Enfield Town 2 Brightlingsea Regent 1
Report by Andrew Warshaw
A brace of penalties, one in each half, pushed us up to third with three valuable points on a night when the opposition at times made life awkward.
Just like the previous home game, it wasn’t always easy against another of those sides scrapping for everything near the foot of the table.
Our first half performance alone, during which we totally controlled proceedings, justified the win as Brightlingsea hardly laid a glove on us.
After the break, it was a more even contest as Brightlingsea, who had to wear Town’s green kit after their own kit man got caught up in heavy traffic, fought desperately to get something from the game.
The management team made two changes to Saturday’s starting lineup with Jake Cass and Lyle Della-Verde coming into the side — and both more than played their part.
Kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes because of Regent’s travel issues but once the action got under way, we immediately imposed our superiority.
Sam Youngs almost converted an early Lyle freekick while Jake, onside, saw his powerful shot cannon off a defender for a corner.
Town were the team very much in the ascendancy and went ahead on 20 minutes.
Cass stole an underhit backpass away from Regent’s new keeper Lewis Ridd who proceeded to bring him down. The teenager then had no chance with Jake’s confidently struck penalty.
Sam Youngs looked to have doubled our lead as he slotted home beautifully to finish off a glorious team move but was ruled offside.
Regent’s only threat came when dangerman Jesse Olukolu almost took advantage of us losing possession in midfield, only for Nathan McDonald to pull off a smart save.
A Cass turn and shot was pushed away as we started the second half in the same vein.
Scott Thomas, in his last game before a three-match suspension pending appeal, then twice let fly from 25 yards, the second time bringing a superb tip-over save.
Suddenly, however, Brightlingsea got a foothold in the game as they started to pass to feet.
Nathan made a super stop from Andrew George before Zack Littlejohn headed home an excellent left-wing delivery just before the hour.
Town needed to regain the momentum and got the perfect break on 69 minutes with a second spotkick. Andre Coker was blatantly tripped as he weaved his way into the box and was given the penalty honours this time, going for placement rather than power (pictured).
Thereafter it was a case of hanging on to what we had as Regent pushed us back without capitalising on their second-half possession.
“It was a really important three points. Brightlingsea made it really difficult,” said Mario Noto. “Maybe the 10 men for 60 minutes on Saturday didn’t do us any favours.”
“We started really brightly and Jake led the line really well. The performance may not have been the best but we ground out a win. That’s sometimes what you have to do against teams who are fighting for their lives.”
Town: McDonald; Dequane-Wilson, Knight, Richmond, Payne; Isaac (Taaffe, 76), Youngs, Thomas, Della-Verde; Cass, Coker (Wyllie,73)