Is This Really Enfield?

RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION

Att : 511

Enfield – 1  [Some Bloke 45]

Sutton United – 1  [M.Watson 35]

As the title suggests, this was a somewhat strange visit to our long time buddies in North London.

Normally a visit to Southbury Road involves a fierce battle for supremacy on the pitch with our boys copping a right kicking for good measure. With their ‘lovely’ fans plus the moronic stewards and local Constabulary (For example : Me – “Bloody Hell Ref!!!” Plod – “Anymore of that sort of language son & you’re out!”) this place was never one of my favourite away venues. This was never more apparent than during the early to mid 90’s which heralded the dreaded Graham Roberts and George Borg era’s. So with this in mind, what we expected was totally different to what we got!!! Trotting from the station to the ground an Enfield fan is apparently only too eager to offer his congratulations on our title success. At first the boys & myself think he’s taking the piss, but it appears he’s being serious! He also alerts us to a possible anti-board demo at half time. Should be interesting!

So to the game. The attendance is piss-poor. Normally E’s V U’s draws around twice as many peeps as there are here tonite. My mate Paul turns to me and enquires, “Err…This demo. Just exactly WHO’S going to demonstrate???” We chuckle heartily. The home side trot out first, but instead of assuming normal warm up type activities, they form two lines, one each side of the tunnel. Usually in Enfield, this means the team are going to give the visitors a good going over as they run out, but no, they proceed to applaud our boys onto the pitch! Half of the away support looks on mouths agape. Just WHAT is going on here??

Both sides settle down and the game develops a distinct ‘End-of-Season’ knock about pattern. Both sides trying to be a bit posey with their passing and generally not looking fantastically interested. U’s perform much as they did on Saturday, creating a few chances, but not applying the killer touch. Whilst our hosts also carve out openings, but their finishing is woeful. Sutton take the lead with probably the best move of the night. Some nice one touch stuff in the centre of the pitch eventually releases Steve Watson down the flank. He reaches the byline and pulls the ball back for the onrushing Mark Watson to smash into the roof of the net. 1-0. Another shock follows seconds later as the exuberant tannoy announcer declares our opening goal as such : “And scoring the opening goal for the Champions, MAAAAAARK WATSON!!!” Mental, absolutely mental!!!!!!!!

Enfield stick to their task and gain their reward with the last kick of the half. A diagonal ball over the U’s defence finds a forward in plenty of space. He steams in on goal and despite Gareth getting a hand to his shot, it sneaks inside the post. 1-1.

The Half-Time demo arrives! About 12 people nip onto the pitch and start singing songs that have a distinct ‘anti-board’ vibe. I await the intervention of the coppers on duty. (Probably In full riot gear, lobbing tear gas!) They stay where they are, sipping their tea. About 30 odd other people, fired up by this crazed display of lawlessness and the apathy of the Old Bill, join the instigators in the centre circle for a sing-song. Not really impressive, but with a crowd of just over 500, it’s not surprising. The ‘Demo’ breaks up when the tannoy announcer kindly requests that they leave the pitch as the teams are about to re-emerge. This they do immediately, without a whimper. Shite, if you ask me……..

The second half is so interesting that we start discussing the possibility of asking the demonstrators back on. Neither side controls the game and both have chances to nick the points. Naz goes close, as does Mark Watson and the hosts also have a couple of near misses. Our final shock of the night appears in the form of 3 Enfield stewards. Built like brick out houses, they approach us………and begin chatting about our championship success! WHAT?? During this conversation, Howells pulls off an amazing save to deny a certain goal. The game ends and we leave with the best wishes of the burly stewards ringing in our ears.

Nurse!!! I think I need a drink……………….

Man of The Match : Barry Laker. He’s going to be a big star next season.

Entertainment Value : 7. Why were they so NICE to us??

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