Defensive Frailities Prove Costly
Time and games are running out for the Blues in another defeat that leaves them close to relegation writes The Mariner.
The two wins against Billericay and Harrow which had generated the hope that Blues could avoid the drop were a distant memory following this defeat against playoff chasing Enfield Town. More concerning it appeared some of the players lacked the fight and never say die attitude that manager Jamie Stuart demanded and was renowned for in his playing days.It was always going to be difficult with the loss of Jon Ashton who returned to Braintree Town but even so the ease with which the visitors found the back of the Blues net was very disappointing.
Stuart started at the back for the first time in many weeks despite carrying a back injury partnering Chidi Williams- Agunabor.
Enfield playing with a blustery wind at their backs enjoyed the lions share of possession and territory in the opening period forcing a corner after just three minutes.Blues were finding it difficult to get out of their half although they were not helping their cause by punting the ball aimlessly forward allowing Enfield to regain possession and mount further attacks.
A rare break saw Etienne Kababola try his luck from distance but his effort sailed harmlessly wide of the upright but it was the visitors who were now asking all the questions.
A well worked free kick saw Livings test Amadou Tangara who did well to turn his stinging shot behind for a corner, from the resultant kick Kirby came close with a glancing header which just cleared the crossbar, but in the 15th minute the visitors made the breakthrough.As has happened so many times this season the ball was given away in the visitors half and was played quickly forward to Shulton who evaded some half hearted challenges and although his shot lacked any real power it was enough to beat Tangara.
Two minutes later and Shulton was on the spot again to double his and the visitors tally and again it was all too easy when the ball was worked across the Blues six yard box allowing Shulton the simplest of tap Ins.
The goal seemed to stir Blues from their slumber and they began to enjoy a period of pressure,Isaac Layne has impressed without scoring but he clearly has an eye for goal and looked the most likely to test McDonald in the visitors goal but it was defender Williams-Agonabor who gave Blues a lifeline in the 22nd minute.A Harry Watkins corner hung in the air and eventually dropped to the young defender who was quickest to react stabbing the ball into the net.Layne then tried his luck with a snapshot from the edge of the box and created another chance from nowhere winning a corner
Williams-Agunabor nearly restored parity from another corner with a prodigious leap but saw his header come back off the bar.
Blues would have been pleased to have gone in only one goal down given their wretched start and with the wind now at their back the scene was set for an intriguing second period and Layne gave rise to some optimism with a well struck effort.
Enfield had ideas of their own though and Tangara did well to block an effort from the lively Ottaway to keep Blues in the game whilst at the other end Joe Payne blasted over from 25 yards. Winter tested Tangara and came close moments later when he was played in by Williams but slipped just as he shaped to shoot.
Blues play was becoming increasingly scrappy and they were failing to use the wind advantage effectively tending to overhit passes and failing to find their man with careless passing, when Nathan Campbell did receive the ball he saw his shot saved well by McDonald and then Kirby blocked sub Lartey Sarpong's shot.These were isolated chances as the half progressed with the visitors goal rarely troubled .
Any hope of Blues salvaging at least a point from the game was quickly extinguished in the 80th minute and again it was all too easy for the visitors. From a corner Joseph rose unchallenged nodding down to Ottawa who deftly flicked the ball past Tangara to consign Blues to another depressing defeat.
Mathematically Blues could avoid the drop if they win their remaining games and other clubs drop points but even the most optimistic Blues fans have probably accepted the inevitability of relegation.Next week they travel to Wingate and Finchley where they have a less than inspiring record .