Kingstonian 2 Enfield Town 3
Report by Glyn Smith
After dominating for 75 minutes, 10-man Enfield Town survived a late comeback from a spirited Kingstonian side to pick up three crucial points as we returned to league action following a sobering week of cup football.
At a wet and windy Imperial fields, Town had Ollie Knight sent off with a straight red – the second consecutive game we have had a player dismissed – but managed to hang on and move up to fourth in the table with games in hand.
Kingstonian featured ex-Towner Tom Collins in their starting eleven whilst Town began the game with two changes from Saturday’s FA Cup exit at Cray Valley PM, Ekow Coker and Louis Birch replacing Kyle Bailey and Reece Beckles-Richards.
After being very much on the front foot on a slick surface, Enfield took the lead in the 16th minute. Kingstonian failed to clear their lines following a corner and the ball fell to Marcus Wyllie who stroked it home with a trademark finish. Although Tolfrey hadn’t been troubled up until that point the lead was fully deserved.
One nearly became two a few minutes later as Sam Youngs’ low drive from the edge of the box was deflected and saved low down by the K’s keeper.
Enfield continued to dominate possession, with Kingstonian restricted to long balls as they tried to release their pacey forwards.
The second half started much as the first ended, with Town in charge. Tolfrey saved from Wyllie who had been put through by Youngs before Town went two up in the 52nd minute. A good move ended with Youngs finding Keeya, who turned his marker and fired home from the edge of the box.
Kingstonian responded with a low shot saved by Forster and Town’s third then came six minutes later. A cross from Mickey Parcell ended up in the six-yard box, Keeya’s initial effect was saved by Tolfrey, but the ball bounced straight back and ricocheted into the net with Keeya taking the congratulations.
After replacing Youngs, George Sykes produced a good finish from a pass from Payne, but the goal was disallowed as he had strayed into an offside position.
At this stage Town were cruising and seemingly set for an easy victory, but the game changed with 20 minutes remaining.
Zack Chislett of Kingstonian was booked for a heavy challenge on Knight on the halfway line but six minutes later Knight received a straight red for returning the favour.
In truth the first challenge could have warranted a red by a less lenient referee but the Kingstonian players’ reaction to Knight’s challenge probably influenced him to produce a red for Knight.
There then followed five minutes of madness. Jude Mason pulled a goal back in the 79th minute, shooting high into the net as Town failed to clear a free kick. Two minutes later a shot from just outside the box by Rudy Allen took a deflection off Coker to totally wrongfoot Forster and nestle in the net.
K’s tails were now and truly up, and they exerted huge pressure on Town, who were restricted to isolated break outs. Luckily though, Kingstonian were unable to produce any clear-cut chances and the last action of note was Forster receiving a yellow card for taking too long over taking a goal kick.
“Really pleased with our performance coming off the back of Saturday’s disappointment,” said Gavin Macpherson afterwards. “I thought we were excellent in difficult conditions and credit to the players, they responded superbly in so many different ways. I didn’t see that scoreline at 70 minutes. In truth we looked like we’d run away with it. We played some really good stuff and looked more like the Enfield I want us to be. As manager, you want to see a reaction but you also want to see that our identity is still part of the process of winning football matches.”
Gavin was distinctly unhappy, however, at the sending-off.
“I’m disappointed with Ollie’s response after being heavily fouled and clearly it helped change the direction of the game. But the important thing is he learns that we need our best players on the pitch and I’m sure he will do that. Initially I thought it looked harsh but if you’re deemed to be out of control you always run the risk of being sent off.”
“At this stage I’d rather be 4th than 14th but it’s still early days. We’ve got some difficult games coming up and we should look forward to those because some are against the clubs making huge statements in this league and in all honesty where the pressure really lies. With our magnificent support behind us and the team wanting to maintain a good return in the league, we should look forward to having a go.”
Enfield Town – Forster, Parcell, Payne, Thomas ( Soulya-Osekanongo 79), Coker, Richmond, Knight,Youngs (Sykes 66), Keeya, Wyllie (Adjei-Hersey 83 min), Louis Birch.