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Enfield Town FC Reserves/U18s
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6th March 2009
Wednesday 24th March 2009
Bishop's Stortford Res (4) 6 Hill 9, 16, 24, 48, 53; Webb 27
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Report by Mark Emblen
Town took to the field at a cold Woodside Park (fortunately it had stopped snowing!), with a predominantly youth side to face a strong home team that sent out a number of first team players that had travelled to Bath City 24 hours earlier only to be thwarted by the weather at 7:00pm. Unfortunately, Ryan Warren was unable to get through the warm up, as he struggled with the badly bruised foot he picked up last week. That gave Alex Kennedy the opportunity to make his Capital League debut rather sooner than the original teamsheet predicted.
Almost from the off Rory Hill, recently signed by the home side from Gillingham, gave an indication that the Town defence was going to be in for a busy evening, as Harry Ricketts had to be smartly off his line to foil the oncoming striker whose effort, although lifted over the 'keeper, went harmlessly wide. On 7 minutes, however, Town took the lead as Jermain Hughes showed good pace and strength to hold off a number of challenges & round Erbil Bozkurt to slot home, having picked up the ball fully 30 yards from goal. The lead was only to last two minutes though, as Hill equalised with a well placed shot past Ricketts' right hand, skillfully creating the space and angle to get his shot away.
With the play going from end to end, Liam Francis's fierce shot brought a smart diving save from Bozkurt, but on 16 minutes Stortford took the lead, Hill scoring with a high quality run and finish leaving Ricketts with no chance. Ricketts then thwarted Hill again, before Hughes scored his and Town's second on 19 minutes, rounding the 'keeper only to for a goal line clearance to halt his initial effort but making no mistake with the rebound. Unfortunately for both Hughes and Town, he picked up a knock in the process. To Hughes' credit he played on throughout the 90 minutes, but was unable to make the most of his dangerous pace. Hill completed his hat-trick on 24 minutes and with Jimmy Webb adding a fourth goal on 27 minutes, the home side was beginning to dominate the game, making the most of the width of the fine playing surface to stretch the Town defence while not being afraid to launch a long ball if the option presented itself. That Archie Morris and Tyler Christian-Law kept Duane Jackman relatively quiet throughout was a credit to them both. Town's back line was defending deeply with Joe Packenham and Alex Cattini tackling back in support of Alex Kennedy and Ricky Stoyles who had their hands full with Webb and Jordan Wilson's strength and speed. That gave the home team a number of opportunities for long range shooting practice. Fortunately, whoever was on duty to recover balls from outside the ground was far busier than Ricketts as a result. Town were restricted to playing on the break, Billy 'lucky boy' Healey coming closest with a deft flick from Francis's long through ball that didn't quite beat Bozkurt. On the stroke of half time Duane Jackman headed harmlessly over from Webb's cross.
Town reorganised at the break, Otis Williams going to centre forward, with Hughes dropping back into midfield. However, it took Hill less than 3 minutes of the second half to score his fourth, and Stortford's fifth, converting after Ricketts had made a good save to keep out his initial strike. 5 minutes later it was Hill again who forced his way through Town's back line to score what turned out to be the last goal of the game although Jordan Wilson's smart lob and Narada Bernard's driven cross kept the pressure on Ricketts' goal.
Perhaps the home side took its foot off the gas, but Town came more into the game as the second half wore on. Roraigh Yearwood replaced Stoyles on 65 minutes, to add his pace up front. As Town pressed forward, Christian-Law found time off from his defensive duties to shoot from inside the box. Again though, Ricketts had to react quickly to stop Hill adding to his personal tally.
On 75 minutes, Williams was replaced by Jason Holmes. Town's U-18's custodian slotted straight into an unfamiliar centre forward position and almost scored with his first touch, his shot unfortunately beating both 'keeper and post. As the game drew to a close, Holmes delivered a fine cross from the right that just eluded Healey. Perhaps not surprisingly, the final piece of action involved Stortford's Hill, who drew a decent save from Ricketts.
Enfield Town: Ricketts, Stoyles (Yearwood 65), Kennedy, Christian-Law, Morris, Williams (Holmes 75), Francis (c), Cattini, Packenham, Healey, Hughes.
Referee: Colin Overall (Essex) Assistants: Peter Jago (London), Ray Martin (Norfolk)