Tough encounter ends in stalemate
By Ken Brazier
Enfield Town 0 Tonbridge Angels 0
An uncompromising encounter between two play-off contenders ended with a point apiece at the QEII Stadium, an outcome few present would have argued with as anything but fair. This was the Angels' second 0-0 away draw in three days.
Town had much the better of the first half. In the 8th minute Billy Bricknell planted a header wide following a good cross from the right and, three minutes later, a superb effort from Sam Youngs came down off the underside of the bar with Jon Henly beaten; Bricknell's follow-up being saved by the visitors' keeper. The first of a number of penalty claims during the afternoon was turned down by referee High Gilroy in the 16th minute when Kezie Ibe might have been impeded. Then, a couple of minutes later at the opposite end, Tonbridge’s Tom Derry beat the offside trap, but Matt Nolan did well to come off his line and narrow the angle. Once the ball had been played inside more Town defenders had managed to get back in time to smother the attack.
In the 25th minute a great Town move down the left saw Jay Porter play the ball in to Bricknell, on to Ibe and a nice side-foot to set up Mickey Parcell ending with a carefully placed low shot drifting just wide of Henly's right hand post. Youngs fired well over the top around the half hour mark.
Following a reasonable home shout for hands in the box when James Folkes shepherded the ball out for a corner, Town hit the woodwork again when centre back Dan Rumens thundered a header from a corner against the bar with Henly beaten.
As the opening half came to a close, Parcell did well to get his head to a fine ball which was about to reach Joe Turner in a dangerous position and, soon afterwards, the hosts were thankful when a free kick for Angels just outside their box was hit by Turner straight into the arms of Nolan.
Half-time: Enfield Town 0 Tonbridge Angels 0
The Angels had an increasingly blustery wind behind them in the second period, and Town soon had a let off when a mix-up between Nolan and Rumens let in Derry for a glorious opportunity, but he contrived to miss the target with the goal at his mercy.
Turner's corner shortly afterwards found the head of Arthur Lee, but the centre-back's effort hit the woodwork. Referee Gilroy, having earlier incensed some visiting supporters earlier for showing a yellow rather than a red card to Parcell for what they perceived to be a dangerous challenge on Adem Ramaden in the opening period, opted to show a lenient-looking yellow to Lee when he was arguably last man and had brought down Bricknell, but the consequent free kick came to nothing.
In the 75th minute, Nolan denied Read with a fine save as the Angels went for the jugular (there had been Angels' claims for handball in the box seconds earlier) while, at the other end, some good work by sub Karl Oliyide, wearing a Town shirt on loan from Hampton for the final time prior to a return to his parent club, ended with a cut-back to Bricknell, but his shot was kept out by a sea of Tonbridge bodies.
Substitute Aaron Greene, on for Jay Porter, raced down the left and his low cross into the danger area was acrobatically palmed away by Henly and somehow, from a Town perspective, the ball ended up the wrong side of the near post. That was the final meaningful action of a tight match, in which Town had had the majority of the play in the opening 45 minutes, with the visitors probably enjoying the lion's share of the second.
Assistant Manager Mario Noto said "on reflection, I'm fairly happy with a point. I thought it was a very tight game against a good side, with plenty of commitment and very few clear cut chances in difficult conditions. Chances were at a premium, and it was a shame we couldn't capitalise in the first half, when I felt we dominated for long spells.
“At half time Andy Leese and I told the lads it would be a totally different game after the break and so it proved, with Tonbridge coming at us more. It was a feisty game at times, and I was pleased with the effort and attitude we showed".
Enfield Town: Matt Nolan, Mickey Parcell, Jay Porter (Aaron Greene 76) Sam Hatton, Marc Weatherstone, Dan Rumens, Ryan Blackman, Matt Johnson, Billy Bricknell, Kezie Ibe (Karl Oliyide 66), Sam Youngs (James Mulley 84). Unused: Josh Davison, Lewis Taaffe. Booked: Parcell, Blakcmna, Greene, Hatton.
Tonbridge Angels: Jon Henly, James Folkes (Liam Smith 84), Jack Parter, D'Sean Theobalds, Sonny Miles, Arthur Lee, Adem Ramaden, Tom Parkinson, Alex Read, Tom Derry (Chinedu McKenzie 66), Joe Turner. Unused: Tom Beere, Craig Stone. Booked: Derry, Lee.