Frustrating afternoon sees Enfield held away at Stansted

Enfield made their long-awaited return to league action as they were held to a goalless draw away to Stansted. Both sides had plenty of chances to make the breakthrough in the first half, but neither were able to find the back of the net.

After the restart, the E’s came close on numerous occasions to scoring but just couldn’t break through a strong Stansted defence, whom they themselves looked threatening in front of goal. However, in the end, the sides couldn’t be separated as it finished Stansted 0-0 Enfield.

In what was disappointing few weeks for Enfield, having exited both the FA Cup and FA Vase, they were back in action in the Essex Senior League where they had plenty of catching up to do. With a little under a minute played at Hargrave Park, the E’s had the game’s opening opportunity. The ball fell into the path of the captain Reece Conway, but his volley deflected wide of the target.

A few minutes later, former Stansted man Ryan Ramsay crossed towards Dwade James, but the forward could only see his effort blocked. Meanwhile, up the other end, the home side made their first foray forward as John Clarke’s throw-in fell to Michael Salako but his acrobatic attempt was off-target.

However, as the first half progressed, neither side had been able to threaten as such though it was the away side that looked the better of the two. With 13 minutes gone, the E’s had a huge chance to break the deadlock. The ball was played into the path of Ramsay, who was one-on-one with ‘keeper James Dillon, but he could only strike the ball wide of the post.

Two minutes later, Ramsay came close again but this time his shot skewed wide. The visitors were again close from a free kick as David Cowley’s effort fell inches over the bar. Stansted soon had a glorious opportunity on 27 minutes to make the all-important breakthrough. Captain Billy Coyne’s set piece delivery fell to Ash Siddik but James Bransgrove was on hand to make a fine save before the rebound from Salako was cleared off the line.

Just before the half-hour mark, the Airportmen were again close to scoring. Coyne played the pass down the line to Siddik but Bransgrove was once again on hand to deny the forward. The away side however, continued to threaten Dillon in the Stansted net as Ramsay’s corner fell to Luke Wilson but the Stansted ‘keeper denied the defender with a save from point blank range.

With two minutes to go in the first half, the home side had a chance to take the lead as Coyne’s free kick fell to Finley Gregory, but his header was well wide. That proved to be the final chance of the half as both sides went in at the break deadlocked at 0-0.

Ten minutes after the restart, Stansted had an opportunity to take the lead. Coyne’s free kick was headed into the path of Siddik as his close-range effort was well held by Bransgrove. Neither side had been able to threaten much in front of goal in the early exchanges of the second half though both Stansted and Enfield were still very much in the contest.

With 64 minutes on the clock at Hargrave Park, it was almost 1-0 to Enfield. A powerful drive from Conway almost found the back of the net but Dillon was on hand to make a brilliant save. The resulting corner fell to James, but his shot drifted wide.

Five minutes later, the away side thought they had taken the lead after Benji Crilley’s throw-in was headed home by Dwade James. However, the referee controversially disallowed the goal for a foul on the goalkeeper. Not long after, the E’s had another opportunity this time through Cowley, but his shot was off target.

Enfield again continued to search for the opening goal of the game and almost did so. Olly Miles’ effort was kept out by Dillon before Ramsay’s follow-up effort deflected wide for a corner. From the resulting corner, James’ header was straight into the arms of Dillon.

As the match headed towards the final ten minutes, Stansted caught Enfield on the break as they raced towards goal, but Jack Mitchell’s effort was inches off-target. Meanwhile, in the 90th minute of the game, the away side almost scored the winning goal after substitute Callum Ibe set up Miles whose attempt was off target, before a free kick from Cowley deflected over the bar in added time.

That soon proved to be the final opportunity of the match as the game ended 0-0 between the two sides. It will no doubt be a disappointing result for Enfield, who had the better chances in the game but just couldn’t score. The E’s will be determined to return to winning ways on Wednesday night as they welcome Clacton to the R&D Advisors Stadium.