Waltham Abbey 2 Enfield Town 3
Report By Andrew Warshaw
Entertaining passages of play mixed with defensive sloppiness. In other words, plenty of work still to do in the remaining two weeks before the big kick-off.
That was pretty much how sum up another tight pre-season win over Step 4 opposition on Saturday.
On a pitch that was a credit to our opponents, we were again missing a number of key players and Waltham Abbey presented more than a decent challenge, if anything enjoying the better of the second half.
While there was much to admire about some of our build-up play, there is still some concern about several aspects going into the final two friendlies, not least relinquishing possession when going forward and our new-look pressing game at times not working as instructed, leaving us too strung out on occasions.
We could not really have got off to a better start, however. With just 55 seconds on the clock, a Sam Youngs shot was blocked and Marcus Wyllie followed up to score.
Marcus is getting more and more confident and his second goal on 32 minutes was a joy to behold. A clever Sami Bessadi dummy from a right-wing cross fell to Mickey Parcell whose forward pass appeared to be cut out by a defender, only for Marcus to nick the ball away and finish deftly (pictured).
In between, Rhys Forster had to be on his toes to keep out a couple of home efforts whilst Abbey also hit our woodwork.
With halftime approaching, they reduced the deficit under farcical circumstances courtesy of an own goal, a dodgy back pass to Rhys hitting him in the stomach and rolling over the line despite him back-pedalling to try and keep it out.
But we quickly restored out two-goal lead, Sam Youngs burying a free header from a Jo Payne long throw.
The sight of Jake Cass leading the line with power and authority was a huge tonic for the management and all Towners fans. Jake almost scored with an audacious overhead kick, managing 45 minutes in his first pre-season outing as he improves his fitness.
We might well have been out of sight on chances but six minutes after halftime, Abbey cut the deficit again as a result of yet more defensive hesitation.
They then proceeded to have more of the ball as Gavin rang the changes though with three minutes left, we should have wrapped things up when triallist shot straight at the keeper with the goal at his mercy.
“If there was going to be a lull, it was probably this game because they’ve been going Tuesday, Thursday in training, then Saturday,” Gavin explained afterwards.
“Some of what I saw was very pleasing. On the other hand some players didn’t step up and take responsibility for certain things. And you can’t legislate for the goals which were two of the worst I’ve seen in a long time, and that can’t go on.”
“But they were a week, if not two, ahead of us in terms of their pre-season and were therefore a little bit sharper.”
“There’s still work to do to get the players round to our way of thinking. We are transitioning from a certain style of football into another but we should hopefully see a progression going forward by the time we play Concord Rangers. Everyone needs to be singing from the same songsheet.”
Town starting lineup:
Forster; Parcell, Okotcha, Richmond, Payne; Thomas, Youngs, Bessadi, Becles-Richards; Cass, Wyllie