East Thurrock United 1-1 Enfield Town
Saturday 18 April 2015
Ryman League Premier Division
Town pegged back but edge closer
A 1-1 draw at East Thurrock on Saturday stretched the run of games without a win against the Rocks to 14, but kept Enfield Town within the play-off zone, a point ahead of Met Police
On a sunny spring afternoon, Town found it difficult to get going in the first half; not for the first time recently a bumpy pitch and stiff breeze not helping their cause.
A very good save within the first couple of minutes by Nathan McDonald diving low to keep out an effort from Lewis Smith set the tone as Town took a while to settle. Tyler Campbell was soon prominent on the left, however, and Connor Witherspoon was booked for bringing him down after a quarter of an hour. Nathan Livings then found himself following Witherspoon into referee Jake Hillier’s notebook for an infringement. Livings went on to draw a save from home keeper David Hughes, after great set-up work by Corey Whitely, then, in the 20th minute, a mazy run from Bobby Devyne ended with him pulling a shot just wide.
In the 28th minute, McDonald had to be at his best again to keep out a free-kick from Sam Higgins and, a minute later, Devyne had another effort blocked by Ben Wood. Corey Whitely couldn’t quite direct his header from Campbell’s cross and then, at the other end, McDonald kept Town in the game again with a brilliant save from Witherspoon’s header. The half ended with Mitchell Gilbey shooting inches wide for East Thurrock.
Half-time: East Thurrock United 0 Enfield Town 0
Town were quick out of the blocks in the second period, and keeper Hughes had to come out smartly to beat Whitely to a through ball. Then Devyne beat the offside trap but shot wide from a promising position. On 52 minutes, Joe Ellul powered a header into the back of the net from a Livings corner, but referee Hillier was adamant he had seen an infringement and the goal was chalked off. Town did not lose focus, however, and Jordan Lockie was inches wide with a great first-time hit.
Devyne headed a cross from Ryan Doyle over the bar and then shortly afterwards had another effort blocked by the home defence. In the 68th minute, Kye Ruel saw yellow after he had been adjudged to have dived after contact with McDonald in an effort to gain a penalty for the home side. Town finally got the goal they craved after 72 minutes when a ball into the danger area from Whitely was turned goalwards by Bobby Devyne, and home defender Tom Stephen got the final decisive touch past Hughes.
Buoyed by the goal, Town applied further pressure and both Dernell Wynter and Tyler Campbell had efforts smothered by Hughes when well placed. But United were still looking dangerous, and in the 82nd minute, Ricky Gabriel was adjudged to have brought down David Bryant in the box. The division’s leading scorer Sam Higgins slammed home the penalty via the post to McDonald’s left.
A few minutes later, Gabriel, having been booked following the penalty incident, picked up a second yellow card for a relatively innocuous contact with Witherspoon. This was one of many inconsistent decisions by referee Hillier, but overall on reflection a draw was probably just about right on the day.
East Thurrock United: David Hughes, Ryan Sammons (Simon Peddie 73), Tom Stephen, Ben Wood, Paul Goodacre, Nicky Symons, Mitchell Gilbey (David Bryant 65), Connor Witherspoon , Sam Higgins, Kye Ruel (Ellis Brown 80), 11 Lewis Smith. Booked: Witherspoon, Gilbey, Ruel. Unused subs: Joe Paxman, Ellis Brown.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jordan Lockie, Ricky Gabriel, Claudiu Vilcu, Joe Ellul, Stanley Muguo, Nathan Livings, Ryan Doyle (Dernell Wynter 70), Corey Whitely, Bobby Devyne (Michael Kalu 86), Tyler Campbell. Liam Hope, Phil Kane. Booked: Livings, Gabriel. Sent off: Gabriel.
photo courtesy: Dave Pestell