FC Romania and Enfield 1893 were not in action on the opening day of the season so last night's game at Theobalds Lane was both their first games of the 2017/18 campaign. The home side who have finished 5th, 6th, 3rd and 3rd since joining the league are expected to do well again with 1893, who struggled at times last season ending up in 18th place, making a number of good signings over the summer looking to move up the table. A possible two promotion places to step four on the non-league ladder are up for grabs with the re-organisation of the pyramid.
FC Romania dominated the first half and had possession of the ball for long periods - they scored in the opening minutes of the game to make it 1-0. 1893 sat back and defended well at times keeping themselves in the game.
The second half was a different story with 1893 looking a lot sharper and wider in attacking FC Romania - they put a number of great crosses into the box relying on the strength and power of centre-forward Josh Sykes who scored many goals for Eton Manor last season. There was a handball shout in the box which could of been given either way and then Adrian Darabant made a superb save to keep the score at 1-0 from a shot from outside of box which sportingly 1893's Adiola Balogun congratulated him on.
It seemed like the luck wasn't in for the visitors as FC Romania scored two late goals - one a deflected free-kick (see below) that their keeper had no chance with and then the impressive Florin Pop ran from the right hand side and crossed for their player unmarked at the far post to tap in where he couldn't really miss.
I thought FC Romania central defender Cosmin Sandu was one of the best players on the pitch - he looks composed on the ball and did well in the air against Sykes.
The final score of 3-0 was rather harsh on the visitors who I think will finish much higher then where they ended up last season. Could it be the season FC Romania achieve the promotion they have been after?
Both teams are in Emirates FA Cup action on Saturday with FC Romania welcoming fellow ESL side Waltham Forest to Theobalds Lane and 1893 playing Thurlow Nunn League side Haverhill Borough.
The Stags drew 2-2 at Hullbridge Sports on the opening day of the season before losing 2-5 at home to Woodford Town 2017 yesterday evening. Woodford had lost 0-5 at home to Ilford on the opening day.
Haverhill Borough are yet to play this season - they were promoted from Division One of the Thurlow Nunn league last season where they finished in third place.