Angels take all the points at Enfield
By Jim Rowe
Akrofi on target again
On a bitterly cold evening at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, the Angels did their best to keep their small party of supporters warm by serving up a performance full of endeavour, skill and, when required, good old honest backs to the wall defending to take all the points against a strangely lack lustre Enfield Town.
Manager, Steve McKimm, kept faith with the second half set up he employed the previous Saturday at Leatherhead with Tom Jelley in midfield, Craig Stone in central defence and Liam Smith at right back. Sam Bantick returning from suspension replaced Dan Bennett on the right flank.
Although Enfield enjoyed more possession it was the visitors who made better use of the ball when they had it. In particular Bantick was causing all sorts of problems for the Towners defence and when he wasn’t shooting at goal he was providing dangerous crosses that simply were not quite falling to the Angels forwards. There were at least three goalbound efforts from Bantick in the first half but the winger found Enfield keeper Joe Wright in fine form, and the latter also pulled off a terrific save from Nathan Elder’s header. Sam Young and Mat Mitchel-King for the home side both saw decent efforts go just wide while there was some pressure from the Towners just before half time but the Tonbridge defence stood firm.
The question was would the Angels pay for those first half chances they weren’t able to take since in reality they should and could have been two goals to the good at the break.
In fact they carried on in the second period where they left off with Joe Turner forcing another save from Wright just three minutes into the half. The all important and deserved goal came in the 54th minute when Alex Akrofi intelligently made space for himself on the edge of the box and unleashed a fine shot that this time gave Wright absolutely no chance. There followed more Tonbridge pressure with Elder literally inches away from converting Turner’s pinpoint cross.
With around 20 minutes to go Enfield started to make efforts to get back in the game and exerted pressure on the Tonbridge defence. A free kick to the home side saw Angels keeper Jonny Henly make a fine save to divert the ball round the post for a corner. This seemed to motivate Enfield into more positive attacking play and it was to bring the best out of the Tonbridge defence. The visitors however rode the storm and started once again to take a grip on proceedings. On 80 minutes a superb Jack Parter cross again saw Elder just miss out on getting on the scoresheet.
With Enfield going four up front in the closing stages there was plenty to think about for the Angels back line but sound game management saw the visitors through to perhaps a more comfortable victory than the scoreline would suggest.
Afterwards, McKimm said: “I was very pleased with all the players this evening who I thought were excellent. You always worry when you don’t get the goals we perhaps should have got in the first half, but the boys kept up the good work in the second period, got the vital strike and saw the game through.”
Playing Jelley in midfield with Smith at right back appears to have given the side a better balance and it seems likely that McKimm will use the same set up for the away match at Leiston this Saturday.