An opening day point
Enfield Town 1 Folkestone Invicta 1
A healthy 513 turned out at a sunny Queen Elizabeth Stadium for the first competitive match of the Andy Leese/Darren Purse era on Saturday, which ended in a 1-1 draw and leaving both sides thinking they could have won, or lost, the game by the final whistle.
Town were without the suspended Purse and longer term injury absentees Mark Kirby, Bobby Devyne and Adam Martin. Invicta were without the injured Joe Taylor and Micheal Everitt but welcomed back Matt Newman.
There was plenty of honest endeavour in the opening period but neither side really tested the goalkeepers too often. With all eleven starters making their Town debuts, Drew Roberts had the first attempt at goal of the new era when he pulled the ball wide, but he had been flagged offside. On ten minutes Ade Yussuff had an effort blocked; a warning of further chances to come for the visitors.
Ralston Gabriel flicked a through ball just wide and then Sam Hasler blazed over from an Invicta knock down on 25 minutes. Three minutes later, Ian Draycott missed a glorious opportunity when he failed to get enough on a header at the far post.
Half-time: Enfield Town 0 Folkestone Invicta 0
Town opened the scoring with a cool finish from Roberts after he had collected the ball from a flick on by Simon Thomas in the 47th minute after good set-up work by Gabriel. He made space for himself and, although his effort wasn’t the cleanest of connections, it had sufficient power to beat a couple of retreating defenders and nestle in the back of the net.
A Sam Youngs inswinging corner than hit to top of the Invicta crossbar as Town pressed for a second, but the visitors rallied and had a good spell. On 67 minutes Draycott was off target, but they drew level following a free-kick on the visitors’ right. Amidst some static defending, Yussuff converted from close range following a scramble. To their credit, Invicta pressed for a win and an attempted clearance by Jack Higgs cannoned off an Invicta forward and flew perilously close over the home crossbar. Joe Wright then made a couple of vital stops, including a fine save from a Josh Vincent header following Hasler’s free kick.
With time running out, a long throw by Rob Bartley caused havoc in the visitors' penalty box after Thomas had flicked it on, but in truth a draw was probably about the right outcome as Taylor McKenzie had a header well saved by Invicta's Tim Roberts at the death.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, John Kyriacou (Steve Wales 46), Danny Rumens, Rob Bartley, Taylor McKenzie, Jack Higgs, Robbie Rees, (Ryan Blackman 74), Sam Youngs, Drew Roberts, Simon Thomas, Ralston Gabriel (Ryan Blake 79). Unused subs: Kreshnic Krasniqi, Richard Hayward. Booked: Kyriacou, Youngs, Roberts, Bartley.
Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Salvyn Kisitu, Kwabena Osei (Jordan Wright 70), Callum Davies, Matt Newman, Sam Hasler, Scott Heard, Ian Draycott, Ade Yussuff, Kieron McCann. Unused subs: Nat Blanks, Euan Sahadow, Ethan Madden, Scott Chalmers-Stevens. Booked: Hasler, Draycott, Vincent.