Chesham United 4 Enfield Town 3
Report by Andrew Warshaw
The Chesham United curse struck again on Saturday as Town crashed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle after being on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller.
Just like last season, the Generals — where we also lost in the FA Cup a few years ago — put us out of non-league football’s main cup competition though this time it was a far closer affair than that 4-0 drubbing.
Three times we came from behind to equalise, showing commendable spirit and character, only to succumb to an 89th-minute Chesham winner as the game was heading for penalties.
To make matters worse for players, management and fans alike, a highly competitive encounter was settled by a totally avoidable defensive mix-up, an agonising way to go out after battling so hard against our high-flying Southern League opponents.
Things didn’t go out way right from the off. Starting brightly, Sam Youngs was a coat of paint away from giving us a fifth-minute lead, only for Chesham to go in front 60 seconds later with a sweetly struck first-time volley from Jordan Edwards.
Sam wasn’t to be denied, however, and quickly pulled us level with a glorious strike into the corner from 20 yards.
It wasn’t long either before the next goal arrived, Generals skipper Steve Brown finishing from close range after a mistimed header back across our own box from a corner.
Whilst we needed to get closer to Chesham’s wide players, Town continued to look dangerous going forward and levelled again when Kyle Bailey controlled an Ollie Knight cross with his shoulder before prodding the ball home (pictured).
Town could have snatched the lead when debutant George Sykes’ flick-on was almost converted by Marcus Wyllie while at the other end Lucas Sinclair – the scourge of the second half – forced Rhys Forster into a smart save and almost converted the rebound.
With a card-happy referee and our all-important FA Cup tie to come next weekend, we made a change at halftime as Marcus – who had already been booked – made way for Obi Onyeagwara.
The 19-year-old made an instant impact, whipping in a dangerous cross with virtually his first touch and causing the Generals’ backline all kinds of problems.
A lovely Chesham passing movement through midfield ended with Bruno Andrade lashing wide but we were giving as much as we got — if not more.
Youngs shot straight at home keeper Zaki Oualah when either side of him would have produced a goal but once again, Chesham made us pay for hesitancy when Sinclair stayed onside to restore their lead.
Back we came for a third time, however, as Onyeagwara was up-ended by former Towner Scott Shulton and Youngs buried the penalty.
As the game entered its final stages, spotkicks looked increasingly likely, only for Chesham to put the proverbial nail in the coffin right at the death. Forster and Bailey got in a terrible tangle as to who would clear a routine ball out of defence and Sinclair took advantage by nipping in to seal a place in the next round.
“There’s been a few hard truths in the dressing room,” conceded Gavin afterwards. “Kyle had control of the situation for the last goal but the others we conceded were terrible too and it’s a game we’ve let through our grasp and I’m hugely disappointed.”
“We’ve gone away from home, scored three goals against a good side and still lost. I wonder when the last time that happened here was. Having to score five to win tells me we made rudimentary mistakes. It was a result that was totally avoidable. Now we’ve got a hell of a lot of hard work to do before Cray Valley next weekend.”
Town: Forster; Parcell, Bailey, Richmond, Payne; Knight, Youngs, Thomas (Soulya-Osekanongo, 64), Beckles-Richards; Wyllie (Onyeagwara, 46), Sykes (Keeya, 84)