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Enfield 2-2 Kingstonian

A quite amazing game was played out in front of just 158 spectators at Enfield's borrowed Broughinge Road ground. Fourteen days after the double-sending off of Tim Sills and Peter Barnsby, a somewhat reshuffled eleven took the field to take on the team in 19th place in the table. Sills was replaced by Scott Edgar - starting his first match for the club - whilst Barnsby's position was taken by Chris Whelan - starting just his second game for the club.

A ground which had seen K's lose twice already this season saw a disappointing start to the game from the visitors' point of view - an early goal for Enfield. A long ball was played through the Kingstonian defence, Lance Key came to the very extremities of his penalty area, caught the ball but - in the view of referee Mr Paul Forrester - took the ball outside the white lines. A free-kick was awarded, Stuart Maynard crossed to the far post and Paul Armstrong turned the ball in for the opening goal.

Half-chances followed for both sides - Edgar mis-controlling when well placed on the edge of the Enfield six-yard box after a Mark Jones cross, and Jay Richardson seeing his shot well saved by Key after a mistake by Max Hustwick.

It took half an hour for a real chance to be crafted by K's though. A fine move saw James Pinnock exchange passes with Ronnie Green out on the right and his cross landed in the centre where Phil Wingfield and Dave Reddington competed. The defender won the tussle, but his header landed perfectly for the on-rushing Mark Jones, stood on the edge of the area. His left footed shot was certainly powerful enough to have beaten Marc Palmer, but his direction was slightly out as the ball fizzed past the keeper's left-hand post.

Not a couple of minutes later, and things got even worse for K's. Another long ball was played through the defence, after which both Julian Sills and Lloyd Opara chased. After what seemed to be an innocuous coming-together, Opara shot from just inside the area and Key saved. The referee then noticed that the linesman had flagged for a free-kick to Enfield and after some discussion between the two officials, a red-card was produced for Sills and a penalty awarded to the home side.

Opinions differ on the correctness of these decisions. Some (including Sills) say the initial contact was outside the area, some that Hustwick was covering - meaning that Sills wasn't the last man - and some that the foul shouldn't have been punished as Opara still got his shot away. Still, the referee wasn't about to change his mind, so up-stepped Demba Traore. His shot was poor, Key guessed the right way, and managed to grab the ball low down to his right ensuring that K's were just the one goal - and one man - to the bad.

Five minutes later the game looked to be descending into anarchy. K's were on the attack in the middle of the Enfield half with Dave Clarke. He moved forward with the ball and was fouled. Yet before the whistle went he took his own revenge with a disgusting two-footed jumping assault on Traore. This led to the majority of the players getting involved in push'n'shove match before order was restored.

Fortunately an ambulance wasn't required for Traore, and unfortunately a police-car wasn't summoned for Clarke. There can be absolutely no defence of the midfielder's actions, with the resultant red card being the absolute minimum that he deserved. The same linesman who had awarded Enfield the penalty then called the referee over and directed him to dismiss defender Matt Waldron for his part in the melee. And so the half ended with the home side down to ten men, and the visitors with just nine.

What was already an uphill struggle became something of a mountain for K's when Enfield doubled their lead just after the hour mark. Daniel Braithwaite played a long ball up the left, Opara sprinted past Hustwick with little difficulty and placed his left-footed shot past Key from just inside the area.

K's almost made an immediate riposte with what would have been a most unusual goal. Ronnie Green shot from some twenty-five yards, the ball caught the top of Lee Doherty's head and flew up and over Palmer. The goalkeeper managed to recover though, palming the ball away for a corner for a very fine save.

Although this didn't get K's back into the game, it did persuade those watching that this match wasn't yet a lost cause. And so it was proved a few minutes later. Mark Jones, standing-by on the left, ran at and beat Traore and crossed to the far post. The ball was met by Ronnie Green who shot home from a tight angle. The ball took some sort of deflection on its way in, but the goal is credited to Green, who deserved it for some tireless running.

A spate of substitutions saw Liam Collins, Craig Rocastle and Scott Steele introduced as K's continued to press for the equaliser. With eight minutes remaining Chris Whelan - up from the back - almost made a name for himself when he received the ball on the edge of the six yard box after Steele flicked on a Green cross. His shot though smacked into Maynard on the line sending K's hands to heads.

Steele came close with his own effort just after when he hit a wicked swerving shot from twenty-five yards. What started off looking like an easy save for Palmer became more difficult as the goalkeeper started moving the wrong way, finally managing to fling himself to his left to turn the ball aside.

As the game moved towards injury time Enfield created a fine chance to ensure their win. Braithwaite played the ball up the left for Opara, who crossed to the middle. Substitute Ansah Owusu was stood totally unmarked, but somehow managed to head straight at Lance Key.

Yet still the pressure grew at the other end. A minute into time added on, Scott Steele went over to take a corner from the left. As he prepared to send the ball in, the imposing figure of Lance Key appeared in the Enfield box, presumably causing confusion amongst their ranks. The cross went nowhere near him though, instead landing on the head of Scott Edgar, who headed home from six yards to claim an unlikely - but thoroughly deserved - equaliser.

And so the nine men had salvaged a point. This once again goes to prove how much spirit and determination there is in this K's team. Both times the red card was produced they managed to reshuffle with little difficulty, and they never allowed their heads to drop. The disciplinary record is becoming something of a concern, but when those players still on the field play in this way, there really can be no complaints.

Sat 8th Feb 2003
Broughinge Road (Boreham Wood FC)
Isthmian League Premier
Green, Edgar
1Lance Key
2Max Hustwick
3Mark Jones
4Dave ClarkeSent Off
5Chris Whelan
6Julian SillsSent Off
7James Pinnock15
8Bashiru Alimi16
9Scott EdgarCautioned
10Ronnie Green
11Phil Wingfield12
12Craig Rocastle11
13Adrian Jones
14Craig Lewington
15Liam Collins7
16Scott Steele8
Man of the Match
Mark Jones
Mark Jones
Match Report By
Gary Ekins