Stotfold 4 Enfield Borough 1
It was a bad day at the office as Enfield Borough lost 4-1 at Stotfold on Saturday. Facing the form team in the division, a series of problems did nothing to help Borough’s cause, but it took until the second half before the visitors showed any sense of purpose in their play.
After last week’s resounding victory over Brimsdown, the intention was to keep an unchanged team. However captain Dervon Hurde had not recovered from an injury that he received last week, midfield dynamo Hamza Semakula was one of two call offs on the morning of the match while a major accident on the A1(M) saw Elliot Harris held up in the tailback and he eventually arrived midway through the first half. This resulted in Dawid Nikolaj, Malachi Peynado-Peart and Jamiah Lawrence-Plentie taking their places in the starting eleven. With an unbeaten run stretching back to early November, a confident Stotfold were on the front foot from the start. In the first minute Owen Robertson mishit his shot but the ball fell for Jordan Cleghorn who tumbled in the box when challenged by Kofi Appiah, but the referee waved play on. Even with the strong prevailing crossfield wind keeper Kacper Wojcik dealt comfortably with a Kieran Barnes free kick. In a rare counter Borough won a free kick on the edge of the Stotfold penalty box, but Richard Ennin’s shot clipped the wall which took the pace off it and Liam Gooch saved with ease. Wojcik saved from Barnes and Robertson’s shot was well off target as Stotfold continued their onslaught. Barnes collected the ball and drove into the penalty box before firing across the face of goal while Jan Yildiz managed to recover from a stumble to block Robertson’s goalbound attempt.
After twenty two minutes Stotfold took the lead. Kim Forsythe made a run to the near post and leapt highest to glance Robertson’s corner past Wojcik and into the net. The keeper did better when he dived at the foot of the post to keep out Robbie Buchanan’s header. But seven minutes after opening the scoring the hosts doubled their lead. A Barnes corner was only cleared as far as the taker who sent over a right wing cross to the back post where Cleghorn nipped in unmarked to nod home. Appiah cleared a Forsythe header off the line but the reprieve was only brief. A free kick from inside the Stotfold penalty box was flicked on by Forsythe for Buchanan who proceeded to torment Yildiz before calmly dispatching the ball past Wojcik.
Borough were forced to introduce their two substitutes at the interval with Elliot Harris and Kemai Wright replacing the injured Carvalho and the below par Lawrence-Plentie. Their impact was immediately obvious with the former taking his frustration at the “Journey from Hell” out on the pitch. After a first half almost totally devoid of scoring opportunities, Borough now seized the initiative. Nikolaj had a chance after a Harris free kick dropped to him in the box but his shot was charged down. Another set piece saw Harris bend the ball around the wall and Gooch saved well before reacting smartly to block Wright’s follow up. Ennin was off target with a snapshot before Forsythe replied for the hosts when he managed to clip the outside of the post from close range.
With twenty minutes gone Ennin was fouled twenty five yards from goal. While all the players lined up at the far post Harris curled the ball into the near post where it beat Gooch’s despairing dive and nestled in the net. Blessing Tshibikubla followed Appiah into the referee’s notebook for an accumulation of fouls before Ennin blocked a clearance prior to unleashing a shot from twenty yards that flew just wide of the post with Gooch beaten. Harris had the best chance to double Borough’s tally when Peynado-Peart laid the ball into his path. Having outpaced his marker Harris slotted the ball wide of Gooch who managed to reach it when it appeared to have already gone past him. Nine minutes remained when a free kick from the centre circle looked to be sailing harmlessly behind but Buchanan had peeled off from his marker to fire in a shot which Wojcik could only parry across his goalmouth to the waiting Robertson who tapped home.
Enfield’s joint manager Shaun Reece was disappointed after the match. “It is a repeat of the Milton Keynes Robins match a few weeks back. We are poor in the first half, go in at the break well behind then come out and perform creditably when the pressure is off in the second half. We need to put in the full ninety minutes with that level of intensity if we are going to get anywhere. I don’t think that some of our players “fancied” the pitch which was pretty bobbly and bare in patches, but this is non-league football and you have got to be prepared to roll your sleeves up and play on whatever surface is put in front of you.”
Borough face Hillingdon Borough this Saturday at the Maurice Rebak Stadium, kick off 3pm.
Team; Wojcik, Yildiz, Sarpong, Appiah, Chandler, Nikolaj, Harris, Lawrence-Plentie (Wright), Ennin, Tshibikubla, Carvalho (Harris)