Staines edge cold but entertainining encounter
Enfield Town 3 Staines Town 4 -match report by Aaron Patel
On a freezing afternoon at the QEII Stadium, the first effort of the game came from the visitors five minutes in, Mo Bettamer cutting in from the right but seeing his effort from just outside the box turned behind for a corner by Town keeper Joe Wright.
Staines opened the scoring in the 12th minute. After some good midfield interplay in midfield, Lewis Drive took the ball in his stride from the left hand side, avoided two challenges and tucked the ball into the far top corner. Just a minute later Staines doubled their lead. Straight from kick-off Town lost possession and Bettamer latched onto the loose ball, drove into the box and tucked the ball past Wright to make it 2-0.
Town set about getting a foothold in the game and, in the 18th minute, pulled one back. From a throw-in on the right and a ball played into the Swans' box, Brad Watkins knocked the ball down for Jack Hockney to smash it home past keeper Conor Hudnott, who may have got a touch.
With Town back in with a shout, the game was in full flow and, in the 20th minute Bettamer’s left-footed curling effort after cutting in from the right was deflected behind for a corner. Staines were looking the more dangerous of the two side, frequently breaking very quickly.
Then, just before the half-hour mark, Town drew level. After a foul on Hockney, Wadkins played a clever quick free-kick which found Tyler Campbell in behind the Staines defence, and he fired the ball past a surprised Hudnott for the equaliser. Minutes later Town were awarded a penalty, after Ryan Blackman was brought down in the box. Blackman himself stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his penalty was too central and Hudnott kept it out.
Half-time: Enfield Town 2 Staines Town 2
Four minutes after the break, there was some confusion between Hudnott and central defender Ugo Udoji which Wadkins pressed to force a hurried clearance from Hudnot which bounced off the Town striker up in the air, and Wadkins had the presence of mind to manoeuvre himself under the ball and head it into an empty net from close range.
Following Wadkins’ goal, Staines skipper Sam Hatton saw his effort from 25 yards fly just over the crossbar, as the visitors continued to threaten. On the hour Wright did well to save Driver’s effort and, eight minutes later were leve when a cross from the right was smashed in by Driver for his second of the match. Ten minutes later, Staines took the lead once more when a corner from the right-hand side caused chaos in the Town box and Elliot Buchanan managed to back-heel the ball into the goal via a deflection to give the play-off chasing Swans the lead.
Town sub Ryan Blake, looking lively for the hosts, saw a low shot saved Hudnott in the 80th minute for Town's last real chance of the game, which ended with Joe Wright going up for a corner to no avail. Town will of course be disappointed that they did not take at least a point, and on another day they could have taken all three, but there was no denying that Staines looked a very well organised and resolute side who were determined to close in on a coveted play-off spot.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, Mickey Parcell, Samir Bihmoutine, Dan Rumens, Mat Mitchel-King, Adam Martin, Ryan Blackman (c), Jack Hockney (Dernell Wynter, 79), Aaron Greene (Liam Hope, 71), Brad Wadkins (Ryan Blake, 61), Tyler Campbell. Unused subs: Mario Noto, John Kyriacou.
Staines Town: Conor Hudnott, Josh Webb, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Sam Hatton (c), Ugo Udoji, Joash Nembhard (Tommy Brewer, 60), Lewis Driver (Leon Solomon, 79), Wadah Ahmidi, Elliot Buchanan, Mo Bettamer (Jonathan Hippolyte, 81), Max Worsfold. Unused subs: Daniel Brown, Bayley Brown
Town man of the match: Brad Wadkins.