Canvey Island 0 Enfield Town 3
Report by Andrew Warshaw
That’s more like it! After a cagey first half, Town showed their true colours as we hit Canvey Island with a second-half goal blitz on Saturday to finally get back to winning ways.
In the 11th hour absence of Gavin Macpherson for personal reasons, Jon Nurse took over the main managerial duties with a starting eleven that saw James Richmond dropped to the bench in favour of Josh Okotcha – albeit for only 41 minutes.
And on a ground that is traditionally unkind to us — not least last season when were well beaten in the league and FA Cup — we ended up worthy winners to remain the playoff places and hopefully re-ignite our campaign after the recent wobble.
Canvey arguably had the better of the first-half exchanges and almost went in front with the first meaningful attack of the game as Conor Hubble struck the crossbar with a 25-yard freekick, the followup also rebounding off the woodwork.
Town responded with Reece Beckles-Richards denied by keeper Sam Jackson but in a scrappy opening period we looked somewhat devoid of ideas, caught for long periods in a game of head tennis.
For Canvey, who lost by the same score at our place in November, Jadon Crowhurst played the ball behind our backline but the dangerous Bradley Sach fortunately scuffed his shot wide.
Ten minutes before the break Okotcha came off second best under pressure from Rio Davidson-Phipps who fired into the side netting from an acute angle.
In trying to shepherd the ball out of play, Josh collided with the metal fencing and after lengthy treatment had to be subbed by Richmond with a nasty facial gash.
Talk about a sea change after the break. As we changed shape, made the pitch bigger and radically improved our movement on and off the ball, Beckles-Richards put a sublime Mickey Parcell cross over the bar and at the midway point, we hit the front.
The on-loan Manny Harvest, becoming an important cog in our midfield with his vision and industry, saw a powerful effort parried by Sam Jackson and Sam Youngs followed up from close range.
Youngs was denied what he thought should have been a penalty, Harvest was forced off with a hip issue and when Sam Higgins, notorious scourge of Enfield Town, came off the Gulls bench with 17 minutes left, Towners fans held their breath.
Within seconds of his introduction, however, we doubled our lead with a classic Marcus Wyllie individual effort, gliding past three opponents before finding space to drill his shot into the corner.
Higgins flashed a header just wide but Town were now very the team in the ascendency and put the game to bed in the 89th minute as the ball fell kindly to Lewis Taaffe who put Marcus through to provide another cool finish for his 18th league goal of the season (pictured).
“It was difficult pitch to play on and we knew it would be a battle,” said Jon Nurse. “It was hard at first to gain any foothold but we’re a team that is capable of going on to win games when we stay in it and things open up.”
“We worked hard in training to try and cut out mistakes. The last few results were hard to take and this is just what we needed to change the tide.”
Forster; Parcell, Okotcha (Richmond, 41), Mackenzie, Payne; Taaffe (Adjei-Hersey, 89) , Thomas, Harvest (Alves, 68), Youngs; Beckles-Richards, Wyllie