Match Preview: Grays Athletic

Following last week’s 2-0 victory over Coggeshall Town in the FA Cup, Enfield’s campaign gets well underway this Saturday when Grays Athletic travel to the RDA Stadium on the opening day of the Isthmian North season.

Having won the Essex Senior League title in the previous campaign, the E’s embark on a new chapter in Step Four and will be looking to get off to the winning start in the league.

To begin with, Enfield face a stern test against a Grays Athletic side who finished in the play-offs last season on what is sure to be an entertaining affair. Can the E’s get off to the perfect start with three points?

The start of the season is always an exciting time for any side and for Enfield, it’s no different. Fresh off the back of winning a league title and promotion into a brand-new league, there certainly is a feel-good factor for the E’s both on and off the pitch. However, the real business starts here in the opening Isthmian North game and after a solid pre-season and a winning start in the FA Cup, confidence is sky high.

Opposition: Grays Athletic

Grays make the short journey across the M25 this Saturday to take on Enfield looking to improve on their 5th place finish in the Isthmian North last term. The Blues snuck into the play-off places on the final day at the expense of Felixstowe & Walton United before going on to face AFC Sudbury in the semi-finals. Having led 2-1 at half-time, a second half fightback from the home side turned the match on its head and meant Sudbury would progress to the play-off final which they would go on to win. Despite defeat, it was a resilient performance from Grays in a match where they were very much the underdogs.

However, this season is likely to be a challenge having lost top scoring strikers Sam Bantick and Roman Campbell both to Enfield. Will they come back to haunt their former club on Saturday? It will now be down to the likes of Charlie Stimson and Sully Buchannon to fill the void in attack for Grays. The Gravelmen also had a difficult pre-season having failed to win any of their six games albeit four of them were draws. Nonetheless, Grays will very much be up for the task ahead and could cause problems to the Enfield backline.

Player to Watch: Aaron Greene

After his man-of-the-match performance in the FA Cup tie against Coggeshall Town, Aaron Greene is the player to watch going into Enfield’s opening game of the league season. Greene scored the opening goal of the game in the first half with a fine finish and provided a constant threat down the left-hand side. The midfielder will be looking to carry that excellent performance into Saturday’s game against Grays.

After spending a lot of the previous campaign watching from the sidelines, Greene is on the way to putting things right this time round and has shown plenty of promising signs already during pre-season and of course against Coggeshall. Meanwhile, Bantick was also on the scoresheet last Sunday, which was his first competitive goal in Enfield colours and will be looking to do the same on Saturday against his former side.