Enfield Town 2 Concord Rangers 1
Town turned in another brilliant performance tonight against Concord Rangers at Goldsdown Road. Every player in the Town team showed determination and put in an immense amount of hard work to take the three points. Rudi Hall, Adam Wallace and Ben Hammond (who looks like the signing of the season so far) shone for the cold end on a wonderful night of football for Town.
Town took the lead on seven minutes in the first goalmouth action of the game when Ben Hammond on the right hand side put a cross into the six yard box which looked to be drifting wide but the ball was put past Concord keeper Dale Brightly by one of his own defenders under pressure from Wallace and Hope. Scoreline commented it was the best own-goal he had seen for a number of years.
It didn't take long for the away side to equalise when Liam Hopkins shot on the turn from the edge of the box flew past the diving Rob Blackburne into the right hand corner of the goal on eleven minutes.
Town came back at Concord and it was the impressive Hammond who had the next chance when his shot from outside of the box stung the hands of Brightly who palmed the ball out for a corner. From the resulting kick the ball pinged about the penalty box and it appeared that Paul Marks was fouled from behind when on the ball inside the box with assistant referee Andreas Anastasiou who had a good view of the incident flagging from the far side for an unknown reason (possibly a penalty??). Referee Tom Donnellan didn't stop play and the assistant's flag was lowered after a few seconds and the game was played on much to the annoyance of the Town fan's present among the crowd of 182 people.
Taylor Sinfield then replaced Scott Kinch for Concord who came off the field of play with a injury. Liam Hope had his first chance of the game then with a shot which went wide of Brightly's left hand post.
Concord then in an attack worked the ball across for right to left and Hopkins found himself free. He will look back wanting to do better with the resultant shot which Blackburne saved easily.
Town easily looked the better side and were playing much the better football with Rudi Hall putting in an immense performance in the centre of midfield. Adam Wallace hit the post from a Dave Blower cross and was unlucky with the shot afterwards which went over the bar.
The game then looked to boil over when Michael Bardle appeared to be elbowed by one of the Concord players very close to the Enfield dug-out with referee Donnelllan waiving play-on despite major protests from the bench and the fact Bardle was on the floor injured. All I can say is it looked much worse than the incident Paul Marks was sent-off for against Lowestoft Town.
The Concord bench then complained about Town returning the ball from the re-start for a throw in and not directly to their keeper. A comment heard was 'Enfield are getting all the decisions' which appeared to everyone present clearly not to be true.
Concord substitute Sinfield then gave away a free kick outside of the box for high feet. Rudi Hall's free kick headed towards the bottom left hand corner of Brightly's goal with everyone looking thinking it was going to be routine save for the Concord stopper. It seemed as if he was caught in two minds and the ball snuck into the net beneath his dive to make it a deserved 2-1 to Enfield right on half time.
The Second Half started with Concord looking the brighter team with Ashley Robinson replacing Michael Begg who had had a quite game after being so influential in the Trophy game at Thames Road. They never really created any clear cut chances with Enfield's back four holding firm.
Town came back at Concord with Rudi had another free kick from outside the box which Brightly calmly saved at the second attempt after dropping the ball at first and a header was tipped over the bar by Brightly from a Hall corner.
On 65 minutes Hope came off with Stuart Blackburne coming on with Lee Williams coming off for Concord to be replaced by ex Redbridge and Newport County player Dave Collins who is known as a free-kick specialist.
Ben Hammond who had been brilliant going forward putting the ball into danger areas in the box all night showed he was just as good at getting back defending when a ball fell inside the box with Concord looking to equalise Hammond put the challenge in which put the forward off with the ball going out for a corner. Hammond was replaced by Sam Byfield shortly after with Bardle swopping left midfield for right and Byfield playing on the aforementioned right hand side.
The game looked to be going Town's way but it was still very nerve-wracking towards the end of the game with only one goal in it and Concord's attackers Ross Wall and Lyle Taylor always likely to score from a half-chance.
Taylor who had been very quiet all night then had a glorious chance to make the game all square when the ball bounced to him on the edge of the six yard box. His shot went wide thankfully.
The last action of the game was Sam Byfield's shot which went wide of the goal and it was then the referee blew the whistle to cap an excellent victory for Steve and Del's Enfield Team.
Town are now unbeaten in four league matches and are playing the best football we have seen all season. To beat top sides Concord Rangers and Thamesmead Town and to run Lowestoft Town so close shows Steve and Del have put together a great side who work their socks off for each other and if they continue to play like they have done have every chance to be up in the play-off section come the end of the season.
The team and management were quite rightly cheered and clapped off the pitch as they walked down the tunnel. Town were the better side in all departments tonight and deserved the victory against a very good Concord side who will be up the top half of the league at the end of the season.
Well done to all concerned and here's to another three points on Saturday against VCD Athletic.
UP THE TOWN!!!
Blackburne, Blower, Bastian, Hammond (Byfield), Kirby, McKay, Marks, Hall, Hope (Blackburne S), Wallace, Bardle.
Unusued subs - Smith, Morton, Holmes.
Brightly, Watson, Beale, Williams (Collins), Easterford, Skelton, Begg (Robinson), Kinch (Sinfield), Taylor, Wall, Hopkins.
Unused subs - Buckfield, Butterworth.