Enfield Town 4 Bishops Stortford 3
By Graham Dodd
A close encounter!
Town completed their home programme undefeated, but were pushed all the way by a good Stortford side who never gave up. The game started at a frenetic pace, with Town enjoying most of the early possession and earned a string of corners all taken by debutant Brandon White, swung into the 6 yard box.
Kobi Coker headed the first chance over the bar from a yard out, Dan Heald saw a header cleared off the line and the impressive Callum Lynskey in the Stortford goal claimed several other high balls. Stortford saw plenty of the ball and were working hard in midfield, denying Town time of the ball and resulting in a longer style of play for the home team which they are unsuited to.
Stortford had one long range effort whistle over the bar, before they took the lead on 28 minutes following a break from another Town corner. A long run into Town's area and pass saw a shot hit the post, with the rebound tucked away from close range. Town were a little unsettled but continued to create chances.
White sent Josh Davison away but he shot against the keeper's legs and from yet another corner, Dante Mc Intosh completely missed his kick from 2 yards out with the goal begging. The equaliser came just before half time when Mc Intosh's lofted pass sent Davison away from his marker and although the keeper attempted to trip him up, he kept his composure and rounded the keeper to slot home.
Town started the 2nd half much better. Joe Devaney and Lewis King combined well down the left and King's cross found Davison who forced another save from Lynskey. There was a half hearted penalty appeal when White went down in the box before he was replaced by Junior Mubiayi. And within minutes Town went ahead when Coker's long free kick into the area found Davison who guided a header past the keeper.
Stortford to their credit upped their game again, had a goal rightly disallowed for offside, before equalising with a poor goal from Town's perspective. What appeared to be a long hopeful ball over the top had Coker and Heald running back towards their own goal and keeper Teddy Wallduck racing off his line. Confusion reigned and a Stortford forward took advantage to score easily.
Town reacted by withdrawing Blue Gallagher who had worked tirelessly in midfield with Sansom Esan and another debutant Gidion Nsiah with Jamie Doyle. Mubiayi should have scored when he was sent clear with just Lynskey to beat, but delayed his shot and the keeper saved again. With just 4 minutes on the clock Mubiayi redeemed himself finishing from close range after more good work by Lewis and Doyle on the left, but the best was yet to come.
Esan picked the ball up just inside Stortford's half and ran at the defence, evading several challenges before releasing a thunderbolt which crashed in off the underside of the bar for a terrific goal. Still Stortford were not done and in the last minute of injury time had a free header in the area from a free kick with just seconds left.
So Town keep the pressure on Bowers & Pitsea, a game in hand, 4 points behind. On Wednesday February 20th Town travel to Witham and on the 27th travel to Bowers for the crunch game. Town then finish at Greenwich Borough, while Bowers visit Stortford, so there is still much to play for.
Teddy Wallduck, Duewaan Mc Kennon, Dan Heald, Kobi Coker, Lewis King, Joe Devaney (capt), Dante Mc Intosh, Blue Gallagher (Sansom Esan), Brandon White (Junior Mubiayi), Josh Davison, Gidion Nsiah (Jamie Doyle), unused sub Necati Gench