Moment of quality ends Town's season
By Ken Brazier
Brightlingsea Regent 1 Enfield Town 0
A disappointing 2018/19 league campaign petered out with a single-goal defeat in deepest Essex on Saturday. Town finished in 10th position, despite being the division’s third highest goalscorers and having the third best goal difference.
The visitors were carrying a few knocks going into this game and the bench was adjusted accordingly. On a bumpy and dusty surface, Kezie Ibe hit the outside of the post to keeper James Bradbrook’s right in the 4th minute and, on reflection, this was probably Town’s best chance in the entire game, during which neither goalkeeper was fully tested.
In the 15th minute, after being fed by Aaron Greene Ibe managed to turn and shoot in a similar position to his earlier effort, but this time his shot was blocked. Ibe then turned provider on the right, wrestling his way past Jake Gould and crossing low, but the ball ended up just behind the well-positioned Sam Chaney.
A good Matt Johnson cross from the right saw Josh Gould get his head to the ball just ahead of the onrushing Ibe before, shortly afterwards, home fans were appealing half-heartedly for a penalty when Marc Weatherstone outmuscled Billy Hunt and got his head to the ball as both players fell to the ground. Sam Youngs’ firmly hit cross from the left evaded everyone as goalmouth action was increasingly at a premium, with both sides concentrating on getting to grips with the bobbling ball and swirling wind in midfield.
George Quarrington- Carter came on for Weatherstone, who needed to hobble off after a challenge ten minutes before the break and looked composed in only his second appearance of the season. After Chaney had fired well off target, Green worked his way into a good position and set up Ibe, but his effort was also wide of the mark.
Half-time: Brightlingsea Regent 0 Enfield Town 0
Soon after the restart, Youngs shot over with his left foot before, moments later, Ricky Griggs got past Jamie Porter, but the Town full-back recovered well with a vital tackle. Approaching the hour mark Sam Hatton made two important headers clear to help keep his side in the game, before Jake Turner’s deflected effort failed to trouble Nolan unduly. Turner then poked a loose ball past the post with Porter in close attendance before Aaron Condon, making his last Regent appearance before relocating to Sussex, shot well wide of the mark.
Nolan had to watch an awkward, bouncing effort from home sub Harry Morgan all the way into his arms as the clocked ticked down with little sign of the end-of-season deadlock being broken. Hatton headed clear in a crowded box, before Nolan rushed off his line to grab the ball inches ahead of Jake Gould, and then Joe Yaxley skewed wide from a promising position. After a Matt Cripps effort had been charged down by Quarrington-Carter, Greene played in Davison to run through on goal, but an offside flag had been raised, despite the referee seemingly not noticing it for some time.
The match-winning goal arrived with around ten minutes left to play. A long throw in from the right found Pip Boyland in the box, with his shot being deflected behind for a corner. Positioning himself in pretty much the same spot, the subsequent corner found him unmarked and he powered in a fine header giving Nolan no chance.
Brightlingsea Regent: James Bradbrook, Ricky Griggs, Jake Gould, Jordan Barnett (Adam Shaikly 90), Josh Gould, Matt Cripps, Joe Yaxley (Pip Boyland 74), Jake Turner, Billy Hunt, Chiagozie Emeh (Harry Morgan 55), Aaron Condon. Unused subs: none.
Enfield Town: Matt Nolan, James Mulley (Bilal Sayoud 66), Jamie Porter, Matt Johnson, Sam Hatton, Marc Weatherstone (George Quarrington-Carter 35), Sam Youngs (Lewis Taaffe 60), Sam Chaney, Kezie Ibe, Josh Davison, Aaron Greene. Unused subs: Ed Thompson, Steve Wales. Booked: Weatherstone.