Enfield 2 Clapton 0
Essex Senior League
Friday 30th July
Enfield got their campaign off to a winning start, as Jamie Cureton’s men made good work of their chances to score a goal in each half to put down the challenge of a determined Clapton outfit.
The E’s had a shot at goal as early as the 2nd minute when Olly Miles had a poke deflected for a corner. But the Tons returned fire moments later when Darnell Kithambo had a shot blocked. Kithambo went down from a challenge before ten minutes was played; and on 14 minutes he then continued being a nuisance to the E’s defence as he had a low shot that brushed past James Bransgrove’s right-hand post.
Enfield almost took the lead when a powerful Luke Wilson header was somehow kept out by the Clapton keeper, then in the 20th minute Louie Johnson had a shot from distance which stung Aires Ferreira’s hands.
Clapton were proving to be very resilient, digging in when they had to, and when Ward put in a solid tackle to win possession of the ball, this was followed up by a Kevin Difika tackle that took out Johnson, which was deemed worthy of a yellow card. It also won the hosts a free kick which Vinny Murphy drilled high into the box and was easily handled by Ferreira.
Clapton created another chance as a slow build-up eventually ended with Kithambo weaving his way into the box and having a shot blocked by Bransgrove. And the Tons were able to launch another counter-attack in the 39th minute that won them a corner.
Neither side had given the other a moment, so it meant that the few chances that had been created had been far from clear-cut. All that was to change in the 44th minute when good work down the left flank from Ryan Ramsey allowed him time and space to deliver a weighted cross into the path of Reece Conway, who stroked the ball past Ferreira to put his side into the lead.
The E’s started the second half with momentum and had the ball inside the Clapton box within the first minute, then in the 50th minute a ball was played out to Dwade James who had a diagonal shot blocked.
Five minute later and the E’s were again marching forward, Ramsey powering his way towards the Clapton box, before being hauled down. The free kick was knocked behind for a corner, and the Clapton defence had to put in a couple of blocks before they were able to clear that danger.
Clapton had spent most of the half on the back foot, but they finally put together a forward move as Ugonna Emenike and Kithambo linked up inside the Enfield box, but they were being tightly marked by the Enfield defence and were unable to
Enfield were able to orchestrate a clear opportunity in the 61st minute as Jack Folan delivered a pinpoint cross to Olly Miles whose header sailed past Ferreira to put the E’s in a commanding position.
Clapton had not been as fluid going forward in the second half, but now they needed to find something, and they did have a go in the 64th minute as substitute Eigan Hasna cannoned a shot wide. But it was the hosts who almost scored again when a cross from Ramsey was met by the boot of Callum Ibe, with Ferreira blocking the resulting shot. And Ibe was fed another ball in the 85th minute which required heroics from Ferreira as the Tons keeper had to claim the ball in a one-to-one with the oncoming E’s forward.
Clapton were able to create one final chance in the final minute – by then too little too late of course – but Sandro Camara’s low shot was tipped away by Bransgrove, earning the E’s stopper his first clean sheet of the season, to go with his team’s first three points. The hosts certainly had to earn them as Clapton were resilient and offered stiff resistance. Clinical finishing made the difference though, and the E’s made good with their chances to get their season off to a winning start.
Enfield: James Bransgrove, Vinny Murphy, Alex Warman (Hugo Vasconcelos 78′), Jack Johnson, Luke Wilson, Ryan Ramsey, Reece Conway (Capt), Olly Miles (Callum Ibe 66′), Louie Johnson (Jack Folan 39′), Jack Grosvenor, Dwade James.
Scorers – Reece Conway (44′), Olly Miles (61′).
Clapton: Aires Ferreira, Daniel Emovon, Alex Awobimpe, Kevin Difika, Ugonna Emenike, Eleftherios Metso (Eigan Hasna 63′), Karl Kayembe (Capt), Nickal-David Luzolo, Darnell Kithambo, Sabio Nanja (Isaac Amoah 63′), Sean Kettle (Sandro Camara 63′).
Meanwhile it was a mixed bag for the new clubs coming into the ESL. White Ensign, promoted from Step 6 in the summer, started their campaign on Friday evening and lost it 2-1 to Stansted. Connor Barmby opened the scoring for the hosts, but the visitors replied via Jack Mitchell and Michael Salako. Athletic Newham, also newly-promoted from Step 6, opened their account with a home fixture against FC Clacton, who themselves moved across from the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division. It was to be a good day for the Newham-based outfit who baptised their first game at Step 5 with a 1-0 win thanks to Jeff Idemudia’s goal in the 30th minute. Little Oakley also came up from Step 6 and they entertained Redbridge, with goals from Jack Roult, Jake Brocklebank and Ibrahim Kehinde ensuring it was to be the Motormen that took all the spoil. Greg Rodger scored the Little Oakley consolation. Stanway Rovers also crossed over from the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division to once again compete in the ESL and they got their campaign off to a winning start as a Palvey Manuakila goal three minutes into stoppage time earned them all the points. Takeley also needed just the one goal, provided by Theo Campbell in the 72nd minute, to defeat West Essex. Saffron Walden Town picked up maximum points from their visit to Sawbridgeworth Town. Jamie Solkhon, Will McClelland and Scott Piggott were the marksmen. And Cockfosters got their season rolling with a 6-1 victory over Woodford Town that included a hat-trick from George Beattie. Charncey Dash, Reece Monsanya and Billy Healey were the other scorers. Richard Asamoah pulled one back in the 76th minute, but by then the hosts had already rifled six into the net and were well on their way to claiming their first win of the season.