Enfield town 1 Wingate and Finchley 1
Report by Andrew Warshaw
High-flying Enfield salvaged a late point in a feisty derby despite playing almost an hour with 10 men after skipper Scott Thomas was shown a straight red.
Scott was dismissed around the half-hour mark after the referee adjudged he grabbed Ben Siggers by the throat as he reacted after having being fouled himself.
The man in the middle admitted at halftime that he should have booked Siggers too. But that was of little consolation to the home fans who made up virtually the entire 700-strong crowd including many who took advantage of our Public Services Day.
Despite having won six of seven going into the game, we were strangely passive in the first half and the visitors, in their florescent green away kit, deservedly went in front having already gone close through Akeo Bani’s bending freekick that came back off our crossbar.
And what a worldie their goal was from Antonis Vasiliou, who has hardly shone this season but once again saved his best when playing against Town, showing incredible technique with a sensational overhead kick on the volley.
Town’s best first-half effort fell to Sam Youngs but our quality was poor and Scott’s sending off (he now misses three games starting next weekend) appeared to only make matters worse.
Credit to the management, however, as we brought on Jake Cass to play alongside Adam Cunnington, sacrificing Marcus Wyllie in the process, switched to a 3-4-2 system and took control.
Without discernably troubling Wingate keeper Ben Goode whose handling throughout was excellent, it was Town who now looked the team with a one-man advantage as we pushed Wingate back.
The visitors started to resort to giving away a number of freekicks outside their area, one of which rebounded into the path of Youngs who blasted narrowly wide.
We were getting closer and with five minutes of regular time to go, our courage with 10 men finally paid off.
Numerical parity was restored when Ola Williams was dismissed for a second yellow for a foul on Youngs.
Much to the anger of the crowd, Williams took an eternity to leave pitch-side but Town had the last laugh. From the resultant freekick, Della-Verde produced what he does best with another of his scorching left-foot freekicks, this one deflecting in off the Wingate wall (pictured).
With Andy Leese serving a one-man ban up in the stands it was left to assistant Mario Noto to sum up proceedings.
“We hadn’t really got a foothold in the game and even after the sending off had to go positive so we decided to go two up top in the second half,” explained Maz.
“In the end we might even have nicked it. The boys off the bench did really well to impact the game. Definitely a point gained. It’s not always easy against these teams who are fighting for their lives. But we need to get three points against Brightlingsea on Tuesday.”
McDonald; Wilson-Braithwaite, Richmond, Knight, Payne (Della-Verde, 68); Thomas, Isaac, Youngs; Wyllie (Cass, 46), Cunnington, Coker (Taaffe, 68).