Sat 31
Enfield Town
1st XI
Unbeaten run ends at Enfield

Unbeaten run ends at Enfield

By Graham Wettone
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The Blues unbeaten run ended on a cold windy afternoon at Enfield. Pictured is mom Ryan James

82 days since the Blues were last defeated in the league away at Kingstonian & this game came very close to continuing that run. Jim Cooper was without Matt Pattison & Ricardo Joseph who were both suffering slight knocks & Nigel Neita was completing his suspension. The day was not one for free flowing football with persistent rain throughout the morning, a very strong icy wind blowing across the pitch & a wet & sticky playing surface. It was a day to be wrapped up warm in the stands, but credit to the local fans who turned up & braved the surround of the pitch & stands behind the goals.

The first chance fell to Enfield after just 6 minutes when a ball in from their left found an Enfield player unmarked in the six yard box, but he looked as surprised as the Met back four, and snatched at the chance and side footed past the post. The Blues then started to impose themselves as they played into the strong wind with Bradley Hudson-Odoi a constant threat down the left. Joe Turner had the next half chance with a run cutting in from the right flank before unleashing a low left foot drive that the home keeper just managed to hold on to.

Ryan James then had a strong left foot shot from outside the box that was well saved & that was followed by a rare goal scoring effort for Billy Crook after great work by Bradley Hudson-Odoi. Bradley cut in from the left along the edge of the box and squared the ball to Billy but his right foot shot flew low and wide.

Ryan James then picked up a harsh yellow card for a sliding tackle where he won the ball cleanly but the defender stayed down a little too long which probably influenced the referee. A short time later Bradley was on another marauding run down the left flank when he was unceremoniously brought down from behind by a sliding tackle. On this occasion the referee decided words of advice was sufficient to the home defender which initiated some questions from our management team to the officials & rightly so. The referee assessor sitting just along from me was busily writing notes as well…..the presence of assessors always seems to affect referees.
In truth, neither goalkeeper was called on to make a significant save as both teams struggled to manage the playing conditions.

Half Time Enfield Town 0 Met Police 0

The Blues almost took the lead at the start of the second half when Bradley Hudson- Odoi delivered a cross into the box from the left but it seemed to catch the unmarked Ryan James by surprise. Ryan was unmarked in the six yard box in front of goal and the ball bounced off his leg and then into the hands of the grateful home keeper.

Jay Lovett then collected another harsh yellow card for what looked like a fair & clean tackle some 30 yards from the Blues goal. The match referee was clearly hoping to impress the assessor with his application of the laws. Enfield then had the best chance of the game so far when a ball was crossed to the far post and squared back towards the penalty spot. The home striker was unmarked but somehow hit his effort high over the bar from 10 yards out.

Jim then replaced Nikki Ahamed with Elliot Taylor and moved Charlie Collins into a more central role. The Blues then had their best chance of the game when the tireless Joe Turner burst past two or three defenders and into the penalty area but his shot was parried away by the keeper. The ball fell at the feet of Elliot Taylor who looked to be just four yards out and just to the side of the goal, but his shot rippled the side netting when it looked odds on he would score.

The game was heading to a goalless draw but if a goal was going to come it looked like the Blues would be the ones to score. Billy Crook sent a delightful cross into the penalty area that was just beyond the despairing dive of Steve Sutherland`s head in the 77th minute.

It took a quality strike to end the Met unbeaten run and it came in the 88th minute. A ball out to the Town left wing and Will Salmon lunged in and took ball & player in one. The referee had clearly set his mark on the game & as expected blew for a foul & inevitable yellow card for the Met skipper. The free kick was played to the far post & headed away, but only to the edge of the penalty area where second half sub Darnell Wynter was poised to send a right foot volley back into the top corner.

A goal worthy of winning any encounter but on the balance of the game the Met will feel somewhat hard done by to come away from Enfield with nothing to show for their endeavours. The only positive aspect of the day was the fact the chasing sides all dropped points as well so the top of the table remained the same. On a personal note, to make the day even worse we had to stop at Bluewater on the journey home for some `retail therapy`…..these away days to Essex & North London are not helping my sanity!

Met Team 1 Stuart Searle, 2 Will Salmon, 3 Jay Lovett, 4 Billy Crook, 5 Steve Sutherland, 6 Rob Bartley, 7 Charlie Collins, 8 Ryan James, 9 Joe Turner, 10 Nikki Ahamed, 11 Bradley Hudson-Odoi.
Subs: 12 Elliot Taylor (replaced 10 – 70 mins), 14 Mekhail McLaughlin, 15 James Daley, 16 Bobby Bennett, 17 Alex Kozakis
Man of the Match: Ryan James

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