Enfield Town FC 2-0 Crystal Palace XI
Tuesday 28 July 2015
For some reason i start singing Cheer Up London by Slaves on the walk up from Enfield Chase to the ground. Don’t know why, maybe it was the gruelling hour i’d just spent with the capital’s outward bound commuters fighting for air and a place to stand. No joy, just the utter soul-destroying human emptiness and silent carnage of a tightly packed train carriage filled with trapped Londoners on their way home from work. I even start doing the Slaves lolloping nu-lad stage-school swagger as i near Donkey Lane. Cheer up London it’s not that bad. I feel slightly disgusted with myself but entirely justified.
Tuesday night football. Pre-season friendly. Wrong side of North london. A lifetime of travel, but worth it to catch Crystal Palace play at one of the most beautifully realised clubs in non-league. Enfield Town has history and heritage. Walking through the turnstiles it’s like entering a footballing oasis. You can feel it radiate from the brickwork of the iconic cafe tower, out over the mainstand, across the pitch, in the atmosphere, on the face of every person present. The ground is surrounded on all sides by a wall of trees that stand on a built up grassy bank. It’s an impressive sight.
In the stadium there is every kind of fan present – nippers, kids, youngsters, boys, lads, blokes, fellas, geezers (and yes the female equivalents). It genuinely feels like an extended family day out.
Something else feels different too, fan owned for sure, but there’s a sense of unspoken pride entirely appropriate in what these people have created here. They were the first, it was Enfield Town who took the leap of faith into the unknown, blazing a trail for fan owned clubs to come. And it feels like a club at ease with its own sense of self. ‘Our club our community’ boasts the logo and you get the impression everyone present has a genuine investment in that sentiment.
You could tell from the off it wasn’t a Palace first team squad. Apparently academy lads were sent up north for a bit of competitive match practice and Enfield gave them a lesson in nailing down some liquid football.
Proficient and comfortable from the start, Enfield found their pace almost immediately and took the game to the Palace youngsters. Both teams played a confident passing game, but it was Enfield fired up for a bit more attacking play. Something to prove maybe against the premiership big boys.
Enfield got an early penalty courtesy of some sloppy Palace contact and the crowd became vocal and animated for the first time. Unfortunately it wasn’t converted into a goal and someone behind me mutters ‘it’s like Barnet all over again’ in despondent tones. I thought not like Barnet all over again, fuck that. But to be fair to Enfield they continued to pass the ball around with flair and focus pestering the Palace defence, eventually paying off mid way through the first half with a beautifully finished goal, lofted neatly over the shoulder of the Palace keeper who’d come of his line and was sent the wrong way.
Palace responded by upping their game and could have equalised soon after with a blistering shot bouncing off the post. But Enfield kept their heads and showed their class and by the end of the first half looked easily the better side.
In the second half Enfield continued to push forward putting together some nice flourishes showing they are already working together as a tight team unit. Their efforts were rewarded with another equally impressive goal as the ball was threaded through the Palace defence to be neatly slotted home past the poor keeper who was getting no end of stick from the Enfield fans behind the goal.
Talking of Enfield fans there wasn’t much visible evidence of the world famous Enfield Town Ultras. Don’t know if they are keeping their powder dry for the start of the new season but would have be nice to see some flags and banners out (If the ultras want a banner doing i’m up for it).
If you’re north london based and up for some regular non-league football then you can’t do better than Enfield Town and on tonight’s performance you’d be cheering them on throughout the season.
black and charcoal Lonsdale two-tone hoodie
grey Firetrap Stand-up polo shirt
stone Peaceful Hooligan container shorts review here
aluminium grey and white Adidas OG Gazelles
The look: nu-lad meets old skool one five summer evening mash-up, if you were wondering