After chopping and changing our team incessantly since the wheels began falling off two months ago I'm pleased we managed to put in a half decent performance with the same midfield core that pushed us into such a strong position in the first place, and a similar overall team and shape, with Hibbert & Drage on the right side of defence instead of Abnett & Forbes, and Jarrett a capable alternative to the injured Clunis. Drage's imposing physical presence has really stiffened our defence in the past couple of games, and he's a tidy enough ball player to fit comfortably into our team.
The 0-0 draw at Witham wasn't a disastrous result or performance on a difficult bobbly pitch, but I was dismayed at the unfamiliar tactics, with three at the back and no wingers. In that game I felt we looked far stronger when Dixon came on to add some drive and power to the midfield, so I was delighted to see him back in the starting XI yesterday.
Team v Witham Town (3-5-2): Wilson - Drage, Forbes(c), Pinnock - Abnett, Vidal, Hibbert, Carew, Samuels - Ottaway, James.
Subs used: Wanadio, Dixon, McDonald.
Yesterday's first half performance was the most convincing since defeating the same opponents at the end of January, and considering the relative recent form of the two sides it was an excellent win. (Enfield had 18 points from their last seven matches; Hamlet just three from the last eight, with no win.) An early penalty for a blatant shirtpulling offence as Wanadio tricked his way into the box gave Carew the opportunity to convert his third spot kick in approximately 45 minutes of football at Champion Hill! We'd earlier had the benefit of the doubt when Carew barged into thier left winger just inside the box, ostensibly a shoulder charge, but with a strong hint of arm leverage thrown in - the type of challenge that usually results in a free kick anywhere outside the box, but seldom inside. That was the only real assistance needed to complete the win though. Carew was bossing the midfield with impresive authority, supported by the strength of Dixon, Wanadio was looking more confient than for many weeks on the right flank, and Jarrett's experience and composure were enabling us to make inroads on the left too. It was Jarrett who created the second goal shortly before the break, beating his man on the outside and whipping a perfectly timed low cross in to the edge of the six yard box for Vidal to slam past the keeper to make it 2-0.
The visitors didn't really show up uintil the second half, unsurprisingly pressing us higher up the pitch, but they still hadn't really looked like scoring until midway through the half when a stunning first time shot from the edge of the box flew in off the underside of the crossbar to set up a nervous final quarter. In the event, we managed to hold out without too much real difficulty while posing a sporadic threat on the break. In fact the best chance in the remainder of the game came when Benjamin broke clear to the left of goal but shot just wide of the far post. Enfield lost a man with around ten minutes to go when a fracas broke out after one of their players stumbled and fell, then handled the ball on the ground to stop us breaking away.
Team v Enfield Town (4-2-3-1): Wilson - Hibbert, Drage, Pinnock(c), Shaw - Carew, Dixon - Wanadio, Vidal, Jarrett - Ottaway.
Subs: Samuels (for Jarrett), Benjamin (for Ottaway), Abnett (for Vidal), Forbes, McDonald (not used).
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