Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Enfield Runway Ends at Stansted

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 25 January 2011 at Hargrave Park
Stansted 2  Enfield 1
Essex Senior League (step 5)
Venue #368, and here because I could get through by telephone to check that the game had not been postponed on a very wet evening.
This match in one sentence
All three goals came in the first half of a keenly-contested game which threatened to boil over at times, and Enfield will be annoyed to have dropped points here.
This match summed up in the style of:
most players, coaches and managers of both sides
Refffffffff!  Refffffffff!  Ref!  I got the ball! He got the ball! Refffffffff!  Help ‘im out, lino!  Reffffffffffffff!  Ref!  Handball!  Ref!  Reffffffffffff!  Didn’t you see that? You’re ‘avin’ a laff!  Ref!  Reffffffff!  You booking me for that???  I got the ball! He got the ball, ref!  Lino!!!!  How can I be offside?  He was on, lino! Ref! Reffffffffffffff! Lino! Reffff! etc etc
(ad nauseam for ninety minutes or so)
So what?
Current reigning league champions Stansted started the night in 4th place, 12 points behind their table-topping visitors but with 5 games in hand.  They of course still have the 5 games, and have reduced the deficit to 9 points.  The games in hand are because of an excellent run in the FA Vase, where they have a home tie coming up against Dunston UTS in the last sixteen.
The drama unfolds
All three goals came in the first quarter.  Stansted took their first real chance and went into the lead in the first ten minutes.  1-0.  Then this happened.  1-1.

However, in the first attack after the restart the ball broke to a Stansted player directly in front of goal and he smashed it in for the lead.  2-1.

Tackles started flying in on a very wet surface and the referee struggled to keep control, with one significant melee before the break.  Both teams argued with each other and among themselves and with the officials.  2-1 at half-time.

In the second half, Enfield threatened to carve the home defence open with slick one-touch approach play.  They hit the woodwork and the home keeper was a busy man, as in these examples.

However, Stansted’s direct breaks also created chances and they missed at least three good ones.  Although it felt as if they were hanging on at times, especially as Enfield’s substitutes reinforced the attack, Stansted could reasonably say that they had more clear chances over the 90 minutes and deserved the points. Enfield could reasonably say that they played the neater football, but Stansted would point to the scoreboard, so to speak.  A decent evening's entertainment for the passing neutral, even in the pouring rain.  2-1 at full-time.
Alternative activity of equal excitement for tourists in Stansted Mountfitchet
Go to The House on the Hill Toy Museum and find out if they have any early Subbuteo figures or the fabled streaker set.  The overall effect is even better if you can take some young people with you and explain to them in a repeating loop that toys of yesteryear are so much more educational and beneficial than first-person shootemups or TV tie-in exploitation games, and that you learned all you know about parabolas by playing Waddington’s Table Soccer (the one that was like tiddlywinks).
A snippet from the programme
I just have to give you two of them this time.

Karen Shoebridge is the lady on the cover of the programme.  She is the chairman’s daughter and she is warmly thanked for all that she does for the club.  This seems to include much paperwork and “manning the tea bar on her own” against Takeley.  I’m not sure what Messrs Gray and Keys would have to say about this but “Stansted FC is fully appreciative of what you do for us, Karen, although you ask no reward it sometimes needs to be made known countless hours spent on our behalf carry rich levels of importance”.

The chairman himself is not so lucky.  Terry Shoebridge is also thanked for “his unstinting support levels over such a lengthy period of time (down to the anal’s of folklore)”.  Indeed. A catapostrophe which will be added to the lists kept by the annal retentives, I reckon.
What I learned today
Enfield are one of four teams from this division (alongside Barkingside, Burnham Ramblers and Witham Town) who aspire to step 4 football.  The demise of Leyton and Ashford Town (Kent) this season may open the door a little wider for teams from this league.
What Next?
Probably some Saturday randomness because there is nothing close enough until then.

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