Great second half effort not enough
By Ken Brazier
Merstham 1 Enfield Town 0
GREAT SECOND HALF EFFORT NOT ENOUGH
MERSTHAM 1 ENFIELD TOWN 0
On another day, Town would not have been flattered to have won this game comfortably writes Ram Ismail. But, on an exceptionally frustrating day, although the vast majority of the match statistics were in favour of the visitors, the only stat that mattered left them with nothing to show on their travels.
Merstham’s Gus Sow was first to show early on, but he screwed his shot wide of an upright after a cross from the hosts’ left. There were some end-to-end exchanges in the first ten minutes or so before Matt Johnson fed Billy Bricknell, but Amadou Tangara in goal saved comfortably. Tangara also dealt with an effort from Town debutant Kezie Ibe before, on 13 minutes, disaster struck when, with no apparent danger, Joe Wright made a rare error, spilling a cross to the feet of Walter Figueira, who had a simple tap in.
Skipper Ryan Blackman found Sam Youngs, whose shot was deflected for a corner. Another Youngs effort produced the same outcome after some good set-up play between Ibe and Bricknell. Johnson and Ibe then combined to play in Blackman, but he shot over. Merstham’s Roman Michael-Percil found Figueira advancing on goal shortly before the break, but Wright raced off his line and managed to clear fractionally ahead of the onrushing Moatsiders’ striker. Wright then saved from Michael-Percil as the half ended.
Half-time: Merstham 1 Enfield Town 0
Sam Hatton came on for the injured Dan Rumens for the second period, which overwhelmingly belonged to Town with Wright largely untroubled. But Merstham were well-organised, however, and still looked very dangerous on the break, with a number of pacey-counter attacks.
A route one kick from Wright found its way to Bricknell, who played the ball to Sayoud, but he blasted wide from ten yards. Bricknell then picked up a clearance following a Blackman free-kick but shot wide, and then another, deflected, effort from the same player was kept out by Tangara.
Approaching the hour mark, Johnson found Bricknell, who opted to chest the ball down and was crowded out by the home defence. Tangara saved from Bricknell again following Mickey Parcell’s cross, and Hatton headed over from a corner.
After 73 minutes, Remi Sutton surged down the middle and played the ball to Youngs, whose effort was saved comfortably. A controversial moment came and went in the 80th minute when Bricknell flicked on to Marc Weatherstone to nod into the home net, but there was an offside call at some point during the build-up; Town’s players and supporters were mystified and disappointed in equal measure.
With very little time remaining, another Youngs header was gathered by Tangara and a wayward header from a home defender produced another save from keeper. Finally, Weatherstone’s back-post header from Blackman’s cross flew agonisingly wide as Town confined this out-of-luck day to the history books.
Merstham: Amadou Tangara, Harry Osborne, Tom Bird (Ben Harrison 60), Simon Cooper, Ollie Cook, Tom Kavanagh, Kershaney Samuels (Fabio Saraiva 75), Kenny Beaney, Walter Figueira, Gus Sow, Roman Michael-Percil (Tayshan Hayden-Smith 87). Unused subs: Calum Davies, Caio Guimaraes. Booked: Osborne, Kavanagh.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, Mickey Parcell, Remi Sutton, Matt Johnson, Marc Weatherstone, Dan Rumens (Sam Hatton 46), Bilal Sayoud (Aaron Greene 65), Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell, Sam Youngs, Kezie Ibe (Josh Davison 76). Unused subs: Junior Mubiayi, Bradley Empson. Booked: Parcell.