MATCH REPORT: ENFIELD 2-3 HADLEY (AET)

E’s crash out the FA Cup following extra-time defeat to Hadley

Enfield’s journey in the FA Cup came to an end as they were defeated 3-2 by Hadley in extra-time. The away side made the perfect start as Solomon Ofori slotted home to give his side the lead. Hadley were ahead at the break but not long after the restart, Olly Miles equalised for the E’s to make it a level contest. Later in the second half, the home side made it 2-1 with Miles once again getting himself on the scoresheet.

However, as the game approached the closing stages, Hadley found themselves level after Ed Davis headed home to send the tie to extra-time. During extra-time, Ofori put the Bricks back in front to give them the crucial advantage. Despite Enfield’s best efforts, Hadley held on for the win to make it through to the next round.

The original tie at Brickfield Lane ended 1-1 with Enfield taking an early lead before being pegged back. However, justthree minutes into the replay, it was different this time round as Hadley made the all-important breakthrough. Jordan Edwards slid the ball through into the path of Solomon Ofori as the number seven poked the ball home past James Bransgrove to make it Enfield 0-1 Hadley.

Meanwhile, up the other end, the home side were looking for a response and almost did so as Vinny Murphy’s powerful effort was blocked by the Hadley defence. On 15 minutes, Dwade James came close to equalising after his effort deflected just inches over the bar. Enfield had made a very good response having gone behind so early on though hadn’t done much to trouble the goalkeeper.

Despite improvements from the hosts, Hadley looked to double their advantage after Ofori’s cross fell to the full-back Billy Baird, whose shot drifted wide of the target. Not long after, Cameron Ferguson pulled the ball across goal to Luke Alfano though his attempt was well off-target.

With a little over half-an-hour played, Ryan Ramsay put in an excellent cross into the middle though no one could get on the end of it. The E’s had their best chance of the game on 35 minutes after Alex Warman’s corner was cleared into the path of Luke Wilson, whose volley was put over.

Aside from the goal, neither side were able to create many efforts on goal with both goalkeepers not having much to do in the first half. Nonetheless, the score at half-time read 1-0 to Hadley with Ofori’s third minute goal proving the difference at the break. The away side had been the better of the two, but Enfield had shown signs of promise and it was destined to be an entertaining second half.

Just two minutes after the restart and the home side found themselves level at 1-1. The ball was played down the line to Callum Ibe before crossing towards Olly Miles as the Enfield striker’s skewed effort found the back of the net. Despite Hadley’s best efforts to clear his shot off the line, they were unable to prevent Miles from making it Enfield 1-1 Hadley.

Moments later, the E’s almost made it 2-1 after Ibe intercepted possession before seeing his shot parried by ‘keeper Luke Ward. Just seconds after, David Cowley played the ball to Warman, but the midfielder saw his attempt blocked. The home side were once again close to taking the lead as Bransgrove’s free kick was headed on by Miles and into the path of James as his looping volley hit the roof of the net.

Up the other end and the away side were determined to regain their advantage. Edwards’ curling effort was straight into the arms of the goalkeeper before coming close again but this time shooting inches wide of the post. With nearly an hour gone, the hosts again came close as after some good work from James, he played the ball through to Ibe as his attempt drifted off-target.

However, on 66 minutes, Jamie Cureton’s side completed the turnaround in the replay, and it was through that man again Olly Miles. James managed to get the ball past the Hadley defence before his cross came to Miles at the backpost, who slotted into the unguarded net. The score now read Enfield 2-1 Hadley.

With 15 minutes to go, the E’s had an opportunity to see out the match as Ibe’s cross fell to James, but his acrobatic effort was blocked by the Bricks. In the 81st minute though, Hadley dealt Enfield a huge blow as they levelled the match at 2-2. The two substitutes combined with Zack Uribarri crossing into the middle towards Ed Davis as he bundled the ball home past Bransgrove to make it all square.

With just a minute left of the 90, the away side were close to scoring the winner. Andrew White, Hadley’s goalscorer in Saturday’s match, found his close-range effort tipped over by the goalkeeper. Meanwhile, deep into added time, Ibe delivered in an excellent cross towards the path of Reece Conway, but the E’s captain was unable to latch onto it.

In what was a quite remarkable second half of football, the match was still not over with extra-time required to determine who would reach the second qualifying round of the FA Cup. The E’s looked on their way to their next round after Miles’ two second half goals but the hosts were pegged back by Davis’ goal to send the game to extra-time.

Three minutes into extra-time and Uribarri was played through on goal for the visitors, but Bransgrove was on hand to deny him. However, as the game approached the 96th minute, Hadley scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the tie. Ofori did very well to get past Murphy before finding the back of the net to make it Enfield 2-3 Hadley.

The Bricks almost extended their advantage to two on 100 minutes as a mistake from the E’s played through Ofori, but he blazed his effort over the bar. The away side looked the more likely of the two sides to get the next goal, but Uribarri’sshot was caught by the goalkeeper. Hadley were 3-2 ahead at half-time in extra time and were 15 minutes away from the next round.

Five minutes into the second period of extra time and Ofori once again had another opportunity to seal the tie once and for all. The goalscorer was played clean through on goal but his shot was put wide of the post. In the final minute of the match, the home side continued to battle hard and try to force a penalty shootout, but substitute Hugo Vasconcelos struck his attempt over.

After what was a tense and entertaining 120 minutes of action, Hadley were the side who prevail as winners by defeatingEnfield in extra-time. Both sides had battled well and had at times each been ahead but, on the night, there had to be one winner and that proved to be Hadley.

The away side’s reward for getting through to the next round is against Enfield’s fellow rivals Enfield Town in the second qualifying round. Meanwhile, for the E’s they now turn their attention to yet another competition on Saturday as they face Buckhurst Hill in the FA Vase.

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