Johnson, Davison save Town blushes
By Ken Brazier
Harlow Town 1 Enfield Town 3
Town won their sixth consecutive match against Harlow Town, pushing the Essex side further towards Step 8 for 2019/20, but this was a flattering victory in the Easter sunshine.
The Hawks were desperate for points, while Town have been reflecting on what might have been in recent weeks. The attendance of 339 was boosted by a number of vocal YBSK Beveren fans.
There were a few Town moves that caught the eye in the opening period but, as has been the case in a number of matches this season, they petered out in the final third. On 7 minutes, Lewis Taaffe collected the ball out wide on the left and cut inside to shoot, but his effort was blocked by former Towner Taylor Hastings.
Matt Foy, the hosts’ outstanding performer on the day, got behind Dan Rumens after 10 minutes, but Matt Nolan, in for the injured Joe Wright, saved well with his legs. A dangerous cross from Sam Chaney was headed clear by Ugo Udoji at full stretch and, shortly afterwards, home keeper Josh Bexon was glaring daggers at his defender Jonathan Moanda after he had been sold short and, fortunately for the hosts, his clearance bounced off Taaffe and behind to safety.
Rumens headed a Taaffe free-kick over the top on 20 minutes and in Town’s next attack Billy Bricknell picked up Mickey Parcell’s pass and drove towards goal down the right, but his right-foot shot from an angle was kept out by Bexon. That was the striker’s last meaningful action as he hobbled off after treatment on the half hour mark to be replaced by Josh Davison.
With both sides squandering possession all too frequently, the first goal came somewhat out of the blue. Davison picked the ball up on the right and played it inside to Kezie Ibe, who nonchalantly flicked the ball over Bexon and in via the framework of the goal on 38 minutes.
Matt Johnson’s towering header from a corner was blocked by the Hawks’ defence, but Town were probably just about worth their lead at the break as Harlow had offered very little during the opening 45 minutes.
Half-time: Harlow Town 0 Enfield Town 1
The home side came out with all buns blazing and a whipped free kick from Scott Davies on the left beat everyone running in at the back post. For Town, the willing running of Davison almost paid dividends when he drew a low save from Bexon down to his right.
Tom Hitchcock forced a couple of balls to be played back to Nolan and be quickly punted upfield, as some warning signs were starting to flash that end-of-season slumbers should not be the order of the day. Ibe was played in by Davison but his attempted lob over Bexon produced a disappointing finish, before the compliment was repaid and Davison had the ball in the net, but an offside flag had been raised during the build-up. Bexon then tipped an effort from Parcell behind low down, but Harlow deservedly drew level when a long through ball bounced between Weatherstone and Nolan, and the alert Foy darted in between them to finish nicely in the 66th minute.
Jay Porter cleared from Hitchcock just in the nick of time, and then Udoji blazed over when well placed. Porter then got forward to fizz the ball low across the six-yard box, but no-one was on hand to convert as Town sought to repair the damage of the Hawks’ equaliser. Ibe held the ball up well and laid it off to Chaney, whose delayed shot was charged down. Then substitute Aaron Greene floated a cross in from the left bye line but Davison couldn’t connect properly with his head.
With the clock ticking down, Hitchcock ran onto another bouncing through ball and, after Weatherstone had attempted to bring him down (for which the Town centre-back was rightly carded after the move had ended), admirably, stayed on his feet and cut inside with only Nolan to beat. But to the Hawks’ frustration, his finish was poor and didn’t trouble the goalkeeper. To rub salt into home wounds, Harlow then received a double body blow in added time that their overall effort had not deserved. Firstly, Johnson curled one in with his right foot from an angle from the left-hand side of the box and then, within a minute, Davison did well to fire home low through a crowded area on the right – Harlow’s 100th league goal conceded during the 18/19 campaign.
Harlow Town: Josh Bexon, Jonathan Moanda (Christian Adu Gyamfi 86) , Chris Gregan, Taylor Hastings, Ugo Udoji, Fabion Simms, Robert Howard, Scott Davies, Tom Hitchcock, Matt Foy, Yanick Kissi. Unused subs: Reece Hackney, Obasia Uade, Jack Holloway, Julian Schwarzer. Booked: Moanda.
Enfield Town: Matt Nolan, Sam Hatton, Jay Porter, Matt Johnson, Marc Weatherstone, Dan Rumens, Mickey Parcell (Sam Youngs 75), Sam Chaney, Billy Bricknell (Josh Davison 30), Kezie Ibe, Lewis Taaffe (Aaron Greene 80). Unused subs: James Mulley, Bilal Sayoud. Booked: Hatton, Weatherstone.