the real fa cup

Broxbourne 1 Enfield 4

The subdued atmosphere at Wembley FC yesterday was replaced here at Goff’s Lane by the kind of tingly crackle you get under massive great electricity pylons. A smaller ground, brighter sunshine, more and louder fans, a local derby and ground-sharing opponents made this game very promising. NOW the season has started!

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HANDBAGS!

It is a shame, therefore, that we missed the first 10 minutes thanks to London traffic and the Broxbourne car park being rammed. That said, from what we could gather we missed 10 minutes of two heavyweight boxers sizing each other up with jabs and much dancing round the ring.

And more pics to follow

It was quickly clear that Enfield were the footballing side and Broxbourne were a slightly more pragmatic outfit but very effective with it. Enfield were increasingly retaining possession and using it fruitfully. The first notable action was Enfield’s left winger Marcel Jones crossing for Guy Bonwick to head high over the bar. On the other wing Orcan squeezed past the fullback and played inside to Jeremiah Nkrumah who was poorly marked but headed disappointingly wide. That should have been 0-1 and Nkrumah acknowledged this with head hung. A few minutes later an Enfield corner from Jones caused chaos in the Broxbourne defence but after a few ricochets and rebounds the ball was hacked away.

Amid the Enfield possession, Broxbourne were still offering a little on the counter and one such foray saw Michael Nathan blast the ball directly into Neil Hughes’ face. It was one of those slaps that can a very red face and some smelling salts but Hughes manned up and carried on. That unintentional little bit of pain and perhaps the possession that Enfield were enjoying proved the ignition the game needed to go from compelling to exciting.

After 20 minutes the first of several elbows appeared. I think an accidental cuff but Danny Swift clearly caught Jones on the jaw with a flailing limb. Jones was himself dangerous though, he was quick, fleet of foot, a good passer and determined. A few minutes later Enfield centre back Wes Borghys went all Bobby Moore and strode out of defence. He then turned into Paul Scholes to surge on further and then returned to being a centre back when splashing a rather damp shot that the keeper easily dived on.

Jones was at it again muscling his way past Swift and bursting away down the left. It was a great contest between these two and, although beaten, Swift hadn’t been left for dead. Jones’ momentary glance up to see who was available was sufficient for Swift to slide, eel-like, into a tackle to pull off a great block that went for a corner.

Despite the possession and a few half chances, Enfield’s inability to pierce Broxbourne’s shell was starting to frustrate. Jones again turned Swift but this time headed off inside chasing a long free kick. The ball was too long and ran out of play. “This is ridiculous, man” shouted Jones to no one in particular but amusingly audible to us. It summed up the fact that despite the pressure and some very good play, Enfield were yet to properly test the keeper.

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Jones Through?

Despite the Enfield frustration, the tie was engaging as a spectacle, two different styles efficiently displayed. There was good control, accurate passing, both long and short, some great tackling and astute organisation and that meant it was, technically, a very good game to watch. It just lacked the cherry of a goal.

With half an hour gone Enfield’s Adilson Lopes returned to the pitch after a brief sojourn for treatment on a head wound, possibly from another flailing elbow. Showing no ill effects he surged through the Broxbourne midfield and fizzed a shot just over the Broxbourne crossbar. It was pretty close but far away enough that the keeper both had it covered and let it go.

The referee here was much more officious than yesterday at Wembley but this was perhaps borne of necessity. It was after all a local derby, there’d been a few niggly tackles, the players were being vocal, there had been some shenanigans and the locals were beefing up the tension with some noise. He was dealing with it all pretty well, if pedantically at times.

Enfield were more at home with the ball on the deck but had also resorted to one or two long balls. One was controlled by the Broxbourne keeper Obey Murefu just outside his box, he dummied, he pushed the ball to one side, beat a man, took another touch and dispatched it upfield. Very composed, if slightly risky, from the net minder.

Captain Michael Nathan was not so composed when he laid a back pass not woefully short but catastrophically short. Nkrumah burst past the stranded defender and round the keeper before tucking the ball away. It was 0-1 Enfield and that was the first obvious sign that we were watching a lower league fixture. Although not uncommon in the Premier league, I suppose the defensive error belied the distinct lack of mistakes in the game thus far.

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Arty Goalkick

Just three minutes later Lopes touched the ball past the left back Kemble, carried the ball 20 yards towards the byline and slipped it inside to Nkrumah, who took a composed touch before lashing a right foot shot high above the keeper into the roof of the night from a semi acute angle. 10 minutes or so until half time and Enfield were flying.

Broxbourne 0 Enfield 2

I could feel cliché’s coursing through my veins and Broxbourne helped them on. They came out fighting after the blow of the second goal and the next ten minutes were end to end. From a corner, Tony Burke had a shot charged down and Enfield also played some threatening crossfield balls that never quite turned into chances. Broxbourne won a free kick and Osborn skimmed it flat but not fiercely to the back post, the ball evaded both old gold and blue shirts and then the keeper before swishing the inside of the Enfield net.

Broxbourne 1 Enfield 2 on the stroke of half time. It would be harsh to say that Broxbourne didn’t deserve something because they played their part in an entertaining first half but Enfield had played the more purposeful and incisive football and perhaps deserved a 2 goal lead. Either way, the game was on for the second period.

The club bar was rammed at half time, big queues for tea and a scrum for a pint. In my humble opinion, the glitterball was a tad small, local girl Posh Spice certainly wouldn’t have been happy with it, but the friendly atmosphere and pool table made up for it. It was a welcoming gaff and one I’d not mind going back to if they got some ale in. There appeared to be a few WAGs in attendance too, not Posh.

The delay made us a little tardy for the second half and I emerged with about 30 seconds of the half gone to see a two man scuffle expand in to four and then a small fight before descending into a bubbly 16 man huddle/group hug/handbag throwing competition. It was difficult to tell whose arms windmilled and whose legs kicked but the ref settled on yellows for Matt & Lee Mitchell for Broxbourne and Oshin for Enfield. I think some of them can consider themselves fortunate to still be on the pitch but that did turn the game up to 11 for a quarter of an hour or so.

The first footballing action of the second half saw Matt Mitchell fire in a long range freekick and Enfield keeper Steve Wright palm it round the post. We thought he could perhaps have held on to it but, again, there were so few genuine mistakes that maybe we were being too critical. Wright’s defence certainly seemed happier than his murderous namesake’s.

The game was getting spicy but had been affected by the brawl and was now niggly and the players were watching their backs for hacks, which resulted in bad control and misplaced passes.

The game got back on track with some fine play by Kemble and Burke linking well down Broxbourne’s left, exchanging passes from half way line to touchline. The left back surged past the final defender but pushed the ball too far and it was parried by the keeper and cleared. However, although a lot of Broxbourne’s play was giving the right back a testing work out thanks to some accurate channel balls, Benmore was just about keeping them at bay with some timely late tackles.

After another long ball down a channel was cleared, an Enfield midfielder shouted to his team mates that was “all they’ve fucking got”. He wasn’t wrong but to be unfair to Broxbourne, but they had a sizeable centre forward with significant presence who was also pretty quick. They also had two wingers who could play a bit, one of whom clearly had the measure of the full back. Yes, they were very direct and not as pleasing on the eye as Enfield but they were a good side.

Half way through the second half Broxbourne were now shading it and the scoreline was probably a more accurate reflection of the game. Bar a long range effort from the left back that sailed over the bar, Enfield hadn’t threatened much. Nicky Marsh on the Broxbourne right was now having more joy and within a few short minutes got behind Bananarama’s Keiran Woodward three times. First he overcooked an admittedly difficult through ball, then he got the ball in well but it was hacked clear. The third move saw him beat the full back for pace and chip a cross to the penalty spot. Unfortunately for Bradford the ball was slightly behind him and he did well to get his right foot round it but only grazed the bar from 10 yards out. It was perhaps Broxbourne’s best chance of the game.

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Bradford Blazes Over

Broxbourne were still attacking with direct intent but the linesman saved Enfield, questionably, on a couple of occasions. A long throw put the six yard box under pressure but Wright punched for a corner. The corner was again difficult to defend but Enfield forced it away at the second or third attempt.

With all subs on and 10 minutes left Broxbourne were running out of both time and ideas. They’d tried everything but had only really had one good chance. As time wore on, Enfield started to get more possession from out-balls to the flanks, one of the midfielders set off down the right hand side. He appeared more intent on holding the ball up rather than a serious attack but he looped over a deep, speculative cross which sub Hussain headed tamely back towards goal. After a solid game Murefu stepped across to take the ball and inexplicably palmed the ball into the corner of his own net. Disaster.

Broxbourne 1 Enfield 3.

The gasket had blown off the head of steam that Broxbourne had built. That signalled proverbial throwing of the sink at Enfield bit it didn’t get anywhere. There were a few skirmishes, some handbags and an unsightly kick from an Enfield player aimed at the head above a blue shirt. It was half hearted and nowhere near the player in question so the ref settled for a stern word. The Broxbourne midfield had given up, they were no longer supporting what were now four forwards and no longer covering the defenders. As a result, Enfield were easing more pressure by playing the ball wide to each touchline to run the clock down.

One such pass around 90 minutes saw Orcan try some tricks on the point of the box. He jinked quite lazily past one to kill time and keep possession but sighted a small gap to the far post, pushed the ball round the last defender and lashed a shot across the keeper and high into the far corner. Great finish, it was simply too ferocious to stop.

Broxbourne 1 Enfield 4
MOM: Marcel Jones – Enfield
Att: 189

Orcan’s Enfield team mates mobbed him, they knew that was it. The scoreline a tad flattering but the result not in question. On that evidence Enfield could be serious contenders to cause an upset and should be one to watch. An attacking flair that belied their status and a defensive solidity in the face of some sturdy attacking saw them come through a stern test. Broxbourne should also do well this season, they are a decent side and this was a cracking game. A good afternoon out.

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