Abysmal start decides outcome at Fetcham Grove
By Ken Brazier
Leatherhead 4 Enfield Town 1
It was back in early January that Town last visited this part of Surrey and came away in a dark mood after a 4-1 hiding by Leatherhead’s then tenants Kingstonian. Ten months on, the outcome was the same, and on this latest occasion there were again very few positives to reflect upon.
With Remi Sutton injured and Aaron Greene unavailable, Mickey Parcell came in at left back and Lewis Taaffe continued on the same flank, with Brandon Adams partnering Billy Bricknell up front following his four-goal haul for the Under 23s in midweek.
It looked as though Leatherhead had scored with barely a minute on the clock but, as the travelling Towners were still making their way around the perimeter to take their places, the yellow flag of the assistant referee was raised high to prompt sighs of relief. The stay of execution was negligible, however, as a legitimate home goal was registered after five minutes. A move down the left prompted a number of gaps to appear as Town retreated, and Travis Gregory was able to pick his spot beyond Joe Wright. It was 2-0 ten minutes later, when centre back Charlie Wassmer was allowed the freedom of the penalty area at the back post to side-foot home a corner from the right, and 3-0 in the 17th minute, when a free-kick on the right following a foul by Matt Johnson, for which he was carded, was headed home by Shaun Okojie.
With a huge salvage job now on their hands, there was some settling down in the visitors’ play, and there were one or two signs of promise. But too often good looking moves petered out in crucial areas, and there were a number of occasions where there was one pass too many inside the penalty box rather than direct shots on goal and, consequently, home keeper Zaki Oulah was largely untroubled during the first period.
After Wright had saved from Wassmer and Gregory, and Okojie had been kept out by a crucial tackle by Parcell, Johnson had Town’s first meaningful shot on target which was diverted behind. Just before the break Adams cut the ball back for Bricknell to miscue off target from a good position, and the striker also had an attempt blocked by Oulah.
Half-time: Leatherhead 3 Enfield Town 0
Bilal Sayoud replaced Sam Chaney around the hour mark, and began to run at defenders down the left. But, although Town appeared to have stemmed the tide, Leatherhead’s intensity remained admirably high, as it had been from the first whistle, and it was proving difficult to break down a well-drilled rearguard, in which Wassmer, skipper Will Salmon and Jerry Nnamani were outstanding.
The goal of the game came on the break with 12 minutes left on the clock. The ball was picked up in midfield and sprayed out to the onrushing Okojie, who latched onto it at pace and slammed it low past Wright from an acute angle.
When the otherwise excellent Oulah allowed Sayoud’s low drive to squirm under his body in the 80th minute, there was no sensing that the goal back was anything other than a scant consolation, and so it proved. The hard-working Bricknell had the visitors’ final attempt of the game, a header from Parcell’s cross, and the final whistle ended a horrendous eight days for Town, during which they have been knocked out of the FA Trophy and lost ground in the league, with ten goals conceded in three games.
Leatherhead: Zaki Oulah, Will Salmon, Crossley Lema, Will Seager (Robert Cullen 59), Charlie Wassmer, Jerry Nnamani, Daniel Gallagher, D’Sean Theobalds, Shaun Okojie (John Ufuah 85), Jerry Amoo (Ibrahim Olutade 68), Travis Gregory. Unused subs: Elliot Benyon, Robert Mundow.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, Sam Hatton, Mickey Parcell, Matt Johnson, Taofiq Olomowewe, Dan Rumens, Sam Chaney (Bilal Sayoud 59), Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell, Brandon Adams, Lewis Taaffe. Unused subs: Junior Mubiayi, Liam Hope, Sam Youngs, Rian McLean. Booked: Johnson.