Not A Good Day On The Road For Town
By Dean Vale
Town can have few complaints after a hugely disappointing end to a week that saw us reach the Velocity trophy final, which will coincidentally also be against Hornchurch in April.
Match Report by Andrew Warshaw
AFC Hornchurch 2 Enfield Town 0
Andy Leese’s team will have to fare considerably better than this dress rehearsal if we are to lift some silverware after being out-fought and out-maneuvered by an Urchins side comprehensively rebuilt under manager Mark Stimson.
Despite being backed by a strong away following, once again lack of consistency cost us dearly. Even though we are still within touching distance of the play-offs, we cannot afford many more performances like this after creating precious little up front throughout the 90 minutes.
With Joe Wright, penalty-saving hero in midweek, missing after picking up yet another injury, Matt Nolan was called up while Jay Porter made his debut at left-back having just arrived, ironically from Hornchurch. Equally ironically, his opposite number was Remi Sutton who recently left us to go the other way and join the Urchins.
Hornchurch fans arriving at the ground expressed their frustration at Porter leaving, singing his praises about how dangerous he was going forward. But his former teammates knew exactly how to deal with him, targeting him from the outset and hardly allowing him to breathe.
Only once was he allowed to show what he could do, delivering a pinpoint cross to pick out Mickey Parcell on the stroke of halftime, only for Parcell’s free header from three yards out to be planted straight at Callum Chafer.
It was the Towners’ only first-half effort on target and by then we were already a goal down having played far too negatively with Billy Bricknell up front on his own. Indeed, Hornchurch should have been ahead well before Ronnie Winn accurately drove home after being put through by Charlie Stimson, son of the manager, on 29 minutes, following Alex Bentley’s long throw-in.
Although Enfield upped the tempo for the remainder of the half, they lost far too many second balls as Hornchurch, belying their position in the table, were a yard quicker.
HT: Hornchurch 1 Enfield 0
The visitors had done too little as an attacking force and when Enfield did pick up the pace, they invariably over hit their crosses or lost possession in promising areas. One couldn’t really blame fatigue as Hornchurch also had to play in midweek and it will particularly disappoint the management team that we didn’t show the same speed of thought as the opposition.
As the second half progressed, so Hornchurch produced a flurry of corners, Nolan keeping Enfield in the game from one of them as he tipped over Remi Sutton’s header. A switch in formation and a succession of substitutions briefly galvanised Town but still we created only half-chances, failing to seriously test the home keeper, and on 74 minutes were made to pay. A rare mistake by Marc Weatherstone, under pressure from Marks, allowed the ball to be played into the path of Stimson who rounded the keeper to finish coolly.
Having had a first-half penalty appeal for handball waved away, Dan Rumens, arguably our best player on the day who cleared one effort off the line, went down under a strong challenge late in the game. But once again the referee wasn’t interested. All that remained was for Nolan to prevent further damage with a superb tip-over save from Marks from yet another set-piece.
An off-day, then, but there is still plenty of time to climb back up the table, starting next Saturday when we need to make home advantage count in a potential six-pointer against Folkestone.
Matt Nolan, Sam Hatton (Kezie Ibe, 52) , Marc Weatherstone, Dan Rumens, Jay Porter, Mickey Parcell, Ryan Blackman (Sam Chaney, 67) , Billy Bricknell, Sam Youngs (Josh Davison 73) , Aaron Green
subs not used: Bilal Sayoud, James Mulley
Callum Chafer, Alex Bentley, Remi Sutton, George Winn, Kenzer Lee, Jordan Clark, George Saunders (Sean Marks 23), Lewis Spence (Sonny Dutton 86), Charlie Stimson (James Goode 90), Christou, R Winn. Unused: Harvey Wright