly a year ago.

Yet it must be emphasised we are still a work in progress and one could only feel for the management team in terms of planning with so many key players absent for one reason or another.

However superior H and Y were for long stretches, there were definitively positives to take away from the game, not least another eye-catching performance from young Marcus Wyllie who is surely getting ever-closer to playing his way into consideration for a starting spot on Aug 13.

Hayes were quickly out of the blocks and twice came close in the opening couple of minutes though Town, too, could have gone ahead had Bilal Sayoud produced a stronger shot when rounding the keeper.

 The deadlock was broken on 16 minutes when Keano Robinson’s 20-yard strike was hit so powerfully, Nathan McDonald could hardly react.

 A great block by Juevan Spencer, who again looked to be an excellent signing, prevented a second goal while at the other end Lewis Taaffe was through on goal but lost his footing at the vital time.

The hosts doubled their lead on 25 minutes when Cole Brown took advantage of defensive hesitancy and curled a sublime effort  into the far corner.

Town then survived no fewer than three more gilt-edged H and Y chances before the break including a Mo Bettamer freekick that  smashed through the wall and almost pole-axed McDonald who somehow managed to stand firm.

H-T 2-0

Both sides made a flurry of halftime changes but it wasn’t long, despite us switching formation, before our hosts made the game safe, Robinson curling another unstoppable effort beyond McDonald for 3-0.

Whilst it might be argued that H and Y took their foot of the gas, Town commendably never gave up and finished the stronger. On 79 minutes,  Wyllie superbly held off his marker to reduce the deficit with a composed finish.

Appeals for a H and Y penalty were waved away before, six minutes from time, Wyllie turned provider for Bruno Tavares to slot home.

“A good workout against very strong opposition who begin their league campaign in a week but frustrating that we don’t have anything like the squad we will have available in two weeks,” was Andy Leese’s assessment.

“Some good performances across the group we had available, and a chance to familiarise some combinations but still lots of work two do before we start in two weeks.”

Town starting line-up

McDonald; Spencer, Bray, Richmond, Kirwan; Thomas, Shulton, Taaffe, Tavares; Wyllie, Sayoud

Subs: Connolly, Jordan, Marfo, Wilson-Braithwaite, Wilkes, Smith, McLean

Taaffe Hat-trick Seals Latest Win

Ware 1 Enfield Town 4

Enfield Town recorded a comfortable 4-1 win over Ware in their latest pre-season friendly, played for the Sean Mynott Memorial Shield, writes Martin Bentley.

 In an open encounter, with Town again fielding a mixture of available regulars and newcomers, a hat-trick from the unlikely source of Lewis Taaffe saw the Town home after being matched for more than an hour by their hosts.

Town succeeded in getting their noses in front after only four minutes when Lyle Della Verde’s 30-yard free kick deflected off a home defender, leaving the Ware keeper wrong footed, frustrated, and standing by the wrong post.

Ware gained the upper hand for a while, stretching the Town defence on the flanks but only managed shots off target. For Town, Marcus Wyllie had a shot well saved, and Ware’s keeper did well to cut out a number of dangerous crosses, before the home side levelled after 43 minutes, from a penalty that can only be politely described as ‘soft’.  Ex-Towner Sam Chaney sent Nathan McDonald the wrong way from the spot.

H-T 1-1

The second Town goal arrived after 56 minutes, with Wyllie’s perseverance after his shot was saved resulting in a cut-back to Taaffe and an excellent finish.

The home side were unlucky not to be level again on the hour when McDonald brilliantly tipped a 20-yard first timer onto the crossbar.

Town eventually made the game safe with two goals in three minutes from a goal-hungry Taaffe, the first a looping far-post header from Wynford Marfo’s cross after 71 minutes; the second a neat lob from the excellent Wyllie’s headed pass.

There was still time for an excellent save from sub keeper Adi Connolly near the end, but by then the Town win was confirmed.

Town line-up: McDonald, Marfo, Braithwaite, Thomas, Richmond, McLean, Taaffe, Youngs, Wyllie, Tavares, Della Verde.

Subs: Shulton, Wilkes, Bray, Jordan, Whyte, Connolly

Defence Strengthened With Trio

Three defensive reinforcements to bring you; with one retained and two new signings who you may have seen in recent pre-season action.

Firstly, versatile defender Josh McLeod-Urquhart – gradually back on the road towards recovery – has signed on for the 2022-23 campaign. He started last season well with three wins and two clean sheets before a season-ending injury at the end of August. He will be looking to add to his 27 appearances and three goals for the club once fully fit again. Welcome back, Josh (pictured with Andy Leese)

We also welcome two defensive additions to the club in Wynford Marfo and Dequane Wilson-Braithwaite. Dequane spent time with Carshalton Athletic and Potters Bar last season, and has also turned out for Welling Town and Maldon & Tiptree. Right-sided defender Wynford was a regular in Leyton Orient’s Under-18s side before most recently representing St Neots Town.

Andy Leese commented on the two: “Both are really good lads; good characters; good pedigree. Both have been with professional clubs: Dequane’s been at Spurs and then Luton, and Wynford’s been at [Leyton] Orient. They’ve come out of the professional game and into non-league clubs – they were at St Neots last year together, for example – but they’ve been very impressive. They’re disciplined boys, they work extremely hard, and they’ve come in and really impressed us with their ability and versatility. Thanks to Mark Salton at 12 Mountains Agency for helping get them in.”

Jake On Board

The club are delighted to confirm that striker Jake Cass has agreed to stay at Enfield Town for the 2022-23 campaign.

The ever-popular Jake joined from Bishop’s Stortford mid-way through last season and hit 10 goals in 18 appearances for the Town.

Welcome back, Jake!

Club Statement

The club has recently discovered an issue concerning the registration of a player.

This has been raised with the Football Association who will rule over the matter in due course. The other club involved is Cheshunt.

Given the dispute the club has decided not to partake in the tournament at Theobalds Lane this Saturday.

The club apologise for any inconvenience caused and will make donations to the charities connected to Saturday’s event.

The dangers of gambling

Enfield Town FC are proud to support  The Big Step,  a campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football, led by those who have been personally harmed.

The Big Step are part of Gambling with Lives,  a charity set up by the families and friends of young people who have taken their own lives as a direct result of gambling. 

The campaign delivers gambling awareness sessions and a string of other initiatives designed to discourage players from gambling.

Earlier this month, more than 60 people affected by gambling – including families who have lost loved ones–  walked from Manchester to Liverpool to demand gambling reform.

With the online gambling industry increasingly pervasive in lower-league football, there is a growing need to update the  UK’s 2005 Gambling Act which is now out of date.

Non-league clubs are particularly susceptible and The Big Step  wants a blanket ban on gambling advertising in football.

Last week’s ETFC members meeting included a special appearance from  Chris Gilham, who stepped in on Zoom to replace The Big Step founder James Grimes, a former gambling addict, in speaking to members to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding gambling.

Chris gave a passionate account of  how the practice had affected him personally and how at one stage he considered taking his own life.

“It affects both your mental and physical health,” said Chris who revealed that a petition launched by the Big Step already has some 67,000 signitures. “We need to get all gambling sponsorship out of football, not just on shirts but all advertising.”

Saints Too Strong

Enfield Town 1 St Albans City 4

A mixture of registered players and triallists were put through their paces on Tuesday on a searingly hot evening that required several drinks breaks, writes Andrew Warshaw.

As expected, Step 2 St Albans, who knocked Forest Green Rovers out of the FA Cup last season, proved formidable opposition especially since Town were without a number of unavailable key players.

A couple of our players took early knocks which meant changes had to be made quicker than the management might perhaps have anticipated but everything is still in its development phase as we build towards that all-important opening league game in  mid-August.

Early doors, Adam Cunnington’s quickly taken freekick was helped on by James Dayton for Jake Cass to see his header blocked but Jake was narrowly offside anyway.

St Albans soon grasped the initiative and went ahead after 12 minutes with a lightning move down the right which a triallist, believed to have been on Brentford’s books, finished off by finding the corner of the net.

Nathan McDonald was forced into a fine save from  Liam Sole but we, too, were creating chances.

Fouled just outside the boss,  Cass almost found the net with the resultant freekick, then planted a header wide after good work by Wynford Marfo.

Right on halftime, however, the visitors doubled their lead with the kind of goal that demonstrated their National League South status as they showed dazzling pace, again down the right and again converted by the same triallist.

H-T 0-2

Changes aplenty were made at halftime to give as many of the squad as possible a run-out and we got back in the game on 67 minutes as the St Albans keeper took out Juevan Spencer and Sam Youngs scored from the spot.

Adam Cunnington came within a whisker of levelling but couldn’t quite adjust his feet before Saints made the game safe.

First Chez Isaac stole in at the far post to lash home a corner, then Ryan Kirwan was unjustly adjudged to have given away a penalty and Joe Neal did the rest.

“Another decent workout against good opposition” was Andy Leese’s appraisal. “It gave us a chance to look at some more players and different combinations as well as getting valuable game time for a couple who have missed some sessions.”

Members Meeting July 14, Part 2

Players come and players go but Andy Leese believes the squad being gathered for the new season will be just as competitive as during the last campaign.

“We’ve lost some players we didn’t really want to lose but it’s that time of the year,” Andy told last week’s  members meeting when giving a frank and honest appraisal of the current situation.

Andy, like the chairman, has spoken several times to Mo Faal in recent weeks but while Mo decides where his future lies with his contract having expired, the focus is on those who back in training and playing pre-season games including new signings Juevan Spencer, Scott Shulton, Marcus Wyllie, James Dayton and Ben Frempah.

“Whilst we are sorry to lose certain players the key is to focus on what you’ve got,” said Andy. “So far, so good. I’m really pleased with the attitude. I of course understand Mo wants to move up a level and try and become a full-time professional. I’ve invited him into training and will try and work my magic again by persuading him he belongs here but you have to respect the guy. He did what he said he would last season with his goals and I’m a bit surprised no-one has taken a chance on him yet.”

Andy made the point that there are goals all over the pitch in terms of the players who have already committed themselves including Adam Cunnington, Sam Youngs, Jake Cass and Lyle Della-Verde.

In response to a question about Andre Coker, who has been out of the game for disciplinary reasons, Andy said Andre was keen to right the wrongs of the past when he becomes available again.

“He’s been very humbled by events and really wants to come back. He’s pretty remorseful and I’ve seen a change in him and am prepared to give him another go,” said Andy.

The manager made a point of praising everyone responsible for maintaining  our pitch during the summer. “The work that’s gone on is first class, nothing short of incredible.”

He also gave an insight into how the state of the pitch determines selection. “There is no way back in February, say, that we could play football from the back. That’s why we played more directly when it suited us. All the players felt the same way.”

Reflecting on our playoff defeat to Hornchurch, Andy believes being shorn of crucial players so late in the day, including Scott Thomas, Lee Chappell and Nathan Smith, affected proceedings

“I’ve done a lot of soul searching and I genuinely thought we were in a winning position. With some extra experience on the pitch  we might have made some different calls.”

But onwards and upwards with the following message to the supporters.

“The support we get wherever we’ve been has been nothing short of fantastic. The players love it and so do I. I always tell the players about us being owned by the supporters and what that means. They all have a stake in us. I remember when we got battered at Eastleigh in the cup. We had a torrid time and were all doing Covid tests  before we even got on the coach. We took a side that was nowhere near full strength but the support  that day sticks in my memory. It’s the sense of belonging.”

And the ambitions for the season? “We want to do at least as well and try and go one better. We’ve got the nucleus of players and are again a top five team. Which of those places we take, I don’t know. We also want to go deep into the cups competitions which brings both prestige and revenue.”

Andy was joined at the meeting by Sam Youngs and Adam Cunnington, both of whom expressed the same sentiments about the fans and the work that has been done on the pitch.

“The increase in fan numbers really helps us a lot,” said Adam. “It’s all set up to realistically go to the next level. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t match last season. That’s why we re-signed, not just so we can have a chat with our mates and be a mid-table side.”

“There are teams who spend a lot more money,” added Sam. “But player for player, every time we go on the pitch we think we can win. We may not necessarily always be favourites on paper but we have kept the core of the team. And the biggest thing we’ve got in our favour  is our togetherness.”

Members Meeting, July 14

This year’s annual pre-season members meeting was conducted both in person at Butler’s Bar and on Zoom.

It was in two sections, with the chairman and vice-chairman taking the floor for the first part, reflecting on last season and looking ahead, followed by the manager and two players, Sam Youngs and Adam Cunnington

Part One (Paul Reed and Paul Millington)

Paul Reed

The chairman began by pointing out that gates were up last season by 40 percent on our previous completed season. This meant we were able to maintain a strong playing budget and allowed us to be financially stable despite the impact of Covid and enabled us to bring in the likes of Jake Cass. Paul recalled we achieved our highest ever points position and points per game at Step 3.

As regards stewarding we will be utilising the professional stewards who were employed towards the end of last season and who are all first-aid trained.

We are looking at making a profit for the 2nd season running, said PR, a rarity in itself. Improved gates means additional revenue from the bar, shop etc and less reliability on one individual source of income.

The academy remains an important source of income whilst our debt position is much improved. On the field, the academy won their regional league to compete in the Champion of Champions and lost narrowly to Chelmsford who went on to win the entire competition.

Despite the women’s first team getting relegated, the women’s section is in good health especially at youth level.

As far as the community section is concerned, the Saturday morning soccer schools still attract over 100 kids while the disability section continues to grow. Our social media presence is much improved, giving us extra profile.

On the technical side, the first team players are now equipped with GPS tracking systems to ascertain how fast they run, heartbeats etc. This is used extensively for analysis by the coaching staff and represents an important innovation.

A colour promotional brochure showcasing the club and at no cost to ETFC is almost at the printing stage and will be distributed throughout the local area in the build-up to the new season. 

Paul Millington

Paul focussed on an extensive outline plan for a new 700 sq metre single storey facility, prompted by the need to expand the academy. To increase the intake, we need more accommodation. At present classrooms are restricted to the bar area and portacabins.

Planning permission has been submitted for an additional couple of cabins. Not yet formally granted but likely on condition that it would only be a temporary situation for 3 years, with a permanent solution in place by then.

The unused grassed area behind the portacabins has been identified as the most likely possibility since Butlers Bar itself is a listed building. It will include a bigger bar and the club shop and provide classrooms for the academy during the day. It will also be available for functions. Discussions are underway with the Football Foundation to see what funds might be available as well as with the LBE.

Paul Reed

All players from last season were invited back for pre-season. Some decided not to take up the offer and the coaching staff have been working hard to identify how the gaps can be filled. PR mentioned James Dayton, Marcus Wyllie and Scott Shulton as new arrivals and later in the meeting the signing of centrehalf Ben Frempah was announced.

Team spirit last season was the best PR had ever seen and the same togetherness will be important. PR disclosed that players’ personalities were just as important a factor as playing ability when brought to the club in order to foster team spirit.

PR said there was a deliberate plan to get quality pre-season opposition and heaped praise on those who have been tending our pitch. Season ticket sales going strong, with over 100 already, while NHS season ticket offer and Go To Town has been extended.

In terms of sponsorship, WWE was always a one-season deal. Negotiations are at an advanced stage to announce a new main sponsor.

Finally, Paul introduced the concept of potentially replacing the playing surface with an artificial pitch and outlined the pros and cons.

The pros include a strong driver of revenue, potential success on the pitch (Aveley, Worthing, Dorking etc), providing a consistent playing style, saving money on hiring outside facilities and dealing with extreme weather conditions, whether winter or summer.

The risks include the need for commercial borrowing, whether supporters may be disenchanted, potential long-term injury risks, conflict with athletics at peak times and the need for more on-site presence .

In terms of costings, PR laid out the following estimates:

Installation – £600,000-700,000

Equipment/booking management system – £10,000

Extra staff – £10,000 pa

Need to save £250,000 over 10 years in order to replace the artificial pitch with another one at that point.

Total cost over 10 years would be approx £1m and PR estimates that we would need to hire the pitch out for 10 to 12 hours a week to break even.

The proposal is to engage with relevant stakeholders and then, at the agm  in January, put a business plan in front of the members ahead of a potential vote.

(Part 2 of the meeting will be published tomorrow)

Kick-Off Change

Because of the unseasonally hot weather, we are pushing kick-off against St Albans City in our pre-season friendly tomorrow (Tuesday) back to 8pm.

The temperature by then is likely to be lower than when we played in at Cockfosters or Maidstone.

We advise supporters not to attend if they have any health conditions that may be impacted by the heat (we can refund any tickets already purchased if they contact the club).  We are also stress to our volunteers that they have no obligation to attend.

Stones Too Good for Town

Maidstone United inflicted Enfield Town’s first defeat of pre-season with a comfortable 6-1 win on a sweltering afternoon at the Gallagher Stadium.

In truth this was a very useful test for our gradually-developing squad against National League opposition, and while the hosts demonstrated their quality throughout, Town did fashion a number of chances which on another day might have seen them leave with more than the single goal for their efforts.

Both sides attempted to build during the opening exchanges, though the hosts had the first real chance as James Alabi spun his marker well but was denied by the legs of the returning Nathan McDonald. The Town ‘keeper was powerless a couple of minutes later, as Sol Wanjau-Smith found room along the left-hand channel and squared to Sam Corne who had time and space to pick out the bottom corner.

Not that this appeared to dent the visitors’ confidence, as Jake Cass lined up an effort from 20 yards and was only denied an instant equaliser by the crossbar. Just as Town looked to grow into the game, however, Maidstone hit a second as Roarie Deacon was released down the right and pulled back for Henry Woods to steer home. Again Town broke beyond the halfway line and tried in vain to create – often lacking a clinical final pass – and again Stones were ruthless in their response by adding goals three and four within eight minutes. Summer addition Alabi skipped past two defenders to curl one in from the edge of the area, before he played a role in the fourth; drawing in a Town defender and allowing Wanjau-Smith freedom to latch onto a looping pass and finish across McDonald for four.

To their credit, Town recovered and began to work some clearer opportunities towards the end of the half; Jake Cass played in behind and narrowly denied while attempting to round goalie Yusuf Mersin, before Enfield did pull one back on 36 minutes. Cass was put through for a carbon-copy chance, this time opted to shoot, and while his effort was well repelled by Mersin’s feet, Marcus Wyllie was on hand to knock in the rebound for his first Enfield Town goal.

Ryan Kirwan, playing in a more advanced role down the left, met a header from a free-kick before two huge chances for each side on half-time as Alabi rattled the post with an audacious scissor kick; at the other end, Marcus Wyllie’s persistent pressing on the edge of the Stones box allowed him to dig out a low cross towards Cass, whose shot on the slide bobbled agonisingly wide of the mark from close-range.

HT: Maidstone United 4-1 Enfield Town

Town introduced Adam Cunnington for Wyllie, Wynford Marfo for Lewis Taaffe and academy product Lucas Jordan for Ryan Kirwan in the second period as McDonald was again pressed into action to deny a Maidstone trialist and then Regan Booty with two good stops. Cunnington miscued a header and Jordan showed some promising involvements, including an impressive solo run along the left flank; the resulting corner met by a combination of Nathan Smith and another academy graduate, Kian Wilkes. The two-step difference between the sides would eventually tell twice more in the final six minutes, as substitutes Dominic Odusanya and Perri Iandolo each produced terrific long-range efforts to put the gloss on the home side’s victory.

“I’m not keeping count; I never have done in a pre-season game”, said Andy Leese.

“Some real positives, one or two little negatives… some good lessons for us as well today.”

“We’re playing against a very good outfit today who have all the momentum having come out of the division below and then added some players. You can see the difference in the levels.”

Ben Frempah signs on

Quality centre halves are hard to come by so we are delighted to have signed Ben Frempah from Hayes & Yeading United.

Italian-born Ben, a 27-year-old ex-professional,  was virtually ever-present in the United side which finished runners up in the Southern South Premier last season before falling to defeat in the Play-Off Final against Farnborough, just failing to gain promotion to Step 2.

Early on in his career Ben jumped seven tiers to join Leicester City and made his professional debut with Ross County north of the border.

Other clubs he has played for include Hendon, Guiseley and Solihull Moors before getting another professional chance with Wycombe Wanderers. He has also turned out  briefly for Wingate & Finchley.

“He fits the profile of what I think we need,” said Towners manager Andy Leese. “I think we’re quite fortunate to get him to be honest. He had some other options but I managed to convince him this was the place to play his football.”

Welcome Ben

Great Night All Round

Enfield Town 3 Tottenham Hotspur under-21s 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

A fantastic crowd of 841 saw us overcome a strong Tottenham Hotspur development squad – supplemented by the surprise appearance of a former Spurs household name – with an excellent display that augers well for the upcoming weeks and months.

You only have to look at last season’s dire pre-season form, followed by a memorable campaign,  to know that nothing can be taken for granted one way or the other.

But there was a sense of optimism and positivity as we gave a tremendous account of ourselves despite still being without a string of players who are still unavailable through various commitments.

On a balmy evening, it was fitting that our player of the season Sam Youngs revelled in the occasion, opening the score after just three minutes by sweeping the ball into the bottom corner after excellent build-up play from Adam Cunnington and new signing Marcus Wyliie who might well have had a hattrick on the night.

Adi Connolly kept us in the lead with a superb stop from Max Robson following a left-wing cross from a certain Danny Rose — training again at Spurs after apparently seeking to leave Watford, and allowed to appear as an over-age player.

The sight of Rose lining up against Town certainly added extra interest and only served to galvanise us more even though right on the half-hour Spurs were back in the game, Roshaun Mathurin converting from the spot after being fouled by the returning Scott Shulton.

Halftime brought a wave of substitutions by both sides and just after the restart Wyllie almost put us back in front – not once but twice. First his snap shot was brilliantly saved by Aaron Maguire, then Mcguire somehow got a hand to Marcus’ goalbound looping header.

But it wasn’t much longer before we restored our lead. Youngs was fouled on the edge of the box and when his freekick was pushed away, Cunnington supplied the finish (pictured).

It was a far cry from last season’s 4-0 defeat in the corresponding fixture. Although Spurs understandably had plenty of the ball, they didn’t manage to hurt us too often and on the hour we extended our lead.

Wyllie was alleged to have been barged over by Kallum Cesay inside the box and Youngs sent the keeper the wrong way with the penalty.

As we tired, it was inevitable that our fully professional under-21 opponents, a couple of whom had represented the senior Tottenham side, would finish the stronger.

After a number of the more experienced members of Wayne Burnett’s squad came off the bench, a 20-yard  thunderbolt from Nile John reduced the arrears and set up a close finale.

But we did superbly to hold out and next up Maidstone on Saturday followed by St Albans City at home on Tuesday.

Town starting line-up: Connolly, Muleba, Bray, Trialist, Marko, Dayton, Shulton, Youngs (c), Kirwan, Cunnington, Wyllie.

Two more retained, one rejoins

We’re very pleased to announce two retained players and a new (if somewhat familiar) addition to the squad for the 2022-23 campaign.

Goalie Nathan McDonald (pictured) and full-back Ryan Kirwan – two key members of last season’s playoff side – have committed to the club for next season. Welcome back, lads!

We’re also delighted to welcome back midfielder Scott Shulton, who rejoins Enfield Town having most recently been with Hayes & Yeading United.

Scott chipped in with 34 appearances and six goals during our playoff run in 2016-17, and brings with him a wealth of experience having represented St Albans City, Braintree, Wingate & Finchley, and Hemel Hempstead Town among others. He was part of the squad for yesterday’s  pre-season win over Cockfosters and came on in the 2nd half.

Up and Running

Cockfosters 0 Enfield Town 1

Lyle Della-Verde’s sweet first-half strike (pictured) earned us a 1-0 win over neighbours Cockfosters on Saturday in the first of our pre-season fixtures, writes Andrew Warshaw.

On a glorious afternoon, we fielded a mixture of familiar names, new signings and young triallists as the squad begins to take shape ahead of the new season.

We have only had a couple of training sessions and a number of players were unavailable through either work or social commitments – not unusual at this time of the summer.

But it was a highly useful workout just the same and there were several eye-catching performances, not least from our new rightback Juevan Spencer  who, like many of those selected, played one half as manager Andy Leese rung the changes at halftime to have a look at as many players as he could.

It may have been a narrow victory against our Step 5 opponents on a tricky, sun-scorched pitch but it was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests with plenty of positives to take away ahead of Tuesday’s high-profile home game against a Tottenham Hotspur development squad which is likely to represent a far tougher but eagerly anticipated challenge.

Three More Sign On

As the squad for 22-23 begins to take shape, we are happy to report that three more players have signed on the dotted line for the season ahead: Nathan Smith, Jon Muleba, and Lewis Taaffe have all agreed terms to stay at Donkey Lane for another season. Welcome back, lads!

Pre-Season Fixtures Update

We’re pleased to confirm two more additions to our pre-season calendar for the 2022-23 season.

  • We’ll visit old friends Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium on Saturday 16th July [k.o 15:00]
  • We’ll welcome Berkhamsted FC to the QEII Stadium on Saturday 6th August [k.o 15:00]

Two more retained

We are pleased to announce that two more of last season’s squad, skipper Scott Thomas and defender Rian Bray, have been retained.

As the squad continues to take shape, Scott (pictured) and Rian have both committed themselves to the club for the forthcoming campaign.

COYT!

James Raring To Go

 When James Dayton, our newly-signed winger, was offered the chance to come and play for Enfield Town, he didn’t think twice, writes Andrew Warshaw.

Born in the borough, James lived much of his early life in Ladysmith Road not far from the QEII and, as a four-year-old, would go and watch the old Enfield.

Not just watch. He also played for them even though he hadn’t reached the requisite age of five.

“My step grandad took me over to the club and told them they had to take me even though I was still only four,” James explained. “I ended up playing a year above my age, if you like.”

The rest, as they say, is history. James joined Crystal Palace as a 10-year-old and, when the time arrived, went on to enjoy a long professional career that embraced clubs in both England and Scotland.

Now 33, after a season at national league south Dulwich Hamlet, he is coming back to his roots even though he had several other offers.

“I’m getting on a bit now and whilst it might sound cliched, the chance to come back and go full circle, if you like,  is a wonderful feeling,” said James. “The gaffer didn’t really need to sell me the club. I knew last year they just fell short so I’m here to try and help them go one better.”

“The first two training sessions have been great. The lads have really welcomed me. I could tell straight away why they’ve been up there for the last couple of campaigns. I can already see the togetherness in the group. That counts for a lot when you want to push for promotion.”

James is too modest to say what qualities he will bring to the club but 17 years of experience is certainly one of them.

“I may have lost a little bit of pace but I want to help in any way I can. I’ve won two promotions and what I will say is that I will give 100 percent in every game.”

Sam and Adam

We are very pleased to confirm that Sam Youngs and Adam Cunnington have agreed terms to stay with Enfield Town for another season.

Midfielder Sam (pictured) has clocked up 194 competitive appearances for the Town, and won last year’s Goal of the Season, Players’ Player & Members’ Player of the Year awards while forward Adam assisted 11 goals and scored seven times last term, including crucial goals against Hornchurch and Bognor Regis.

New Signings

We are delighted to announce the signings of experienced winger James Dayton and exciting young striker Marcus Wyllie.

Enfield-born James, who began his career at Crystal Palace, most recently turned out for Dulwich Hamlet – and also counts Leyton Orient, Oldham and Kilmarnock among his former sides.

Manager Andy Leese (pictured with James) commented: “We are very pleased to get James to the club. He’s a very experienced player who will bring some real quality to the group.”

“As an ex-professional with plenty of promotions under his belt, he brings a winning mentality into the squad. He’s a great lad who really wanted to be here. He’s an Enfield lad who  and returns to where his football journey began as a young boy.”

Also joining us this season is exciting young striker Marcus Wyllie. Marcus signs from Risborough Rangers, who described him as having “the ability to score goals at will” – he chalked up an impressive 36 of them last term.

“Marcus has come to us highly recommended by no less than one of ETFC’s former favourites!” said the manager. “He has developed in the last two seasons, and is hungry to take his chance at this level. We look forward to working with Marcus in pre-season and hopefully he will pick up where he left off last season scoring goals.”

After 94 appearances, seven goals and a stint as captain across a couple of spells with us, midfielder Percy Kiangebeni has departed the club. We thank Percy for his service and wish him all the best. We hope to bring you more news of how the squad is taking shape over the coming days.

Manny Moves On

All the best to midfielder Manny Maja who has decided to move on up the League pyramid. Our Young Player of the Year for 21-22, he made 35 appearances for the Town, and was Man of the Match 3 times – we wish him well for a very bright future!

Message from the chairman

I hope you are all enjoying the summer and are slowly getting over the disappointment of our play-off defeat?!

The board and management team are fully focussed on the new season ahead and are working hard to provide the best budget and playing squad for the new campaign. The management staff of Andy, Mario, Ian, Jake & John are all committed to another year and are determined to build on the improvement that we saw last season.

On the playing front, as a club we don’t operate with too many contracts so we have to wait until league registration forms are issued before “signing” and announcing players.  I appreciate that there is always a thirst for information at this time of year, but please be patient with us. Our trial matches start this weekend and pre-season training commences at the end of next week, it’s at this point that you will start to see announcements of players re-signing or joining the club. 

All of last season’s squad were invited to return for pre-season, but as happens every year, some players decide that their futures belong elsewhere. As such, we have already seen two players announce moves to other clubs – Jerry Gyebi has decided to try his luck higher up the pyramid and Harold Joseph has accepted an offer from Cray Wanderers. Both players have been a credit to the club and we wish them well with their new endeavours.

We expect that another two or three of last season’s squad may also move on, however we have a number of exciting new additions who we are talking to and hope to be able to talk more about these in the coming weeks. 

The pre-season schedule has been published and gives us a good mix of games to prepare for the 2022/3 term – We expect the league fixture to be announced towards the middle of next month.

Season tickets and friendly match tickets are now available to purchase online –  https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/ . The Go To Town monthly scheme will continue and we will be in touch with packages in the coming week. All ticket and package prices have been frozen for 2022/3 and we look forward to seeing you all back at the QES very soon.

Up The Town!


Paul Reed 

Well done, Roger

Huge congratulations to ETFC life president Roger Reed, father of Town chairman Paul Reed, writes Andrew Warshaw.

Roger has just been made a Life Member of the Isthmian League, an incredibly rare accolade awarded at last Saturday’s AGM in Brighton when Roger stepped down as a board member after acquiring almost legendary status.

The announcement, in front of scores of Isthmian League clubs who gave Roger (pictured with Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson) a rousing ovation, means he is one of only two life members currently living.

In the entire history of the league, founded in 1905, only small group of officials have ever been made Life Members – including none other than the late chairman of the Football Association and ex-Fifa president Sir Stanley Rous.

“I had no idea about the award,” said Roger who, at 75, has decided to call time on his invaluable work on the Isthmian League board where he was primarily responsible for maintaining standards through ground grading.

“I thought they would do something for me but not that. I was bowled over by it. To be honest, it’s still sinking in. I’m immensely proud.”

“I never dreamed for 10 seconds that I’d end up a Life Member of the League. I just did what I did because I had the knowledge and the time.”

“One of the things I enjoyed most was giving advice to clubs on how to improve their facilities in the most cost-effective way.”

Now retired, will he miss it? “Yes and no,” says Roger. “I must have visited literally hundreds of clubs. I decided to retire because of my age. I don’t quite have the energy any more to drive all those long distances. But I’ll miss being on the inside track, if you like. However, now I can relax and do other things. And of course I’ll still be coming to watch The Town as often as I can.”

Town To Play Spurs’ Young Stars

We are delighted to confirm that our near-neighbours Tottenham Hotspur, whose training ground is a stone’s throw from the QEII, have again kindly agreed to provide invaluable opposition as part of our early pre-season preparations.

Tottenham’s Development Squad, who will this season revert to competing as Under-21s, will visit us on Tuesday, July 12, at 7pm.

The fixture is bound to generate enormous interest and tickets can be purchased in advance on the following link:

https://enfieldtownfc.ktckts.com/event/ent2223120722/enfield-town-v-tottenham-hotspur-u21s

Pre-Season Fixtures 22-23 [Updated]

We are pleased to confirm six pre-season matches ahead of the 2022-23 season. We look forward to welcoming St. Albans City and Spurs’ Under-21s to Donkey Lane, as well as visiting some near-neighbours during July:

Saturday 9th July [15:00] – Cockfosters (A) – Chalk Lane

Tuesday 12th July [19:00] – Tottenham Hotspur U21s (H) – QEII Stadium

Tuesday 19th July [19:45] – St. Albans City (H) – QEII Stadium

Saturday 23rd July [from 12:00] – Cheshunt/Haringey Borough (A) – Theobalds Lane

Saturday 26th July [19:45] – Ware (A) – Wodson Park

Saturday 30th July [15:00] – Hayes & Yeading (A) – SkyEx Community Stadium

*These fixtures are subject to changes of date and time. Further fixtures may yet be added

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

https://www.hornchurchfc.com/club-information/

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.

Ryan’s Enfield Town journey

Ryan Kirwan is our latest player to be interviewed by Aficion Deportiva, the Spanish website that has taken such a keen  interest in our club

For those who haven’t seen it, here is the link

https://aficiondeportiva.com/the-fans-the-engine-of-everything-interview-with-ryan-kirwan-enfield-town-fc/

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).

Town need spotkicks to progress

Uxbridge 2 Enfield Town 2 (Town win 7-6 on penalties)

Report by Martin Bentley  

Well it wasn’t pretty at times, but Enfield Town squeezed into the third round of the Middlesex Senior Cup with a penalty shoot-out victory over Step 4 Uxbridge on Tuesday.

In truth, though, a lifeless second half performance saw Town come within two minutes of an embarrassing defeat to a second string Uxbridge side and were only rescued by yet another superb free kick goal from Andre Coker. Town controlled much of the first half with new signing Hamilton Antonio looking a useful addition to the midfield. The home side’s only shot of note was a snap shot that kissed the outside of Adi Connolly’s post on the half hour. By then Town were a goal up courtesy of a howler from home keeper Matty Bonnett, who managed to punch Lyle Della-Verde’s corner into his own net after 20 minutes.

The second half saw the home side enjoy long periods of possession in midfield, though their efforts on goal were all from distance and off target. Town managed a couple of off-target efforts too, though the closest they came to scoring was from a Della-Verde cross that was parried out for a corner by a startled Bonnett. Uxbridge were slowly taking control, and two quick-fire goals from Gareth Chendlik (79) and Presley Evans (85) looked to have sent Town to a highly embarrassing defeat. However, Town suddenly flicked the ‘on’ switch, forcing a string of corners and free kicks, and it was from one of the latter that they levelled two minutes from time. The kick was, once again, in ‘Lyle’s Office’ but he had already been substituted, so up stepped Andre Coker to curl a perfect shot to Bonnett’s left. Phew.

The shoot-out was a tale of 13 perfect penalties and one disaster for the home side. For the record, Town’s seven successful kicks came from Youngs, Taaffe, Cass, Dayton, Coker, Payne and Hercules. Home right-back Maurice Nugent then stepped up to take Uxbridge’s seventh, and fired his kick into the car park to see Town through to the next round.

Town: Connolly; Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne, Knight, Richmond (Spencer 45); Thomas (Youngs 45), Antonio (Taaffe 75), Dayton; Hercules, Della-Verde (Coker 64), Cass Unused: Cunnington