Enfield Town match report
match report by Simon Grier
Any time we face a former player the immediate response is often, “He’ll probably score against us.” And Muhammadu Faal did, twice, against a Ks defence that Hayden Bird would later admit was shambolic.
Yet this was not the usual football irony, or even a player motivated to score against a side who’d let him go. Instead, it just felt more like the inevitable consequence of the league’s best player coming up against a defence that’s only kept one clean sheet since October.
Ks inexplicably released Faal in 2018; he promptly joined Enfield where he scored 27 goals in 30 games before joining League One Bolton. While it didn’t work out for him at that level it’s amazing that he’s landed back in the Isthmian and not at the very least in the National League - his goals against Ks were his 29th and 30th of the season.
He ensured Ks were out of contention by just the 31st minute. He had a hand in the first goal, feeding Jake Cass who exchanged passes with Percy Kiagbani before powering past the returning Rob Tolfrey from close range.
Ks hit back almost immediately, Fabio Saraiva striking sweetly into the bottom corner after being teed up by Elliott Buchanan in a nice move. But Bird’s men were level for a mere four minutes, Sam Youngs feeding Faal in a quite ludicrous amount of space to finish from around the penalty spot. Ks felt it was offside but Tolfrey was left so exposed that he could only guess a direction to dive as if he was facing a penalty.
Tolfrey saved well from Cass after a Ks backpass sold him well short but a minute later Ks self-destructed again. Another poor pass went to Cass and Faal converted his through ball to make it 3-1.
Cass got his second right after the break, getting the ball on the right-hand side and finishing superbly into Tolfrey’s far corner. And another ex-K, Lyle Della Verde who played twice under Dean Brennan, turned it into a humiliating 5-1 scoreline with a fine left-footed strike from outside the box.
With Faal substituted and the game over as a contest, Ks at least grabbed two consolation goals. Daniel Ajakaiye raced on to a ball over the top before powering past Nathan McDonald; and Saraiva scored again a minute from time, powering home from the edge of the box after McDonald could only punch a cross clear.
Enfield introduced a third ex-K, Andre Coker, who didn’t enjoy as happy a return to Tolworth as Faal and Della-Verde had: he picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time, appearing to dive over Tolfrey in an attempt to win a penalty. But it was very much Enfield’s day and Faal’s in particular, with Bird admitting afterwards he’s been left with a lot to think about.
Subs: Kershaney Samuels (for Rhys Murrell-Williamson, 76m), Calvin Ekpiteta, Jay Barton, Jason Banton (for Frazer Shaw, HT), Olly Allen (for Elliott Buchanan, 85m).
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Lee Chappell, Ryan Kirwan, Scott Thomas, Nathan Smith, Rian Bray, Percy Kiangebeni, Sam Youngs, Jake Cass, Muhammadu Faal, Lyle Della-Verde.
Subs: Jeremiah Gyebi (for Lyle Della-Verde, 86m), Adi Connolly, Adam Cunnington, Andre Coker (for Muhammadu Faal, 75m), Lewis Taaffe (for Scott Thomas, 75m).
Goal scorers: Jake Cass (18m, 0-1), Fabio Saraiva (22m, 1-1), Muhammadu Faal (26m, 1-2), Muhammadu Faal (31m, 1-3), Jake Cass (47m, 1-4), Lyle Della-Verde (65m, 1-5), Daniel Ajakaiye (78m, 2-5), Fabio Saraiva (89m, 3-5).
Red card: Andre Coker (90m, second bookable offence)