Venue: Enfield Town FC
Date: Sunday 8 April 2018 (1:00pm KO)
Spirited Performance from AFA Almost Achieves Redemption
Two weeks ago the AFA received a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Sussex but we provided a much improved performance - at a very wet Enfield - which went a long way to atoning for this, even if a win could not be achieved.
After a slightly hesitant start, when a goalmouth melee was foiled by Reuben Rabstein's legs, the AFA took control of the game. On seven minutes, Junior Mubiayi broke from midfield and carried the ball to the edge of the penalty box before lofting a pass to Raewkin D'Cruz, who chested it down to Lee Dykes. He shifted the ball onto his right foot and drilled it home to put the AFA ahead.
Dykes continued to be prominent. First he collected a good long ball from Jack Barton, who had another fine game at left-back, and battled to get it to D'Cruz, whose shot was saved at the near post. Then he found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper, Glover, who blocked the shot.
Sussex came back and Gould, who scored a hat-trick in the last game, slotted a great ball through to Skerry who dragged his shot wide. The game continued to be keenly contested, though the AFA continued to have the best of the chances and always looked dangerous when going forward. We came close on the half hour when Callum Taylor did well to win the ball in midfield. He made a 1-2 with Mubiayi , who was consistently involved in AFA's best moments, went down the wing and along the goal line, beating his opponent, before his cross just evaded the incoming forwards.
The AFA also went close on two other occasions, when a free kick was headed straight into the ‘keeper's hands and just before half-time when good work by Christian Gyasi led to a 25-yard shot from Mubiayi, which Glover palmed away for a corner. He then did well again by coming out swiftly to foil another AFA attack down the right.
The only Sussex danger at this point came when Gould had the ball, with a shot easily saved by Rabstein and then a dribble in the AFA box which finished with him going down under pressure, but his penalty appeal was waved aside.
The AFA were well worthy of their half time lead and were unfortunate not to have made more of their chances. We also started the second half strongly, with a snap-shot from Louie Remi almost catching the Sussex keeper, Glover, by surprise.
However, there was always the fear that we would pay for not taking our chances and, on 53 minutes, Sussex attacked down the right and a cross found Rogers unmarked at the far post to side-foot his team level.
An immediate response from the AFA saw several shots in succession blocked before Sussex came back with a rocket from Gould which crashed against a post, followed by a corner being half-cleared and another shot pinging off the top of the bar.
Several substitutions were made to try to wrestle back control from Sussex without success and on 70 minutes Rueben Rabstein was at the forefront of a succession of shots that were saved or blocked on the line.
Despite Sussex dominating in this period, the AFA fought manfully and succeeded in keeping them at bay before almost getting a winner in the closing minutes. First, a breakaway finished with a shot being deflected over the bar and then, in injury time, an incredible double save by Glover from a free kick and follow up shot thwarted the AFA.
The game then finished with a Sussex breakaway and a shot wide, leaving the score tied at 1-1. A fair result for a keenly contested match and full credit goes to both ‘keepers for ensuring the points were shared.
1. Rueben Rabstein (Wingate Finchley)
2. Ben Reynolds (Old Owens)
3. Jack Barton (Old Ignatians)
4. Ellis Routledge (Old Owens)
5. Edem Ansa (Enfield Town)
6. Lennie Armstrong (Wingate Finchley)
7. Louie Remy (Wingate Finchley)
8. Junior Mubiayi (Norsemen)
9. Callum Taylor (Bishop Stortford)
10. Lee Dykes (Wingate Finchley)
11. Raewkon D'Cruz (Enfield Town)
12. Mahler Simpson-Miles (Norsemen)
14. Christian Gyasi (Unattached)
15. Calvin Donker (Enfield Town)
16. Danny O'Leary (Enfield Town)
23. Miguel Sanchez (Norsemen)
Pat Folan - Manager
John Meehan - Coach
Bob Leeds - Physiology
Referee - P. Acierno
Assistants - B. Thompson & E. Meyer
4th Official - G. Mathias