Enfield Town 2-2 Bognor Regis Town
Report by Ken Brazier
In stifling 30-degrees-plus conditions, reminiscent of last year’s sweltering home game v Folkestone, both sides put on an entertaining show for the 560 who turned out to search for a shaded viewpoint.
The Rocks looked far from a team that had recently bowed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Burgess Hill as they set about recording a first win at the QEII since January 2013.
Enfield endured a tough first half as they sought to get to grips with the pace of Bognor’s breaks – particularly down the flanks – with Lucas Pattenden, returning from injury, and Isaac Olaniyan prominent. After Scott Thomas had blazed wide and Reece Beckles-Richards had just failed to get onto the end of a Marcus Wyllie cross they had a let-off after nine minutes when Harvey Whyte played in Pattenden, who saw his shot hit the inside of the far post and rebound into Rhys Foster’s hands.
The Rocks got just reward for their strong start around the quarter of an hour mark when a good lay-off from Dan Gifford saw Jasper Mather lash the ball home past Forster’s left hand. But Enfield took advantage of a careless foul in a dangerous position after 22 minutes, and a sublime free-kick delivery from man-of-the-match Ollie Knight found Sam Youngs at the back post and the long-serving midfielder found the back of the net with a downward header.
The woodwork came to Enfield’s rescue again in the 29th minute. After James Richmond had had a goal ruled out for offside, Mather curled an effort against the same upright. A minute later, Forster did well to keep out a long distance lob. But he breathed a sigh of relief a minute later when he attempted to shepherd the ball out of play and was caught in possession way out on the wing, but the subsequent ball into the danger area came to nothing.
Enfield’s ball retention and creation of chances improved after the break. But, a few minutes after he had been booked for handling outside the penalty area, Forster found himself picking the ball out of his net after an incisive run down the left and low shot by Joe Rabbetts had enabled the Rocks to retake the lead, much to the delight of the travelling support.
After a couple of home chances had come and gone, another set piece drew Enfield level. Again Knight was the provider, and his accurate corner kick was headed home powerfully by Richmond (pictured). It was a testament to both sides that, despite the awful conditions for football, there was no hint of either holding on for a point with half an hour to go.
The visitors’ keeper Ryan Hall denied Beckles-Richards twice, once following a slick move involving substitute debutant Josh Keeya and Knight, and then with a brave smothering block at the striker’s feet. Wyllie, who was well-marshalled all afternoon, saw his 71st minute effort sail high and wide and Mickey Parcell’s heat-defying run ended with a cross that drifted behind. Mather fired over for the Rocks and, after appeals for a penalty at the other end when Wyllie went down were waved away, Pattenden and Gifford missed chances towards the end when their headers flew off target.
Town: Forster; Parcell, Richmond, Okotcha, Payne; Adjei-Hersey (Keeya 57), Youngs, Thomas, Knight; Wyllie, Beckles-Richards (Bessadi 89).