Enville Athletic 1 Aston 5

Saturday 3rd December 2011
Enville Athletic 1 Aston 5
Athium Midland Combination Division 2
At: Enville Hall
Kick-off: 2-00 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Attendance: 7 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells, cold wind, dry
Duration: first-half: 45:07; second-half: 46:00

The grounds of Enville Hall, once the ancestral home of the Earls of Stamford, provided an idyllic location on a mild early December afternoon and this perhaps unique setting comes highly recommended. Facing Enville Athletic this afternoon were Aston and the visitors showed why they top the Division 2 table with an emphatic 5-1 win which included four first-half goals.

Enville’s Chairman/Secretary Dave Birchall certainly deserves a mention. One of non-league football’s stars with over 50 years service at the club, he found the time to provide the line-ups, have a chat while he sold raffle tickets and make me a tea at half-time in a proper cup and saucer, despite being a busy man on matchdays.

The village of Enville is located of the A458 Stourbridge to Bridgnorth road, around 3 miles west of the A449 junction at Stourton. The final couple of hundred yards to the ground itself were along the private drive though the white gates set back between the war memorial and the Cat Inn.

Words can’t really do the setting justice. From the car park next to the pavilion, the pitch occupied the left-hand side of a much larger cricket ground – filly roped off with the dugouts and some gravel hard-standing down the left-hand side with further hand-standing behind the far goal. Inside the pavilion, the cricket club is prominent and he caption to one of the many photos explains that W. G. Grace played at the ground on 11-13 July 1870 for a South of England eleven against an I Zingari eighteen. Grace scored 14 in the first innings and 10 in the second innings of a match won by I. Zingari by an innings and 40 runs. Five other future England cricketers were included in the South of England eleven. Also a plaque commemorates the opening of the pavilion by Mrs J. P. Bissill on the occasion of the fete and flower show held on 2nd September 1968.

Back to the football and Aston (32 points from 13 games) topped the table with a two-point lead over second-placed Young Warriors. Enville (15 points from 15 games) occupied ninth position in the 15-team division depleted in numbers by the withdrawal of three clubs before season got underway.

Even though Enville (in sky blue shirts, navy blue shorts and socks) got the game underway attacking the pavilion end, Aston took the lead after just 33 seconds. Felix Okone got down the left into the area past defender Matthew Freeman and delivered a low pass to the far post which Dadir Islow fired home past keeper Daniel Fletcher.

Aston (wearing claret shirts, black shorts and socks) should have doubled their advantage in the 18th minute. Michael McGhie slipped the ball past the onrushing Fletcher but the angle was too tight for a shot on target and the keeper got back to save. McGhie was involved in Aston’s next decent chance when hit low shot was missing the left post and Jermaine Wynter was unable to tap in from barely a yard out. With the visitors on top, Islow dribbled past several defenders into the area on the right and squared a pass to Okone who failed to hit the target.

The game turned decisively in favour of Aston before the interval with two quick goals that opened up a 3-0 lead. In the 35th minute, McGhie burst through down the middle and slipped the ball past Fletcher and defender Joe Poole into an empty net. Two minutes later, Wynter ran to the edge of the area and unleashed a rising right-foot shot into the top right corner.

Certainly not three goals worse off, Enville got forward in a bid to reduce the deficit and Brett Hall, from a good position inside the area, fired wide of the far left post (see right).

However, Aston continued to create chances and Fletcher produced a decent diving save to keep out Icse Nelson’s low shot. But the visitors added a fourth goal just before the interval. McGhie battled inside the area before the ball fell to captain Leon Ward who fired home with a close-range rising shot.

Fletcher produced another good save soon after the restart to push away a rising shot by McGhie as Aston’s pacey attack continued to cause problems.

A nice move almost led to an Enville as Luke Boden got forward to fire wide of the near right-hand post.

Aston were awarded a penalty in the 55th minute for a trip on Wynter inside the area. Now, I’m not sure who would normally take a penalty for Aston but someone decided to “give it to him for his birthday”. ‘Him’ turned out to be Nelson who sent Fletcher the wrong way from the spot (see right). “Happy Birthday”!

Somehow the visitors failed to add to sixth goal to their tally despite continuing to create chances – McGhie volleyed over the bar, Ward fired over the bar, McGhie’s shot flashed past the left-hand post, Salim’s rising 20 yard left-foot shot just over the bar, Nelson fired over the bar as did Glen Jones and Nelson also saw a shot saved by Fletcher.

Enville deserved a goal and it came with virtually the last kick (or should it be last header) of the game in the first minute of stoppage time. Joe Poole crossed from the left and Reece Catmur headed home at the near post.

Enville Athletic (sky blue / navy blue / navy blue): 1. Daniel Fletcher, 2. Luke Boden, 3. Joe Poole, 4. Jack Carey, 5. Matthew Freeman, 6. James Reynolds, 7. Lewis Round, 8. Paul Becke (capt), 9. Richard Hamilton, 10. Reece Catmur, 11. Brett Hall. Subs: 12. Bawo Jarrett (for Round, 73), 14. Nathan Cope (for Freeman, 60), 15. Ashley Smith (for Carey, 81).

Aston (claret/black/black): 1. Farooq Hussain, 2. Glen Jones, 3. Leon Ward (capt), 4. Talib Hyie, 5. Gavin Brown, 6. Reece Mills, 7. Dadir Islow, 8. Michael McGhie, 9. Jermaine Wynter, 10. Icse Nelson, 11. Felix Okone. Subs: 12. Hamood Salim (for Brown, 60), 14. Marcus Malcolm (for Okone, 60).

Referee: S. Moore.
Assistants: A. Dillon and I. Hopkins.

0-1 Dadir Islow (1)
0-2 Michael McGhie (35)
0-3 Jermaine Winter (37)
0-4 Leon Ward (45)
0-5 Isce Nelson (56)
1-5 Reece Catmur (90+1)