Enfield Town 3 Felixstowe and Walton 0
Report by Andrew Warshaw
Every Town fan will be glued to Monday’s FA Cup draw after we reached the third qualifying round at the expense of opponents who were hit with an early goal blitz before trying their best to make a fight of it.
On paper the tie was a potential banana skin but was effectively over within the first quarter as we destroyed the hopes of our lower-ranked Suffolk opponents and in the process ended their unbeaten start to the season.
As we roared out of the blocks, Sam Youngs settled any nerves by getting us on our way from the penalty spot on four minutes after Ollie Knight was impeded.
Ollie himself doubled our lead four minutes later with a fabulous finish (pictured, celebrating) following some neat interplay between Marcus Wyllie and Reece Beckles-Richards.
Before the Seasiders could gain any kind of foothold they fell further behind. Wyllie and Youngs had successive shots blocked but Joe Payne made no mistake at the third time of asking as he lashed the ball home.
Town, themselves unbeaten in all competitions, were too slick for their Step 4 visitors and could, maybe should, have had a couple more by halftime. Knight shot just wide while one of his trademark crosses was inches away from being converted by Wyllie.
Youngs suffered a nasty-looking leg gash and also picked up a yellow card but continued to stamp his mark on proceedings until being subbed with 20 minutes to go.
Sami Bessadi curled another fine Town effort just wide but just before the interval, F and W should have got back in the game when Callum Harrison somehow missed the target after being put through by Noel Aitkins’ clever back heel.
It was one step too far for our Step 4 opponents but we were indebted to our three-goal cushion in the second half as F and W gave it a go.
To their credit they looked a different team, partly because of us easing off, partly through tweaking their system, playing an extra man in midfield and bringing on tall target man Josh Mayhew.
Mayhew headed wide just after the restart and we suddenly had to turn to our defensive skills to preserve our three-goal lead, Josh Okotcha falling awkwardly and limping off after keeping out one of several raids.
Mayhew and Joshua Hitter missed further decent chances for Felixstowe who for once, having notched up 17 goals in six previous outings, left their scoring touch at home.
In the last 15 minutes Town regained control as Payne rattled a 25-yard freekick against the post and Wyllie picked up a rebound and drove agonisingly wide.
“I was disappointed with the second half, there’s no doubt about that,” said Gavin Macpherson. “We saw it coming but I don’t think we dealt with it particular well. If they’d got an early goal then, we could have had a hell of a game on our hands.”
“But you have to take your hat off to the boys. It was no fluke. They took on board exactly what we wanted them to do inside the first 35 minutes. Often at 3-0 human nature dictates sometimes that you think the game is done. I never think like that but it’s understandable.
“In the end we put them to bed very comprehensively in the first half which was good enough to do the job.”
It may be too early to think that far ahead but another favourable draw and we could edge ever closer to the dream scenario of the first round proper.
Forster; Parcell, Okotcha (Coker, 58), Richmond, Payne; Knight, Youngs (Keeya, 70), Thomas, Bessadi (Birch, 83); Wyllie, Beckles-Richards