Witham Town 2 Enfield Town 1
By Graham Dodd
Under 23's stumble in their quest for the title
On a windy night in Witham, playing on a poor, bobbly surface with an inconsistent display from the man in the middle, Town's title hopes suffered a massive blow. But in truth, while their average all round display was not up to the standards they have set themselves this year, they still created more than enough chances to get something from the game.
Witham were robust in their challenges from the start which unsettled Town, who were still trying to play their football, but 17 minutes had elapsed before any action of note from either side. Town broke from deep and Gidion Nsiah went passed his full back and appeared to be pulled to the ground, but Town's penalty shout fell on deaf ears.
Teddy Wallduck made a fine save from close range, before Josh Davison also appeared to be fouled in the area but again nothing was given. Minutes later however Town took the lead when Necati Gench's corner was stabbed home by Dan Heald. The game became a midfield battle with little flowing football on show and Town's next chance came when Blue Gallagher shot wide.
Disaster struck in the final minute of the half. Town gave away a free kick in the middle of their half, Junior Mubiayi failed to track his marker whose low cross into the area was straight at Kobi Coker who slipped and fell to the floor and when the ball struck him the referee awarded a penalty to Witham which was converted. Town complained loudly about the decision, for which the assistant who was nearer to play gave nothing.
Town started the second half much brighter and both Nsiah and Mubiayi fired shots over the bar from the edge of the area. Nsiah then had another chance when the home keeper totally missed the bounce of the ball but two covering defenders scrambled the ball away. The referee then awarded the home side another penalty when Duewaan Mc Kennon went to ground in a challenge and from the tangle of legs another kick was given which was also converted.
Coker was replaced by Unamdi Egboh as Town changed their shape and upped their game. Skipper Joe Devaney headed over from close range, Gench shot wide and several goalmouth scrambles saw some desperate defending from the home team. In a rare break Wallduck was forced into anther fine save, but Town came again with another Devaney header over the bar. Jamie Doyle and Brandon White were introduced for Gallagher and Gench, but with the help of some not inconsiderable time wasting, Witham saw the game out.
Town now go into the Bowers game on the 27th as a must win game, to take the title to the final game of the season, though that may even not be enough.
Teddy Wallduck, Duewaan Mc Kennon, Necati Gench (Jamie Doyle), Joe Devaney (capt), Kobi Coker (Unamdi Egboh), Dan Heald, Dante Mc Intosh, Blue Gallagher (Brandon White), Junior Mubiayi, Josh Davison, Gidion Nsiah sub not used Lewis King