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Enfield fixtures and match reports for 1998/1999

August 1998

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Chesham United vs. Enfield Sat 22nd August
Enfield vs. Dagenham & Redbridge Tue 25th August
Enfield vs. Aylesbury United Sat 29th August

(Ryman Premier League) 22nd August 1998

Chesham United (2) 2 Winston 45, 45 (pen)
Enfield (0) 0 Sent off: Risley 73; Cooper (S) 77

It's hardly the most promising of news to be told an hour before the start of the new season that your numbero uno keeper has a blood infection, and is likely to be out for quite some time. The replacement for Andy Pape was Andy Hall, who filled in so well last season. The opposition were of course, basking in the knowledge that they had ex Liverpool keeper Bruce Grobbelaar between the sticks. Also on show were old boys Mark Pye and Micky Engwell, who first joined Enfield with Graham Roberts. (Ooops, I promised myself not to mention him at all in this report.)

The cameras were all behind the Enfield goal, observing Grobbelaar. Brucie had a decent game of it. True - he did look to be a little unsure of what to make of some of our supporters, and had a few conversations as he was about to take goal kicks, but to my knowledge there were no instances of an exchange of brown paper envelopes! No. To his credit, Grobbelaar handled himself well (if you forgive the pun).

The main action centered around the last couple of minutes of first half stoppage time. Dunwell had just headed over the top after that man Brucie had gone walkabout to challenge Annon outside the penalty area and been found wanting. Almost straightaway, Chesham went upfield and took the lead through Winston. Moments later referee Armstrong gave gave Chesham a chance to make it 2-0 from the spot after their forward was adjudged to have been bought down just inside the box. Winston duly obliged, for his second of the match.

Although no further goals were conceeded, Chesham went close to increasing their advantage after rattling the frame of Hall's goal. Enfield's ranks were depleted as first Risley, and then Sammy Cooper were sent off for what one of the Chesham supporters behind me described as 'outrageous tackles'.

Funniest sight of the day was that of the lost Barnet supporter wandering around the ground in his replica top. I have to ask, why? What did it prove. Mickey Engwell also took exception to some comment or other as he stood waiting for a corner at the near post, and showed that he could indeed, add to two. He went a little too far though as the corner blazed over the bar, and got a right earful from his team mate as they ran back to the centre.

Celebrity spotters will be pleased to learn that Ray Stubbs, the BBC sports presenter, was spotted standing at the Enfield end of the ground towards the end of the match. At least - that is what an autograph hunter claimed when showing his matchday programme with the signature "Ray St****". The fax man was notoriously quiet, though he did stir from the bench to celebrate his side's goals.

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(Ryman Premier League) 25th August 1998

Enfield (1) 4 Terry 45; Dunwell 78, 85, 90
Dagenham & Redbridge (0) 0

Andy Pape's miraculous recovery was as much unexpected as it was welcome. Only three days ago the rumour was that he was expected to be out for a month at least! Making his debut for Enfield was Gary Calden, who signed from St. Albans City in time to play tonight.

Calden was in the thick of the action in the opening seconds. Being clattered to the ground as an early introduction to what he should expect from visiting defences to Southbury Road. Dagenham had the better of the opening exchanges as a whole, and Pape had to pull off two excellent saves at the Town End - a reflex save to tip the ball over the bar being as memorable as any in his career. Annon at the other end had the only effort of worth at Gothard's goal. It took Steve Terry to break the deadlock in the last minute of the half, climbing high at the far post to head down into the opposite corner of the goal past a despairing attempt by a defender on the line.

Enfield looked a much better side in the second half, and Dunwell in particular can look back on his performance with some pride. Dagenham had tested the Enfield woodwork on the hour and then the visitors were lucky not to have Conner sent off before Dunwell took control. From a Bentley charge down the right (a battle with a defender that looked at any moment to be stopped for a free kick) the ball ran loose to Dunwell, who drilled home past Gothard, who inexplicably decided not to attempt a dive.

Dunwell's second was a cracker. He ran straight at the heart of the defence before slipping the ball to his right foot and going round a defender to settle the game. Minutes later and he outpaced a lone defender to lob gleefully past an advancing Gothard for a twelve-minute hat-trick for Enfield.

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(Ryman Premier League) 29th August 1998

Enfield (2) 2 Bentley 34; Dunwell 39
Aylesbury United (1) 3 Soloman 12; Browne 90, 90

This was numbing. I wouldn't mind quite so much losing in this manner to a team such as a Purfleet or a Hendon, but Aylesbury??? Geeze - there were fifty supporters going absolutely ape at the Town End of the ground as Enfield quite literally pushed the self destruct button in the last few seconds and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Aylesbury were sporting their new away kit for this game, and it has to be said that yes, teams that wear orange and black are just asking for abuse when they come to our ground. After falling behind in the opening quarter against the run of play, Enfield appeared to be heading towards victory - not convincingly - on the back of Bentley's 34th minute equaliser that was expertly controlled with his hand before scoring, and another Dunwell strike. Dunwell's was particularly pleasing as Bentley and then Naylor combined down the right for a cross that Enfield's new crowd favourite just couldn't miss.

The second half bore no resemblence to the first. Enfield appeared unwilling or unable to kill the game as a contest, with Dunwell having a perfect opportunity, only to roll the ball the wrong side of the post after outwitting the opposition defence and drawing Wilmot off his line. Moments later and Aylesbury were back in the game via Browne's headed equaliser from a corner. Groans of despair at one of the ground whilst the green and white were going potty at the other end. In a Keeganesque rush of blood, yours truly then wondered out loud what the excitement would be like if it had been the winner, only to see Browne score from distance off Pape's right hand post that looked to have hit the base at some crazy angle on its way in. It was certainly a moment that is so sweet when you do it to your rivals, but so desperately hard to take when it happens to you.

The game was played to the sombre news that Mr. Enfield, "Davey" Jones, passed away two days previous to this match. After serving Enfield for well over half his life, it was appropriate that the minute's silence was observed with such respect by both sets of supporters. I hope to include the statement by the club that will be in the programme for the visit of Gravesend & Northfleet soon.

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