Haringey Borough 1 Enfield Town 1
Report by Andrew Warshaw
Marcus Wyllie’s sixth goal in five games rescued a last-gasp point for Town as we maintained our unbeaten start to the season in the most challenging of circumstances on Monday afternoon.
Given the mounting number of injuries and enforced changes we had to make, some of them square pins in round holes, it’s no surprise that Gavin and the boys were all smiles at the final whistle.
No-one would deny that Haringey were by far the better side in the first half and could have been out of sight had they taken their chances on their artificial pitch.
But whilst we rode our luck at times and Rhys Forster kept us in the game, thanks to couple of timely tweaks by Gavin, a change of formation and the whole side showing fantastic resilience, we improved considerably after the break and ended up with a draw to be proud of.
Still missing the likes of Louis Birch and Joe Payne as well as long-term victims Jake Cass and Lewis Taaffe, Josh Okotcha and Carlos Garcia-Velasco were added to the injury list, leaving us horribly stretched, whilst the bench comprised only one fully fit outfield player.
As a result, Dylan Adjei-Hersey had to be pushed into an unfamiliar rightback slot, Ekow Coker handed a central defensive opportunity and Gucci Soulya-Osekanongo brought into midfield.
The inexperience certainly told in the first half when Haringey swarmed all over us, forcing us into mistakes and missing several good chances, not least Tage Kennedy firing wide when clean through.
Just as it looked like we had weathered the proverbial early storm, Mickey Parcell’s late challenge on Kasim Aidoo earned Haringey a penalty which Mat Young cooly converted.
Forster, who had already thwarted Walter Figuera, prevented a second Haringey goal with another smart stop but right on half time, Town almost levelled when Sam Youngs’ bullet header was bundled off the line.
Fortunate to be only one down, Gavin made a halftime switch with Kyle Bailey, who hadn’t trained for several weeks, replacing Gucci and Dylan Adjei-Hersey reverting to his normal position.
Kyle, showing tremendous character, slotted in seamlessly and we were very nearly on level terms when Dillon Barnes stuck out a leg to save from Wyllie.
Haringey were still creating chances at the other end, however, either missing the target or finding Forster in supreme form.
Cue a switch to a back three and suddenly Town finished the stronger. Youngs saw a snapshot whistle past the post and just as the board showed five added minutes, our persistency paid off.
Youngs collected Parcell’s pass and, not for the first time this season, found Marcus in a pocket of space to finish off the move though Barnes will be disappointed he couldn’t keep it out (pictured).
“I take some responsibility for the first half,” said Gavin. “Playing Dylan at rightback was totally my decision but we were missing a huge number of players.”
“Let’s face it they could have been out of sight and Rhys kept us in it. Under normal circumstances with two games in 48 hours I’d have made three or four changes but we had to go with what we had available so I’m absolutely delighted. I’d be astonished if Haringey finish near the bottom so with everything taken into consideration, it’s a great point.”
Forster; Parcell, Richmond, Coker, Adjei-Hersey (Bessadi, 80); Knight, Thomas, Youngs, Soulya-Osekanongo (Bailey, 45); Wyllie, Beckles-Richards