Town draw blank against K’s

Enfield Town 0 Kingstonian 0

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Gavin Macpherson cut a frustrated figure admitting  he was embarrassed and apologising to fans after an sluggish off-night against the league’s bottom club.

At times it looked like we were the side battling against relegation and they were the team in playoff contention as we lacked drive and cohesion across the pitch and composure in front of goal.

That’s the downside. The fact remains that despite our first goalless draw of the season, we are still fifth in the league and very much in the mix though the dangerous Horsham are only one point behind having played three games fewer.

And we didn’t lose the game, unlike cash-rich Billericay at Concord Rangers, a stark illustration that nothing can be taken for granted in this league.

Town made three changes from the starting line-up at Carshalton, with Ollie Knight returning from suspension, Josh Okocha in central defence with both Jimbo and Taylor McKenzie injured, the latter on the bench, and Lewis Taaffe coming into midfield.

From the opening minutes it was clear Kingstonian, fresh from their first league win since October at the weekend and under new management, had not just come to sit back.

Using the left flank in particular to their advantage, they were quick on the break and had several excellent early chances, one of which fell to former Towner Tom Collins who was a whisker away from converting Freddie Price’s centre.

With the shackles off despite their perilous position, the visitors should have gone in front on 15 minutes, only for Sam German’s bullet header from a corner to be superbly headed off the line by Taaffe.

Eddie D’Sane was another player who troubled us with pace as two goalbound shots were blocked.

Town were far too predictable without the vision of the injured Manny Harvest and took an age to get going, our first shot on target not coming until the 35th minute as Kingstonian’s debutant keeper Daniel Cruz Domench held on to a Sam Youngs shot.

Things began to improve as halftime approached with back-to-back Marcus Wyllie efforts. First his half-volley was just the wrong side of the crossbar, then he got even closer as Mark Waters cleared off the line.

H-T 0-0

Town needed a radical shake-up but Kingstonian had the first big chance of the second half, Collins thankfully only managing to roll a pull-back into the arms of Rhys Forster.

Only now did we push Kingstonian back as a flurry of substitutions gave us fresh legs and greater impetus. But we still couldn’t get past man of the match German, on-loan from Bromley and a powerhouse at the back for the K’s.

A brilliant cross from Mickey Parcell found the boot of Wyllie who volleyed over and although there were further half-chances for Okotcha (pictured) and, twice, Jonathan Hippolyte, there was no happy ending to round off the first game at the newly-named Dave Bryant stadium.

“The first 30 minutes was without doubt the worst I’ve ever seen us play,” said Gavin who kept the players inside the dressing room for almost 30 minutes afterwards. “We just had a frank chat and agreed we couldn’t make the playoffs if our form doesn’t get better.”

“As a manager you rely on the players to bring some quality to the table but that was severely lacking.  We couldn’t pass the ball five yards which is hard for me to legislate for. It’s unrecognisable from earlier in the season.”

“The second half was better but I actually feel quite embarrassed and absolutely sympathise with the supporters who know the side is capable of a lot more. It’s not what they pay their money to see.”

Town: Foster, Parcell, Okotcha, Tanner, Payne; Thomas (Alves, 75) , Youngs,  Taaffe (Onyeagwara, 66), Knight, Wyllie,  Beckles-Richards (Hippolyte, 66)