Lewes 4 Enfield Town 0
Report by Andrew Warshaw
First things first. We are eighth in the table with games in hand, this was always going to be something of a transition season and we possibly punched above our weight early in the campaign.
Having said that, there is little doubt that the wheels have come off in recent fixtures with far too many goals conceded, yesterday’s woeful defeat on a ground that is traditionally a graveyard for us being arguably the low point of a league season that has suddenly taken on a distinctly inconsistent pattern.
Only a couple of weeks ago, we were all praising a terrific FA Cup performance at Halesowen but that has been largely forgotten by two chastening cup defeats and yesterday’s even worse display – interspersed by the much-needed midweek win at Kingstonian which should have restored our self-belief.
The fact that as well as conceding another four goals (15 in four games now) we also created so little in the opposition box at Lewes and appeared to lack leadership will not have been lost on the management team.
Is it a sudden lack of confidence? Of course we missed the suspended Sam Youngs, with Marcus Wyllie adopting Sam’s role and therefore having to play in a more withdrawn position.
But one swallow doesn’t make a summer and even Gavin Macpherson, showing his usual commendable honestly, was at a loss to explain what’s going on.
In the first half, whilst not doing a great deal with the ball, we were reasonably comfortable out of possession with a low block.
It was a disappointment, therefore, when Lewes grabbed the lead on 17 minutes. Rhys Forster, arguably our man of the match, superbly kept out a Harvey Hughes thunderbolt but from the resultant corner Arthur Penny rose unmarked to head into the corner.
It was another of those set-piece goals that have recently proved our undoing and galvanised Lewes who should have quickly doubled their lead. Showing terrific technique, Marcus Sablier controlled a sweeping counter-attack before playing in Ola Ogunwamide, only for Forster to pull off another fine stop, and then a third to keep out a powerful Tommy Wood strike after initially being unable to hold on to an Ogunwamide knock-down.
As Town briefly rallied, we produced two decent chances that flashed across goal but we needed more urgency, incisiveness and penetration.
Instead, it was Lewes who upped their game, shutting out any Town threats and doubling their advantage on 57 minutes, Guyana international Dean Moore making space for himself before shooting across Forster and into the bottom corner though the ball appeared to go in under Rhys’ body.
Two quickly became three as James Richmond diverted a Wood drive into his own net and Wood rounded off an impressive individual display by a superb turn and shot on the edge of the box.
The fact that our best effort of the game came in the final minute of normal time when Nathan Harvey pulled off an excellent stop to thwart Reece Beckles-Richards (pictured) said everything about a desperate day at the office.
“I take this personally and told the players I would carry the can because I set the team up,” admitted Gavin afterwards. “But if they think that me taking ownership means they are off the hook, they’ve got another think coming because we were nowhere near it.”
“We were never going to spend masses of time with the ball but the manner of the goals we conceded were alarming because it’s not what we’ve done all season. At one point we had one of the meanest defences in the league. It’s hard to explain quite frankly but now I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. I thought I knew my players but they seem to be proving me wrong at the moment.”
Town: Forster, Parcell, Payne, Thomas (Onyeagwara 62), Coker, Richmond, Knight (Beckles-Richards 64), Sykes (Soulya-Osekanongo 85), Keeya, Wyllie, Birch