Match report vs Enfield Borough FC – Away, Monday 2nd January 2017
Squad:- Jeckells, Clement-McNee, Beavis, Mitchell, Ashby, Fitzgerald, Stevens, Swain, Smith, Douglas-Smith, Humphrey
Subs from:- Bambridge, Gillespie, Walsh, Etheridge, Brolia
Firstly the Reserves Players & Management Team would like to wish you all a Happy New Year…
What a game to kick off the New Year with Saints sitting top of the league versus 3rd place Enfield Boro, maybe not the best game to come back from the festive period, especially as Enfield thumped us 5-1 at home on the August bank holiday - but we have developed as a squad since those early games. Also back from the dead (a Christmas miracle) was the old club minibus, thanks to Gaz at LCS ltd (http://lewiscontractservices.co.uk/contact) for bring it back to life!!
With the game kicking off on a cold but almost perfect pitch & day, both teams battled & exchanged possession; Enfield’s pacey approach caused Saints issues and forced a few early errors which luckily didn’t amount to anything, but our possession was turned over too easily early doors. Enfield probed down the right but the youth team partnership of Humphrey & Beavis dealt with any fret. Jake Smith battled well up top against the Enfield defence, but Saints final delivery was lacking and didn’t test the Enfield keeper. 15minutes in & Saints started to get into the game and looked dangerous on set pieces, forcing a number of corners; from one of these corners Tommy Stevens forced a save from Enfield keeper as his goal bound effort was tipped over. In a positive spell of possession in the Enfield half, Swainy fired a trademark 25 yarder just wide of the Enfield goal. But it was Enfield who would feel aggrieved they didn’t go in halftime leading, first the ball broke for the centre forward in the box with only Jeckells to beat, surely he was offside (not given)!! but with the goal gapping Jeckells saved from point blank. This triggered a spell of half chances for Enfield and only last ditch tackles/blocks from the Saints defence denied Enfield from taking the lead. Saints did move the ball around nicely on a couple of occasions, playing through the Enfield players, but again the final ball lacked quality, something to build on for Gearsy & Bish, being the key discussion point at halftime as the half finished 0-0.
Second half kicked off and Saints gave a better account of themselves battling better in midfield, Smith & Douglas-Smith linking up well. With the game evenly matched and no real opportunity falling to either team, Walsh came on for the Saints switching with Douglas-Smith. Walsh made an immediate impact, his closing down of the Enfield defence almost enabled him to break free, unfortunately the ball ran out of play - but this signalled a positive intent. Another Saints change with Gillespie on for Stevens in midfield. Enfield continued to play down the wings and get to the byline for the pull back, but Saints defence held strong. Walsh again pressed the Enfield defence and caused them to make errors which Aldo was unlucky not to finish and with a collision with the keeper in the area maybe should have gone down rather than trying to stay on his feet (an honest scouser!!). This lifted Saints, Jake Smith broke free down the right and fired wide, when maybe the pull back to Walsh was the better option, now the game could go either way. With 10 minutes left Bambridge came on for Swain. A missed interception from Fitzgerald almost gifted Enfield but good recovery and last ditch defending meant the chance passed. Enfield then had a spell of pressure with a number of corners which Saints stood strong and with the final whistle looming it was Saints who had the last opportunity. A lofted ball from Bambridge, any Saints touch would see the ball goal bound, but the Enfield keeper collected to their relief - Final whistle a 0-0 scoreline.
A point, not a disaster against a very good team, need to push on Saturday and get back to winning ways as we travel to Loughton Manor.
MoM: Shae Humphrey