We’re Virtually There!

Enfield Town 3 Llantwit Major 2

Report by Andrew Warshaw

Don’t pack your bags or make your bookings quite yet. But barring an unexpected turn of events, we look almost certain to be heading to Italy in May for the Fenix Trophy Final Four.

Tuesday’s 3-2 win over a Llantwit Major side that played their part in a highly enjoyable spectacle put us on nine points from three games, with the return in Wales to come.

Only if Llanwit win their final two games and overhaul our vastly superior goal difference can they pip us to the post. So while it’s not mathematically done and dusted, no surprise that there was an air of optimism following our latest Fenix outing.

Before proceedings got under way, there was a poignantly observed minute’s applause in memory of Dave Bryant (pictured). The presentation of a bunch of flowers in David’s memory from our visitors was a extremely thoughtful touch.

With league games to come both Thursday and Saturday, the management team had some difficult calls to make and went with a mixture of first-team squad experience, triallists and academy boys.

On 16 minutes, Hernon Alves struck the underside of the bar and it was little surprise when we went in front a couple of minutes later, the highly promising Osa Otote capitalising on a mistake at the back with a gorgeous finish.

Llantwit, lacking both physicality and composure on the ball, worked hard to keep us out for the rest of the half yet so nearly levelled on the stroke of halftime when Chris Bell burst into the box unchallenged and was clearly furious with himself for firing wide.

H-T 1-0

Town lost Obi Onyeagwara shortly after the break with what looked like an ominous hamstring injury. He was replaced by Ebraima Davies before a huge roar greeted the appearance of Jake Cass for the last 35 minutes.

Cassy’s first action was to drive 30 yards upfield and set up a chance for Davies before Jonathan Hipployte missed a glorious chance to double the lead by shooting wide. Davies then got even closer when he fluffed his lines with the goal at his mercy.

 Suddenly our visitors began to threaten after making a flurry of substitutions and duly equalised on 70 minutes, Josh Morgan heading in at the far post.

Briefly, the momentum was with the Welshmen but on 83 minutes we were back in front courtesy of a somewhat harshly awarded freekick. Ryley Allen in goal could only parry and Alves was first on hand to smash the rebound into the net.

Two minutes later and what a moment as Cass, with his back to goal, made it 3-1 with a sublime scissor kick but to their credit Llantwit never gave up, reducing the arrears in stoppage time through Sean Williams.

With live music in the bar afterwards, there was a noisy celebratory atmosphere enjoyed, among others, by four young Finland fans who had flown in to watch Thursday’s Wales-Finland Euro 24 play-off but came to watch our game first because of Enfield Town’s “cult” status, as they put it.

Gavin Macpherson was delighted with both the result and performance. “We had people who had never played with each other, young academy lads and trialists. For me it’s a fantastic result and as much as I could have hoped for,” said Gav. “If we judge a possible trip to Italy on Copenhagen, it’s going to be immense.”

Gavin reserved particular warm-hearted comments for Dave Bryant.

“Without Dave, there’s an argument to suggest we wouldn’t be playing in this competition. The round of applause was so fitting. I’ve had to understand in a short space of time just what that guy has done for this football club.”

Town starting line-up

Connolly; Filho, Okotcha, Adeoye, Tanner; Onyeagwara, Soulya-Osekanongo, Beckles-Richards, Otote; Hippolyte, Alves