TOWN BOOSTED BY EXTRA FANS AND 3 POINTS
By Ken Brazier
Enfield Town 3 Leatherhead 1; Town moved to within 4 points of the play-off places with an emphatic win against in-form Leatherhead at the QES on Sat.
Town moved to within four points of the play-off places with an emphatic win against an in-form Leatherhead side at the QES on Saturday. With Met Police surprisingly slipping up at Bury Town (1-2), fifth spot is now all to play for with, arguably, nine chasing clubs including Town in with a shout. The excellent 471 crowd was swelled by a healthy contingent of noisy YB SK Beveren fans, kindly making the trip to Middlesex on a free weekend for them.
On a mainly bright but chilly afternoon, Town attacked the A10 end in the first half and had a number of chances. Aryan Tajbakhsh had a shot after being set up by Jordan Lockie and Corey Whitely and then, in the 22nd minute, Bobby Devyne was played through in a promising position but was flagged offside. Following a headed clearance by the Tanners’ back line, Mark Kirby waited for the ball to drop and then thundered in a shot in which was well blocked by Joe Bruce.
Becka-Kah Dembele had a decent left-foot shot just over and then, on 26 minutes, Ricky Gabriel got in a good tackle on Kiernan Hughes-Mason to snuff out the danger. Corey Whitely and Claudiu vilcu were both denied by good saves from the visitors’ keeper Louis Wells, and then an awkward bounce thwarted Devyne as he bore down on goal. Ten minutes before the break Whitely had a superb effort brilliantly saved by Wells.
Devyne then had a couple of chances – firstly he drew another save out of Wells, and then he found the side-netting after a neat, flowing move ending with a near-post cross by Joe Stevens. Matt Smart had a shot blocked by Stan Muguo for Leatherhead as the sides turned round all-square.
Half-time: Enfield Town 0 Leatherhead 0
The second period, having been delayed while a replacement assistant referee was arranged following an unforeseen injury, was only seconds old when Enfield took the lead. Straight from the kick-off, Devyne played in Whitely and he finished with a calm assurance. The visitors looked stunned, having been caught totally cold. Tajbakhsh then had a crack following Stevens’ pass and, in the 58th minute, Whitely was clipped in the box by Jerry Nnamani with referee Matthew Buonassisi pointing to the spot with no hesitation whatsoever. Ryan Doyle planted the kick firmly past Wells, the day before the Town man was due to take part in the Vitality North London Half Marathon.
Both sides made a number of substitutions as the half progressed, but the home side looked firmly in control. In the 68th minute, Vas Karagiannis had a good shot beaten away by Nathan McDonald, but then at the other end Wells made another fine stop as he brilliantly kept out an effort from Lockie, and then a combination of Adam Green and Joshn Gallagher kept somehow kept the ball out from the rebound, which was otherwise dipping under the bar.
The game was put to bed by the prolific Bobby Devyne, who latched onto a through ball with around ten minutes left on the clock and planted the ball low past Wells. Sub Michael Kalu then had a promising run, but the ball ended up in Wells’ grasp.
Leatherhead’s misery was compounded when Hughes-Mason was dismissed for what looked like dissent. They did manage a consolation goal in the final minute of the match, however, when Paul Semakula netted after a defensive mix up.
Town now move on to Witham Town on Tuesday.
Full-time: Enfield Town 3 Leatherhead 1
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jordan Lockie, Ricky Gabriel, Claudiu vilcu, Mark Kirby, Stanley Muguo, Ryan Doyle, Aryan Tajbakhsh (Liam Hope 71), Corey Whitely, Bobby Devyne (Michael Kalu 80), Joe Stevens (Tyler Campbell 71). Unused subs: Joe Ellul, Dernell Wynter. Booked: Vilcu, Devyne, Tajbakhsh.
Leatherhead: Louis Wells, Becka-Kah Dembele, Adam Green, Matt Smart (Neil Barrett 66), Joe Bruce, Jerry Nnamani, Richard Avery (Josh Gallagher 67), Paul Semakula, Carl Rook (Mark Nwokeji 60), Kiernan Hughes-Mason, Vasileious Karagiannis. Unused subs: Ryan Mahal, Richard Brady. Booked: Rook, Nnamani, Gallagher, Nwokeji. Sent off: Hughes-Mason.