MATCH REPORT: ENFIELD 2 – 1 MK IRISH FC

Dwade James brace gives Enfield first FA Cup win for eight years

Enfield won their first FA Cup game for over eight years after overcoming MK Irish 2-1. The E’s dominated the opening exchanges and broke the deadlock early on as Dwade James scored from the penalty spot. However, later in the half, Enfield were pegged back by Irish as Andre Olukanmi found the back of the net. In what was a scrappy second half, Enfield managed to find the winning goal in the last minute as James slotted home to send the E’s through.

Jamie Cureton’s men starting the game the better side and almost took the lead after just four minutes. The ball fell kindly into the path of Ryan Ramsay, who managed to loop the ball over the goalkeeper, but his shot was inches wide. Moments later, Irish gave away possession cheaply to James, who broke away towards goal, but ‘keeper Owusu Kyeremateng was there to gather his attempt.

With 13 minutes on the clock, Enfield came close once again through James. Ramsay played the ball down the line to the striker before his shot was kept out. Three minutes later, the E’s were awarded a penalty after defender Luke Wilson was brought down. It was a big opportunity for the hosts to get the all-important first goal as James was on hand to dispatch of the spot-kick. Enfield 1-0 MK Irish.

Despite taking the lead, Enfield continued to threaten in front of goal and nearly scored from a set piece. Ramsay put in a brilliant delivery from the free kick towards Jack Grosvenor, who almost headed home. Meanwhile, up the other end, MK Irish had the first real effort on goal. Andre Olukanmi crossed the ball into the middle as Dominic Lawless’ header was blocked.

However, Enfield soon continued to foray forward where skipper Reece Conway played the ball to Callum Ibe whose curling effort was saved by Kyeremateng. The home side also had another opportunity just before the half-hour mark as after a goalmouth scramble inside the penalty area, the ball fell to Jack Folan but his attempt was saved.

Enfield had plenty of opportunities to extend their one-goal advantage but failed to take them. Although the E’s dominated the first half, MK Irish went up the other end and equalised. Lawless was again involved for Irish as his shot was kept out by James Bransgrove before falling kindly into the path of Olukanmi, who rolled home the rebound. Enfield 1-1 MK Irish with 37 minutes played.

Just before half-time, the visitors again threatened as Mason Spence tried his luck from distance with the ball whistling wide. That proved to be the final chance of the first 45 as the sides went in at the break all square. The E’s will have rued their missed chances in the first half and could have been 3 or 4-0 up. However, MK Irish punished Enfield by taking their one major chance to leave it all to play for in the second half.

After the restart, the chances dried up for the E’s and it wasn’t until the 56th minute where they threatened the MK Irish goal. Alex Warman almost found the back of the net from a free kick, but his shot was just wide. A few minutes later, Enfield soon began to threaten once again as the ball was crossed towards Ramsay but his first-time effort was blocked.

As the game headed towards the closing stages, neither side were able to carve out many clear-cut chances with the tie destined for a replay.

With six minutes left, Jamie Cureton’s men almost scored the winning goal after substitute Olly Miles was played through on goal as his effort went past the goalkeeper but then clearedoff the line.

Meanwhile, MK Irish almost scored a winning goal of their own on 88 minutes. Irish played the free kick short to George Boland, whose first-time strike was tipped away by Bransgrove.

With the match approaching the 90th minute mark, Enfield scored the winning goal in dramatic fashion. The ball fell into the path of James on the near side before he composedhimself and slotted into the bottom corner. The ‘keeper managed to get a hand to the shot but was unable to prevent James from scoring his second of the game.

Despite a very nervy ending, the E’s held on for their first FA Cup victory in more than eight years to progress to the preliminary round. Enfield will face fellow Essex Senior League side Stanway Rovers in the next round following their 1-0 win over Leverstock Green. Meanwhile, Enfield’s next league fixture will be on Wednesday night at home to Saffron Walden.

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