Enfield Town FC 4-0 Leatherhead
I swear the Enfield groundsman’s got a direct line to god, just as the game gets underway the clouds part and the sun bursts through shining down on another dazzling Enfield performance. The last fling of an indian summer and a beautiful backdrop to a brilliant game of football. There’s something mesmerising in the way the players shadows dart across the soft emerald green surface getting longer as the game progresses, there’s something equally mesmerising in the way Enfield’s attack stays sharp and decisive, finishing clinical and classy. We’re talking quality execution and effective teamwork here, a clear sign of an increasingly self-confident side coming together as a unit.
But fair play to Leatherhead, the eventual scoreline doesn’t really do their contribution justice, they fought for the full 90 minutes, had their share of goal scoring opportunities, and looking back it must be a bit of a mystery to them how they ended up on the coach back to Surrey four goals worse off. The game started, as all Enfield home games are required to do, at a frenetic pace the ball bouncing around as each side settled in and looked for ways to take control of the middle of the park.
Enfield play a demanding running game and the amount of work required to anchor down possession is a testament to the level of fitness these fellas have, the pace rarely slackens, and when they’re on form, like today, their opponents will always be playing catch up. It’s exhausting to witness, exhilarating to watch.
If Enfield’s running game made all the difference it was their finishing that was exemplary. A masterclass of poise in front of goal. The opener came mid-way through the first half and began with an explosive run from deep in Enfield’s own half by Tayshan Hayden-Smith laying off a precision pass to Dernell Winter whose blistering shot on goal from the eighteen yard line was deflected by the keeper to a perfectly placed Tyler Campbell to slot the ball, calm as you like, into an open net.
The rest of the half saw Enfield testing the opposition at every turn, they kept solid and resourceful at the back, alert and responsive, which allowed them to keep a clean sheet, but they couldn’t quite manage to add to the scoreline. They made up for it early in the second half though when the ball was knocked forward to Ryan Doyle who had steamed through leaving the Leatherhead defence no-where and finished it with long-range strike across the box that thundered into the back of the net.
The third was another brilliant darting off-the-ball run this time by Ricky Gabriel who whipped in a cross from the byline to be met by the right foot of Dernell Wynter chipping the keeper for number three. That should have been the end of it as far as Enfield were concerned, job done, game sewn up, until that is Tyler Campbell got hold of the ball and took it half the length of the pitch only to gift a pass to Harry Ottoway who had no hesitation in cracking home Enfield’s fourth.
I was brought up on watching wingers, players running into space, running with the ball, taking on defenders, creating chances out of nothing, today’s match reminded me of those days. Proper football. And with this kind of football you get the feeling in the pit of your stomach you’re watching something good happen.
Special mention goes out to the Enfield Town Ultras who have elevated riling the opposition keeper from behind the goal to a fine art, refined no doubt on the back of several trips to the bar. Plus Enfield’s very own Wealdstone raider – a hectoring one-man touchline tsunami of criticism and abuse directed at the “lino” calling into question his eyesight, his ability to make a decision and his parentage. A good day all round at Donkey Lane.
Fjallraven Nordli jacket (khaki)
Ben Sherman Romford polo shirt (red)
Nudie jeans (sharp dark straight Sven)
Adidas Hawaii trainers (reviewed here)
The look: cockney kuff dam