Enfield Town 3-3 Barking (Barking won 4-3 on penalties)
Report by Martin Bentley
Enfield Town’s defence of the Velocity Trophy lasted just 90 minutes, as they were edged out in a penalty shoot-out after yet another lively encounter at the QEII.
As expected, Andy Leese rang the changes, with only Sam Youngs, Jerry Gyebi, Percy Kiangebeni, Jake Cass and Lyle Della-Verde retaining their places from Saturday’s win over Margate. There were debuts for Kraig McLeod, Alex Solomon and youngster Emmanual Adebiyi, as well as a second debut for the returning Bilal Sayoud.
Any thoughts of a comfortable win for the Town were dispelled in the 10th minute, when the visitors’ Freddie Parker slammed a shot against the foot of Adi Connolly’s post. Throughout the first half, Barking played swift, incisive football, aided, it must be said, by some very poor Town passing and decidedly benevolent defending. By the end of the half, the visitors had opened up a 3-1 lead, courtesy of two goals from the dangerous Parker and one from his strike partner Charlie Heatley. Town’s sole reply came from the lively Sayoud, who accelerated on to Della-Verde’s pass to beat Barking keeper James Shaw with a thumping finish on 39 minutes.
The second half saw a spirited Town rally. Barking, rather strangely, substituted both centre halves at half time, and the game turned in Town’s favour. Jake Cass galloped onto Kiangebeni’s through ball to reduce the deficit on 56 minutes, and, 11 minutes later they were level; a corner was cleared to Sayoud on the edge of the box, and he belted a powerful shot through a crowd of players into the bottom corner. The winning goal just wouldn’t come however, despite a fusillade of Lee Chappell long throws, which were dealt with by the visitors’ second string defence comfortably. With Barking also creating a couple of hairy moments for Town at the other end, the game reached a thoroughly entertaining conclusion.
Apart from the penalty shoot-out that is. Town did not have many proven penalty takers on the field by then, but the loss was still disappointing. For the record, Cass, Sayoud and Solomon all scored their kicks, with Chappell and Matt Walsh having theirs saved. Connolly produced one excellent save from Louis Dillon’s kick, while keeper Shaw’s kick flew over the bar to take the shoot-out to sudden death. Unfortunately, Adebiyi, who had been excellent as a second half substitute, skied his kick to give the victory to Barking.
Nothing to get too concerned about here though. Back to the more important matter of league points on Saturday.
Town line-up: Connolly, Muleba (Chappell 66), Kirwan, Youngs (Solomon 79), Gyebi, McLeod, Kiangebeni (Adebiyi 55), Taaffe (Walsh 79), Cass, Sayoud, Della Verde (Nichols 66)