A wind-assisted thriller at the QEII Stadium
By Ken Brazier
Enfield Town 3 Bognor Regis Town 3
A WIND-ASSISTED THRILLER AT THE QEII STADIUM
Considering the near gale force winds this was a good advert for the Ryman League Premier Division.
Town, attacking the A10 end, kicked into the wind in the first half, and a dividend was reaped as early as the 8th minute when, after Joe Payne and Matt Johnson had gone close, a free kick in a central position from fully thirty yards out was blasted home superbly by Lewis Taaffe, giving Bognor debutant Petar Durin in goal absolutely no chance.
The visitors were level six minutes later when, for the second time within a few minutes of each other, a free kick on the right-hand edge of the home area was squared inside by Harvey Whyte for Theo Widdrington. On the first occasion, the training ground routine was blocked; the second time the ball ended in the back of the next at the near post.
After Marc Weatherstone had headed wide from Kezie Ibe's flick on, and Billy Bricknell was inches away from getting onto the end of a great ball in from the right by Town man-of-the-match Taaffe, Bricknell was then denied by a block from Harvey Read. Taaffe's low effort was then tipped round by Croatian Portsmouth loanee Durin as the half came to a close.
Half-time: Enfield Town 1 Bognor Regis Town 1
Soon after the break Durin was in action again diving low to keep out Johnson, while James Mulley and Bricknell had shots blocked in rapid succession.
For the Rocks, the ever-dangerous Mason Walsh was denied by a good save from Matt Nolan, while at the opposite end, some good interplay between Ibe and Bricknell looked promising for Enfield but it petered out with Durin saving from Ibe.
After Ryan Blackman had fouled Leon Maloney in a dangerous poisition, Widdrington blasted the consequent free kick wide. On 68 minutes Nolan rode his luck when another wind-assisted shot from distance, from Widdrington this time, hit the bar, then his body as he was in full flight, and the ball somehow staying out. But in the 74th minute a good move down the Rocks' right ended with a ball played inside by Walsh for Bradley Lethbridge to covert to the delight of the travelling away fans.
Enfield were not to be denied, however, and substitute Sam Chaney managed to bundle the ball past Durin just inside the post to level things up in the 78th minute. Back came Bognor, and Whyte's corner found Chad Field, whose header was cleared off the line. On 82 minutes the Sussex outfit looked to have won the game when another corner was carried by the wind to the far post and curled back into the danger area by Walsh, the accurate effort beating Nolan with no-one else getting a touch.
With time running out, Bricknell manoeuvred his way into a shooting position on the edge of the box, but Town’s leading goalscorer was denied by an impressive goalline clearance by Keaton Wood. But there was another twist in this breathless, end-to-end encounter when, with three minutes to play, Chaney's corner was attacked by a number of players, and Ibe was credited with the final touch, now officially confirmed, with the referee’s assistant correctly flagging that the ball had crossed the line before being cleared.
Enfield Town: Matt Nolan, Sam Hatton, Jay Porter (Aaron Greene 72), Matt Johnson, Marc Weatherstone, Joe Payne, Lewis Taaffe (Josh Davison 82), Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell, Kezie Ibe, James Mulley (Sam Chaney 74). Unused subs: Dan Rumens, Josh Davison, Dan Heald. Booked: Johnson, Chaney.
Bognor Regis Town: Petar Durin, Ed Sanders, Keaton Wood, Richard Gilot, Chad Field, Harvey Read, Harvey Whyte, Theo Widdrington, Bradley Lethbridge, Leon Maloney (Jimmy Wild 81), Mason Walsh, Tommy Scutt. Unused subs: Josh McCormick, Joe Bennett. Booked: Walsh.