Town Set Up Wingate Showdown

Enfield Town 2 Chatham 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

So now we know. Neighbours Wingate and Finchley will be our playoff semfinal visitors on Wednesday as we edge ever closer to the Promised Land of Step 2 football.

Finishing third in the management team’s first season in charge, with one defeat in our last 15 league games, is nothing short of remarkable though we could easily have been runners-up but for a deliberate whistle in the away end which confused just about everyone, more of which later.

Town left all three of Marcus Wyllie, Scott Thomas and Sam Youngs on the bench with Wednesday in mind while a number of knocks and niggles meant another unfamiliar line-up which, on paper at least, didn’t augur well in front of another four-figure gate.

Indeed, we were second best for long periods of the first half as we allowed Chatham, going for a third straight promotion, to dictate play around our 4-1-4-1 system.

Against the run of the play, however, Town went in front. Ollie Knight, a welcoming sight in the starting line-up after his horror shoulder injury, was left unmarked after we recycled a corner and slid in to convert on the volley.

A succession of Chatham attacks, invariably conducted by the green-booted Jamie Yila, were repelled but it needed a superb double save by Ade Connolly – in for the injured Rhys Forster – to keep us in front. That is until the 32nd minute when another cross by Yila caused panic at the back and was tucked home by Kareem Isiaka.

H-T 1-1

With a tweaked formation that gave us far more composure and attacking options, Town came out firing and were back in front within five minutes of the restart.

Jake Cass, captain for the day but who had one of his quieter games, played in Knight whose sublime chip looped over Mitch Beeney and nestled in the net (pictured).

Then came the moment of controversy that will be talked about for weeks to come.  After what everyone initially thought was the referee’s whistle for a Town freekick, Connolly duly appeared to half-leave a Sam Robbins’ misdirected stretched-leg clearance which ended up in the back of the Enfield net.

But it immediately became clear that the whistle had been blown from the Chatham end and despite protests from players and management team alike, the goal stood.

Cue a warning from the referee, announced on the tannoy, that if there was any repetition the game would be abandoned.

Whether or not Ade would have got to the ball anyway is debatable but players and management clearly felt hard done by.

 Yet we so nearly clinched the points late on as Knight got within a whisker of completing his hattrick with a rocket that crashed against the woodwork.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to finish third, the players who came in today were immense but I’ve a squad for a reason and they all deserve credit,” said Gavin Macpherson. “Chatham’s second equaliser was a joke. Basically it’s cheating.”

“I’m not blaming the referee, he can’t do anything about it.  Sam was cushioning the ball back to Ade who obviously didn’t think it would cost us anything. But what it did cost us was potentially gaining two home playoff games.”

Looking ahead to Wingate, who finished one point behind us, Gavin added: “It doesn’t matter who you play, they all deserve to be there. I don’t prefer anyone above anyone else. We’ll prepare in the best way we can.”


Connolly; Robbins, McKenzie, Tanner; Payne, Adjei-Hersey, Harvest, Turner, Alves, Knight (Onyeagwara, 85) Cass (Hipployte, 75)

Advance tickets for Wednesday can be purchased on the following link: