Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Enfield Town Over the Redbridge

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Monday 2 January 2012 at The Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, Donkey Lane, Enfield
Enfield Town 3 Redbridge 0
Isthmian League Div One North (Step 4)
After a long fruitless day in the car yesterday I needed somewhere a little closer to home – I had not yet seen Town at their new (and impressive) home.  Lots of hoppers in attendance, and this is #445 for me on the lifetime list.
This match in one sentence
The Redbridge challenge fell away somewhat after a tight and feisty first half, and in the end this was a comfortable win.
So what?
Enfield Town are second behind Leiston – a point behind and having played a game more.  Redbridge are 15th but their FA Cup exploits mean that they have three or so games in hand on those around them.  However, if they won them all they would still only be 9th.
Something random
Arty Composition of Non-League Scooby-Doo Trees and Sky No.73

The drama unfolds
It took Town only three minutes to take the lead.  Adam Wallace did his stuff on the right in the box and crafted a straightforward chance for Jon Moore.  I consigned my 31-min golden goal ticket to the same pocket as the bread pudding wrapper.  Another investment disaster.  1-0

Moore scores and it's 1-0
Here’s my scene-setter clip.

Redbridge came close twice in quick succession after 16 minutes.  Firstly, Nathan Gordon sent a dangerous low cross skimming straight through the six-yard box from the right.  When it came back from the left, he just failed to connect at the far post.

Home players ask themselves questions and Nathan Gordon looks peeved
My second clip (as you will see I am strolling around the perimeter as usual) is from 28 minutes in.  It ends with a great run on the break from Redbridge’s Joe Gardiner, which drew ooooohs of relief from the Town supporters.

Adam Wallace, however, was repeatedly catching the eye with his willingness to take on defenders and his intelligent final balls in the box.  Matthew Turpin also caught the eye in the busy Redbridge defence.  This corner came after 33 minutes.

As half-time approached I noted, “Will one goal be enough?” but then there was a flare-up just before the whistle.  Wallace had been felled in a challenge a moment earlier, and then Redbridge #10 Ryan Wade jumped for the ball near the touchline.  Sadly, my direct line of sight was impeded by the dugouts but there was a loud reaction from everyone nearby.  Wade got a yellow card, and Town supporters howled in protest, claiming that he had led with his elbow.  There were plenty of hoppers with cameras, and from what I saw being shown around it would not surprise me if incriminating evidence has appeared by now to support that view.  Ref and linos had to intervene between players and bench staff as the whistle went, and Wade came in for loud and sustained personal abuse from one of the home staff.  It was a highly unpleasant atmosphere as finally the ref and linos walked along their protected pathway to the sound of obscenities from a line of youngsters.  1-0 at half-time

Fortunately, the nastiness seemed to evaporate during the break, but Town certainly set about the task of extending their lead with plenty of energy and purpose.  I took an early clip while keeping an eye on the development of an interesting non-league sunset.  It shows two shooting chances for Town’s Liam Hope.

I do enjoy a good non-league sky ... you don't get these in the Premier League
After 55 minutes, fair play to Hope.  He unselfishly gave up another shooting chance to set the ball up for Neil Johnson, arriving from midfield.  A good goal, and well deserved in the context of the second half.  2-0

There were a few more incidents of note but nothing that really looked like affecting the destination of the points.  Someone was sent off from the Redbridge bench (though in this set up it was easy for him to get messages through so it was symbolic only).  Town’s goalkeeper Neil Imber made a good save from a corner, and his otherwise impressive teammate Walid Matata was booked, I assume for diving.

I joined the Redbridge supporters and took a clip of their attempts to get back into the game.

I sidled up to the balcony and took a clip looking down on the action.

I was edging towards the exit and was thus in a good position to capture the final goal.  Everyone celebrates with Hope for touching in substitute Leon Osei’s freekick in the closing moments.  However, it seems that Hope has had a touch of conscience or realism as all the records give the goal to Osei.  Have a look and see what you think.  Final score 3-0

Here's the match post from Enfield Town stalwart @thecoldend - unfortunately he didn't know I was there so our paths did not fully cross this time, but I am still grateful for all the tweeting support that he has given to this blog since it started.  If you are not following him then you should - he has posts with numbers in them too.


Tough decision, several good performances within the Enfield Town side but on balance I choose #7 Adam Wallace, especially for his first-half showing.
A snippet from the programme
This is an excellent glossy effort with substantial articles that are much better than average for this level.  There is a two-page analysis of the season from manager Steve Newing, but of necessity written before the Christmas programme.
“Certainly there is no team to fear in this league but there are teams to be respected along with others all the way to the bottom who are capable of taking points off anyone.  If we were to replicate our points tally over the second half of the season we would end on 88 points, which with the league being its most competitive for the last three seasons would go mighty close to winning it.  The move into our new home here at the QE has come at exactly the right time for the club.”
What I learned today
This is a venue that exceeded my expectations in many respects.  A massive car park, my first ever pre-match bread pudding (I should probably not eat anything again until February to be honest, 43 gazillion calories for 50p), a distinctive main stand.  I am not generally a fan of grounds with athletic tracks but the QE2 is far and away the best I have found.  The stands behind the goals sit neatly within the track, and this makes a massive difference to the atmosphere.

Enfield Town's main stand is a Listed building rather than the listing ones you often find
The physical location of the end stands is a key feature of the design
What Next?
For the record, on New Year’s Day I reacted with a resigned laugh rather than rude words as the news of the Colwyn Bay postponement reached me – I had just crossed Offa’s Dyke.  It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last.  I think it’s about time I returned to the roots of the blog and introduced a random element for next Saturday, but at this time of year weather is always a factor and I tend to leave decisions until as late as possible.  Watch this space, or @GrahamYapp on Twitter.  Thank you for all the support – December was a record month for hits, and I am grateful for all your interest and comment.

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