Towners Clinch Italy Trip

Llantwit Major 1 Enfield Town 1

Report by Andrew Warshaw

In a howling wind and on a pudding of a pitch that made passing and control nigh impossible, Enfield Town secured the point they needed to guarantee a trip to Lake Garda next month for the Fenix Trophy Final Four.

In conditions more akin to a Sunday league parks game, Town fortunately came away from Wales unscathed from our final group fixture and can now concentrate fully on cementing our league playoff place before thinking about the climax of our European tour.

Perhaps the only downside was that having fielded  somewhat of an experimental scratch side, Gavin Macpherson was forced to throw on the big guns to up the pace and avoid defeat.

But that’s, of course, exactly why the likes of Marcus Wyllie and Sam Youngs were on the bench in the first place and the risk in the end proved fully justified.

In front of a crowd of 456 – roughly double their usual attendance and including a healthy Town following  – Llantwit made things awkward for us in the opening half as we played into a ferocious gale-force wind that blew even some of the most well-intentioned passes back over our heads.

That, nevertheless, was not entirely fair on our hosts who, in their final home game of a generally disappointing league season in the second tier of Welsh football, played the conditions on their own patch far better than us.

Llantwit’s Matthew Kimmins headed over from three yards out when the offside flag stayed down but on 16 minutes, the hosts took a shock lead with what can only be described as a speculative worldie, Sean Kelly almost bursting the net with a 30-yard, wind-assisted screamer.

On the spongy, bobbly surface, we found it hard to respond and almost went further behind when Adi Connolly spilled a freekick, only for the rebound to be  put over the bar.

Jonathan Hippolyte almost restored parity but the conditions were proving a great leveller at the break.

H-T 0-1

Gavin wasted no time in introducing Youngs and Bernie Tanner and moving defender Sam Robbins – signed on a dual registration with Bishop’s Stortford —  from left to right as we reverted to a back three.

With the wind now behind us, Connolly was virtually a spectator in goal as the chances began to come our way.

It took until the 70th minute, however, to get back on level terms. Wyllie, who had just come on, saw his shot parried but not held and when it seemed harder to miss, Hippolyte just managed to squeeze the ball over the line off the post (pictured).

Despite players on both sides struggling to find their footing as the pitch cut up even more, in the final stages we could easily have gone on to win it before everyone retreated to the bar for some friendly exchanges with our hospitable hosts amid several renditions of  “Que Sera Sera…We’re Going to Italy.”.

“It was tricky to navigate for so many reasons,” said Gavin after we topped our group with 10 points from four games. “You’re leaving half your squad at home and then you have to factor in the pitch which was as bad as I’ve ever seen.”

“We had a team thrown together so you expect it to be a bit disjointed. But we completely changed things at halftime knowing they would have to contend with the same conditions. We didn’t really have our shooting boots on but where I’m coming from is that we’re home and dry and now we can now put this competition to bed until May.”


Connolly; Filho (Tanner, 45), Okotcha, Adeoye (Youngs, 45), Robbins; Adjei-Hersey, Soulya-Osekanonko (Thomas, 85), Turner, Onyeagwara (Wyllie 65); Hippolyte (Davies, 90), Alves.