Town a whisker away from victory
Maidstone United 2 Enfield Town 2
A superbly disciplined display by Enfield Town bridged the gap between Bostik Premier and National League at Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium on Saturday, but both sides have it all to do again on Tuesday night (17th) after a pulsating encounter.
On an exceptionally mild October afternoon the game exploded from the off when referee Wayne Cartmel awarded a penalty to the home side following contact between Danny Rumens and Delano Sam-Yorke within the first minute. Zavon Hines eventually took the spot-kick, but inexplicably stopped his run up completely before chipping the ball into the centre of the goal past a committed Joe Wright.
The FA’s website reveals, as part of Law 14: “feinting to kick the ball once the kicker has completed the run-up (feinting in the run-up is permitted) - the referee cautions the kicker……… play will be stopped and restarted with an indirect free kick, regardless of whether or not a goal is scored” so, despite a good number of mystified spectators and players protesting otherwise, Mr Cartmel clearly applied the laws correctly by ruling out the goal, awarding a free-kick and carding Hines.
Wright saved a dangerous free-kick from Joe Pigott a couple of minutes later and, at the other end, there was more marginal contact, in the home penalty area this time, when Montell Moore appeared to be impeded but nothing was given. Moore then couldn’t quite find Simon Thomas with his through ball while, at the other end, Wright collected a high cross from the right by Stuart Lewis. A Sam Youngs flighted free-kick then floated just beyond the goal line before it could be headed back across goal, but Town nevertheless took the lead with a well-executed goal in the 20th minute. Moore fed Parcell, who galloped down the right and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Thomas to rise and nod beyond home keeper Lee Worgan’s grasp to his left.
There was a scare for the visitors when a Joe Anderson header flew narrowly wide of Wright’s left hand post as the Stones initiated a period of possession and pressure. Wright tipped a Sam-Yorke header over and then Jack Paxman fired wide from Hines’ corner kick.
Pigott was well off target with half an hour gone, but in the 39th minute the hosts were awarded a second penalty when Ryan Blackman was adjudge to have impeded Lewis. Again Hines took the kick, but Wright made a great save to his right. Then, just as Town were expecting the half-time whistle to sound at any moment, the hosts were level. Seth Nana Twumasi crossed from the right and Alex Wynter’s glancing header went into the net via a post. Wright subsequently made a vital stop from Lewis as a breathless half came to an end, with Maidstone on top but Town very well organised and playing on the break effectively.
Half-time: Maidstone United 1 Enfield Town 1
After Wright had saved from Pigott soon after the restart, Hines fed Sam-Yorke whose low drive came back off the woodwork and Darren Purse was on hand to clear behind for a corner, which Wright did well to punch clear. Lewis miscued when well placed and a Parcell run ended with a left-foot shot which lacked sufficient power to trouble Worgan.
An astonishing third penalty award, this time to Town, followed in the 56th minute. Following a cross from Aaron Greene, the contact this time was adjudged to have been between Ollie Muldoon and Sam Youngs. Purse took his time and made no mistake, confidently dispatching the kick to Worgan’s left.
Hines was perhaps fortunate not to pick up a second yellow card when he challenged Parcell dangerously. But the Stones upped the ante, and Pigott was inches away from connecting with a cross from Lewis. Youngs saw a shot charged down, as did Lewis at the other end. Wright held a Muldoon drive from distance and then Taylor McKenzie was able to cut out a run from Johan ter Horst as the former Hull City player lost control at a vital moment. Sub Ryan Blake fired wide from a Thomas knock-down but had been flagged offside. Ter Horst then had a header saved and Blake was thwarted by Worgan, who then kept out Blackman, who may have been impeded as he bore down on goal.
The indicator board was held up showing five minutes of added time, but Town were still containing well and the Stones appeared to be running out of ideas. Then, in the cruellest fashion, after 94 minutes sub Jamar Loza twisted and turned into a shooting position and cannoned an effort off an upright, only for the bounce to favour Pigott, who gratefully slammed the ball home from close range.
The final whistle sounded immediately after the restart, signalling a desperately disappointing end to the game from a Town perspective, as their performance against a side two divisions higher had been as memorable as the atmosphere created by the noisy contingent of 217 travelling supporters.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Seth Nana Twumasi, Alex Finney, Alex Wynter, Joe Anderson, Jack Paxman (Jai Reason 76), Stuart Lewis, Ollie Muldoon, Zavon Hines (Jamar Loza 65), Delano Sam-Yorke (Johan ter Horst 73), Joe Pigott. Unused subs: Josh Hare, Reece Prestedge, Jack Richards, Tom Wraight. Booked: Hines, Twumasi.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, Mickey Parcell (John Kyriacou 73), Danny Rumens, Darren Purse, Taylor McKenzie, Adam Martin, Ryan Blackman, Sam Youngs, Montell Moore (Ryan Blake 73), Simon Thomas (Ben Ward-Cochrane 85), 11. Aaron Greene. Unused subs: Rob Bartley, Drew Roberts, Jack Hockney, George Beattie. Booked: Youngs, Parcell.