|A MINUTE'S SILENCE WAS HELD IN RESPECT AND MEMORY OF MARGARET ERRINGTON|
Enfield 1893 FC were in good from going into their Essex Senior League Challenge Cup First Round game with West Essex on Monday evening at The Harlow Arena. They had won five of their last seven games after tasting victory just twice in their opening sixteen matches which came against Burnham Ramblers, who have been struggling at the wrong of the table, in the ESL and in the FA Vase against Thurlow Nunn Premier Division FC Clacton. The Seasiders are rooted to the bottom of their division and look set for relegation.
West Essex, a club whose roots lie in Highams Park, but presently ground-share at Barking's Mayesbrook Park (where they moved so they had a ground which came up the required standards for promotion) are in their first season at step five of the non-league ladder were in seventeenth place of the ESL compared to the host's who had climbed to fifteenth with their up-turn in form so on form this was expected to be a close game. West Essex's head coach Kwame Kwateng has been in charge of the club since 2013 and will be relatively pleased with his teams start to life in the ESL. They had won three of their opening five games before a run of fourteen without a victory before winning three of their last eight going into this game.
Before the game both sets of players along with the coaching staff, officials and spectators stood and observed a one minute's silence in memory of Margaret Errington who sadly recently passed away. Margaret, wife to league president Robert, was a great friend to many and a great supporter of the competition for many years.
After the freezing weather in the week beforehand Monday evening was quite mild considering it was December and the countdown to Christmas was well and truly on. There was fog in the air at the start which as you will see gradually descended on the area over the ninety minutes with visibility down to just about manageable for a game of football at the end. 1893's goalkeeper Russell Harley (who has also represented Basildon United) is a real character of the game shouting all sorts such as 'Over here...I'm the fat one in the blue' to get his manager's attention during the game and 'Don't listen to me then i'm just a muppet' when his request for his team to bring back an extra central defender when they were taking corners was refused.
Enfield 1893 FC's manager Matthew Hanning has made nine changes to his team which won 1-3 at Ilford on Saturday and it was West Essex, bedecked in brilliant black and amber horizontal striped shirts, who had the better of the early exchanges on the Harlow artificial surface. True to form as mentioned the game was 0-0 at half time but there was soon a goal in the second half when West Essex's ex Chingford Athletic (the current Essex Alliance League Champions) striker Michael Mignot chased down a through ball and cooly slotted past Harley in goal on 48 minutes.
Enfield 1893 equalised when a nice through ball sent Ashley Blackburn through on goal and his shot from the edge of the box was placed nicely in the corner of the net with the away goalkeeper not having a chance to save it.
|JAMES BRIGGS - THE ESSEX SENIOR LEAGUE FREE-KICK SPECIALIST AND CLAPTON FC LEGEND CAME ON AS SUBSTITUTE FOR ENFIELD FC 1893|
On the bench for the home side was ex Clapton player James Briggs who is idolised by the Ton's Ultras and was once uniquely described in 2013 by louderthanwar.com as 'a player who combines the build of a Jacomo model with the poise and agility of Beth Tweddle.' Briggs is a famed free-kick specialist and another of the local game's real characters - he only had one chance to score a free-kick in this game which was easily saved by the goalkeeper.
|THE VIEW ACROSS TO THE MAIN STAND AT FULL TIME|
|"FOG!!!" - REDUCED VISIBILITY DURING THE GAME WAS REDUCED FURTHER DURING THE PENALTY KICKS|
It was all square on ninety minutes so the match went straight to penalty kicks and the fog became thicker and came down more towards the pitch as you'll see from the highlights video below.
West Essex hit one of their kicks over the bar, one hit the bar and was caught just in time by Harley who casually shouted 'just in case' as he did so and then he got down to his left to save another to put his side through to the second round by a score-line of 3-1 on penalty kicks.
1893 travel to Burnham Ramblers tomorrow afternoon with West Essex playing an East London Friday night derby tonight which ended in a 5-1 victory for The Motormen. 1893 entertain Wadham Lodge in Round Two of the Challenge Cup - A date is yet to be arranged.
inc the foggy penalty kicks at the end