Groundhopper: Enfield Town (Malcolm Stephenson)

Enfield Town 2 Lowestoft 2 (13/12/16).

enfield

 

Enfield were once a club that once existed and had great success to their History. They were originally formed in 1893 as Enfield Spartans and eventually folded in 2007. A club that had won the FA Amateur cup and the FA Trophy two times each. A club that were once Champions of the Gola league and knocking on the door of the Football league itself. Had automatic promotion been in effect at the time they would have been in the Football league. These were the days of the voting system and Enfield failed to gain entry. Enfield used to play at Southbury Road but lost the ground in 1990 and then ground shared with several other nearby clubs. After serious financial problems the club folded in 2007. Enfield Town approached the former club with the idea of a merger but they refused. Later Enfield 1883 were formed as a reformation of the original club and remain a separate entity to this day, playing in the local Essex league. Enfield Town were formed as they wanted to play in the area of the same name and currently play in the Ryman league. Enfield were another Non league team with FA cup success and reached the 4th round in 1981 losing at home to Barsnley in a replay.

The ground is a long drive in a taxi from the Enfield Town train station. The first thing you see is the sign of a Cafe which is part of the main stand. It looks like some sort of seaside Pavilion and is attached to the main stand. The ground is called the Queen Elizabeth 11 and is surrounded by an athletic pitch which I always hate. The main stand is therefore set well back from the pitch. Behind both goals are small terraced standing areas for fans although you have to cross the running tracks to get to them. On the far side of the pitch is another small seated stand. Closer to the pitch with the main stand are two small terraced areas for standing spectators. The club were founded in 2001 as part of a breakaway club for the original Enfield as supporters wished football back in their local area. The ground is actually quite close to the former site of the Southbury road Stadium (I went there for a match in the 1990’s). An odd situation concerns the floodlights. One set for the football and another behind these for the athletics.

Tonight’s match was against Lowestoft in the Ryman Premier league. It was a good fast flowing game with chances created by both sides. It was the visitors who took the lead on the half hour with a goal from Jake Reed. Immediately the home side were on the attack after the restart and were rewarded with an equaliser two minutes later by Tyler Campbell. However the visitors restored their lead 6 minutes before the break when Jake Reed a scored again.

At half time I went for a drink in their cafe/club house. A local Enfield fan noticed my Blyth Spartans jacket and we got chatting. His name was Phil, easy to get on with and we chatted as if we were long lost friends. He was passionate about his team and was knowledgeable about football. Over the years I have met many fans like this. People who enjoy the friendships at this level without the aggro you find many times at football league games. I stood amongst the home supporters in the second half behind the goal. My new found friend was leading the home fans on in singing and getting behind the team. The home side were in trouble when Harry Ottaway was sent off on 67 minutes.

Despite the sending off the home team pressed forward in what was proving to be an elusive equaliser. I thought the visitors had hung on for all three points when the first Enfield scorer, Tyler Campbell popped up right at the death to equalise. The home fans were ecstatic as well as the team.

One Enfield player was yellow carded for celebrating with fans. I do not think he was too bothered as the team had just gained a point in the last minute. At the end of the game the players were across to celebrate with fans their last minute point gained at home. I like that sort of player/supporter camaraderie you see at this level.

After the game I took a cab with Phil back to his pub he owned which was right beside Enfield Chase railway station. A quick drink, a bit football chat and a review of our respective club tattoos was the only time I had before catching the train back to my digs in London. Maybe one day we might see the name Enfield in the top flight of Non league Football once more.

Att-232

Programme-£2

Admission £10

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