Saturday, 10 March 2007

10/03/2007 - Witham Town 1 Enfield 0

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The match I originally wanted to see today was Hayes V Braintree. That finished 2-3 to the Iron.

For reasons that will become apparent, I decided that it was too far away and so plumped for Thurrock V Dorchester Town. That finished 2-3 to the Magpies.

Hmmm, not doing so well so far in picking the right match to go to.

Unfortunately though, my destination from Braintree for any match didn't take place until 2.10pm and so I decided to revisit Witham's Spa Road (last seen in 1980) for a Ryman North clash with Enfield. That finished 1-0 to the homesters. Grrrrrr.

The reason for my late departure was the customary clash between solitary pursuits and family responsibility, Vanessa had made it clear that this was Spring Cleaning The Garden weekend and the list of jobs were plentiful.

So despite an 8.30am start on shovelling, wheelbarrowing, tip-visiting and general sprucing, the list was not completed until too late for both of the earmarked five-goal thrillers.

On the way to Witham, I passed Essex Olympian League White Notley and saw them in action for the first time since I have moved up this way, despite passing the ground on many occasions.

Notley really is a beautiful (lottery-funded) set-up and so much nicer than Witham's Spa Road, which looks like a corrugated-iron prison.

Although from the looks of the 'youths' hanging around the skate-park outside, I can understand why the maximum security. This is keeping people out rather than keeping people in.

Witham is fairly similar to Braintree in being a north Essex town which time has forgotten. But while Braintree is getting the spin-off of Stansted's expansion, Witham as a town is struggling, much like their team who are dwelling in the bottom reaches of the Ryman North.

Enfield - a team with plenty of heritage but no home pitch of their own - are also also-rans in the Ryman N this year although they aren't looking over their shoulder at relegation in the same way as Witham.

And this bottom-feeder edginess was probably the difference between the two teams. Witham had the best chance of the match in the last ten minutes of the first half and took it.

Striker Kevin Hawes found himself through on goal and calmly took it around the Enfield keeper before slotting into the open net.
It was one of the few chances of a first half that was dominated by Enfield, and the north London team kept on in the second half maintaining their superior position... But there was no end product.

The Enfield fans - rivalling Harlow in their profanity - were at a low ebb, saying: "How did we stuff Potters Bar and lose to this shite" on their way out, while during the match having countless shouts of "Language" hurled at them from the home fans.

The cheers at the end when the ref finally blew his whistle showed the relief that was running through the club after a number of defeats. The win leaves them seven points clear of the drop zone with nine games to go.

All very nice, but the match however brought back in to play the Stoneman Profanity Rating, as players, officials and spectators today raised the level to at least four out of five chili peppers.

Great programme too.