Needham Market 2-3 Enfield Town FC
Saturday 12 December 2015
Ryman League Premier Division
by Ken Brazier
It was a terrific performance from Town, full of guts and determination, against a form side who were hitherto unbeaten in eight matches.
The hosts were first to show, and Nathan McDonald had to be at full stretch to tip over a dangerous high ball in from the Needham right after a couple of minutes. But Town then took a grip on proceedings and dominated the remainder of the half. Samir Bihmoutine couldn’t quite get to a through-ball from Claudiu Vilcu, and Corey Whitely had a good effort turned behind by home keeper Danny Gay. Defender Darryl Coakley then cleared off the line from the same player.
The opener wasn’t long in coming, though. In the 17th minute, after a good move down the left, Whitely powered in a low drive to give Gay no chance from 20 yards. Bihmoutine then had another shot saved, this after a delay while a spectator was receiving medical attention after collapsing on the terraces. Thankfully, the individual concerned recovered sufficiently to walk from the ground and the game continued.
On 25 minutes, the Marketmen suffered a blow when central defender Joe Whight limped off to be replaced by Sam Nunn. In a rare home attack, Coakley had a free-kick comfortably caught by McDonald. As the game entered the half hour mark, Claudiu Vilcu had a great chance to extend Town’s lead as he dribbled through into a promising position, but his precise shot rolled agonisingly wide.
A couple of minutes later, Town appeared to have worked an opening culminating with a fine goal thanks to some great approach play between Whitely and Tyler Campbell, with Whitely finishing emphatically. But the linesman’s flag remained vertical during the celebrations and the “goal” was chalked off, after a lengthy discussion between the officials, apparently for offside.
Nathan Livings had another shot saved by Gay, but then Mickey Parcell had to put in a great tackle on Needham’s Jordan Patrick in a breakaway attack.
Half-time: Needham Market 0 Enfield Town 1
All Town’s hard work was undone in an instant within a few minutes of the restart when a corner by Luke Ingram flew through a crowd of bodies to put the home side level. But, less than two minutes later, in the 54th minute, Harold Joseph powered in a header off the underside of the crossbar after a flick on from Harry Ottaway to restore Town’s lead.
Although Town fans have been taking nothing for granted recently with a number of healthy leads in the second halves of games being clawed back, things did look good for the visitors when Nathan Livings stroked home a third from Stan Muguo’s square pass on the edge of the box after 55 minutes.
Sam Nunn fired over as Needham attempted to claw their way back into the game and, at the other end, Claudiu Vilcu had a shot parried by Gay. Campbell then went on a lung-busting run down the left with fifteen minutes left for play, but the ball and player were ushered out by Ollie Brown.
With ten minutes left, McDonald saved Ollie Mann’s low shot but, five minutes later, Ingram was brought down by Vilcu in the area to throw Needham a lifeline. Former Colchester man Kem Izzett converted the spot kick to set up a tense finale. With time running out, Vilcu fired a free-kick from a promising position way over the home crossbar, but the Town rearguard held firm to secure a welcome three points in very difficult conditions.
Full-time: Needham Market 2 Enfield Town 3
Watch the match highlights of previous games on ETFCTV here
Photos courtesy: Tom Scott (full match photos here)
Read more here: http://www.enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk/teams/65370/match-centre/1-1607430