Moses Lights Burning Bush To Fire Thame’s Celebrations
Thame Rangers 3-2 Enfield Borough
Visitors Enfield Borough arrived at Thame and were forced to thread their way through a sea of parents and daughters who had overspilled the parking-lot at Meadow View Park for a vast girls’ tournament and when the match began, the visitors proceeded to take the game to their hosts: Rangers, the Champions of Spartan League Division 2. In truth, Borough really should not have lost the game, for their approach was offensive and they were denied by some decent goalkeeping by Ranger Sam Ashmead, who made one fine save from the lean, smiling Enfield striker Ralston Gabriel. The home crossbar also foiled Gabriel, who appeared as no angel to Thame, for he netted a brace of goals and missed a lobbed one-on-one chance too and really could have won the encounter on his own. Ashmead foiled Thomas Opoku and also visiting top scorer Henderson Browne, although hosts Thame missed chances too, to be fair. Borough ‘keeper Ravan Constable saved well twice from home midfielder Denel Thomas and once from forward Daniel Delderfield. However, a soft opener by Delderfield, a sucker punch from Sean Coles just after the guests had equalised and then a late, late winner from Ben Moses, following Gabriel’s second equaliser ended Thame’s season on a high and Enfield’s frustrating afternoon on a low.
|BROWN & HURDE, READY TO TOSS...|
Gabriel and Moses? Surely a firm of religious booksellers…
Enfield have an interesting badge, not only carrying a couple of beasts but also what appears to be an ancient Egyptian symbol, the wedjat eye, otherwise known as the Eye of Horus, a falcon-headed god. Strangely, I had handled a real falcon at Batsford Arboretum on Thursday, before a red kite was flown there and fed on the wing, so although no falcon swooped upon Enfield at Meadow View Park and despite the fact that red kites constantly glided above the pitch, it was in fact the enigmatic Moses who swooped for the killer goal. I saw what is considered to be the original ‘burning bush’ from the Old Testament at Mount Sinai during a visit to a monastery there a few years ago and hilariously, next to the bush lay a fire extinguisher… You simply couldn’t make that up and I have a photo to prove it…
|IS THAT THE ALL-SEEING EYE OF HORUS, BOTTOM LEFT?|
|THE REAL BURNING BUSH & FIRE EXTINGUISHER...|
|MOUNT SINAI MONASTERY...|
Anyway, back to the match, played on a harsh, solid surface, although surely a game of this importance would have been a good fit for Thame United’s main pitch… No programme was available, leaving a bunch of groundhoppers looking as sour as trainspotters who had just learned that the timetable had been wrong and the Flying Scotsman had departed two hours before… A keen start by the guests, not fielding a 3, a 6, or an 11, instead confusing me with a 12, a 16 and an 18, led to a couple of early chances but Gabriel’s slight miscue from Jamie Newby-Harris’ low cross struck home skipper Paul Brown and Newby-Harris’ next cross found Opoku but he dug under his shot and lifted a close-range effort too high.
|SPOT THE WARDROBE MALFUNCTION...|
|BRIAN THE MESSIAH...|
Brian ‘Messiah’ Tshibangu was a real presence for Enfield and he prevented Delderfield from getting in a shot, before visiting midfielder Solomon Nwabuokei robbed Thomas and slipped Opoku clear with only Ashmead to beat but the goalie got down well to save one-on-one from the threatening forward. Coles then looked lively for Rangers and although he was foiled at the left upright, he did well enough to turn and cross towards Delderfield beyond the far post, only for Constable to drop and save his opponent’s angled shot well at his near stick. Gabriel missed the target when a long Borough clearance bounced over home defender Tom Keen’s head, although the Angel Gabriel was actually flagged offside, not by God, but by a linesman.
|PROSPER: NEVER STOPPED...|
When the hosts struck a goal, it came as rather a surprise I guess and it stemmed from a free-kick on the right flank, taken by an interesting player, Ranger Kyanan Isaac… The flanker had looked languid in the early stages but that is probably how he plays the game, for some of his neat, often casual touches in the second period proved clever and smart. His delivery was met short by Jeanmal Prosper, whose touch wasn’t quite decisive but the ball rolled into the bottom left corner of the net after an intervention by Delderfield, who rightly claimed the goal, although from the sideline it hadn’t been easy to spot.
|WHERE'S THE GOALSCORER?|
|AH, THERE HE IS...|
DAN DELDERFIELD LOOKS PLEASED, THE BOSS LOOKS UNIMPRESSED & MOSES THINKS: "WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE..."
Mitch Collins drifted a left-footer from 22 yards past the right upright and Constable then kept his team in contention with a fine two-handed diving save from Thomas, whose 25 yarder, from Brown’s assist was rising towards the top left corner of the net, with that wind in his favour. Half-time was reached, the hosts were no doubt pleased to have taken the lead and having finished the first 45 minutes with some offense finally operating. There was no doubt though that the threat on the Borough left was tangible, involving Newby-Harris and Tage Kennedy, although in all honesty Browne hadn’t really contributed a great deal for the visitors on the right thus far. Plentie-Lawrence had been lively for the guests, whilst Rangers had not really cranked into a high midfield gear, with Tony Ngogu, Thomas and Collins not really meshing too effectively.
|FIRE IN COLES...|
|THE ENERGETIC PLENTIE-LAWRENCE...|
Certainly Enfield went out in rapid mood after the break, for Nwabuokei challenged Ashmead for a left-side centre, then Gabriel shook the crossbeam with a right-booted angled volley and Ashmead punched away a Kennedy centre. A Browne shot was well blocked by Prosper who initiated a counter-attack for Thame but Delderfield was successfully tackled on the right offensive flank. A fine long pass from Enfield defender Guy Kiangebeni set up Gabriel for a 25 yard shot which he badly wasted, way off target to the right but soon Tom Keen left the field, being replaced by Alex Keozierski for the home team. A Kennedy centre was punched out for a corner by Ashmead and it seemed perhaps only a matter of time before Borough snatched a deserved equaliser.
Delderfield was blocked really well by The Messiah Tshibangu then at the other end another Kennedy centre was headed clear by Rangers but only to Gabriel, whose sliced shot was well off target. A wild foul by Plentie-Lawrence on Isaac, whose footwork was becoming cuter, led to a caution for the Borough man, before Opoku was replaced by Orlando Abrahams for the despairing visitors. Coles was then mugged by Plentie-Lawrence, who fed Browne on the right and he drifted inside Coles’ challenge to lash a near post angled drive which was well beaten away by the diving Ashmead. After Delderfield got into the left side of the penalty-box onto a Thomas pass, his low centre rolled harmlessly across the Enfield goalmouth, for no home player was in support; evidence perhaps that the accent was on defence for Rangers and protecting their lead by that point.
|PLENTIE-LAWRENCE DOESN'T THINK IT'S TIME TO BE CAUTIONED...|
|OPOKU IS REPLACED...|
However, when Newby-Harris won a challenge against Keozierski, who had received an attacking short free-kick from Coles, visiting skipper Dervon Hurde’s pass forward led to Gabriel bustling Ranger Jack Page off the ball and curling a shot which was beaten away to his left by the leaping Ashmead. Soon though, Keozierski’s pass struck Thomas and allowed Abrahams to knock an instant defence-splitting pass forward for Kennedy to latch onto and slip a pass right for Gabriel and he shot an easy goal off the base of the right upright. Parity deservedly regained…
|GABRIEL SEEMS PLEASED...|
Incredibly though, within a moment or two, Coles fastened onto the ball 23 yards out in the inside-left channel and he forced his way past Hurde to poke an innocuous looking right-boot shot goalwards but the accuracy was perfect and the ball entered the net just inside the right upright, leaving Constable helpless.
|...BUT IMMEDIATELY IT BECOMES 2-1...|
|COLES THE SCORER...|
|KEOZIERSKI & COLES ARE MISSING THE BADGER, METHINKS...|
Keozierski the replacement was himself replaced by Moses and the hosts nearly added a third goal when Coles won the ball off the harassed Messiah Tshibangu and made for the left byeline, before slipping a pass to Thomas at the edge of the 18 yard box. However the speedily advancing and beat-patrolling Constable saved bravely with his shins. Hurde was cautioned, Constable saved comfortably from Delderfield following another Coles assist but Coles then made way for Ricky Williams and Borough’s Plentie-Lawrence took a break too, for the introduction of Niyazi Yusuf. Isaac Stevens then took Browne’s place and the visitors set about getting a second equaliser. And they achieved it…
|2-2: GABRIEL AGAIN...|
Thomas’ challenge saw the ball bounce to Gabriel and he played a smart and instant one-two with Kennedy into the penalty-area, right of centre and the forward beat Ashmead low into the left corner of goal from 10 yards.
|THE EYE OF THE KITE IS UPON YOU...|
Three times Enfield might have secured victory as the game breezed towards its dying embers, so that first Yusuf shoved an angled delivery across the goalmouth from the left, then Stevens cut inside from the left but curled an effort past the far post from 22 yards and finally Gabriel would rue missing the best chance of all. He only had the advancing Ashmead to beat and attempted to lob the goalie but perhaps the following wind took the ball further than he had calculated and it dropped slowly and agonisingly over the target. Williams had just knocked the ball away with a hand to waste a moment or two and had received a yellow card, before the tricky Isaac then said something to a linesman like, “Oh gosh, my good chap, surely that decision wasn’t quite right…” Maybe. He was booked too. And then the hosts took the lead for a third time with only moments remaining, the goal stemming from a loss of possession at the edge of his own 18 yard box by Nwabuokei. Thomas did the damage and his subsequent pass from inside-right across the penalty-box found Moses on his own, having parted the Red Sea (well, the lime-shirted Enfield defence anyway) and he shot gleefully past Constable, whose canvas was thus spoilt…
|"NAH, I'M TOO COOL TO BE CAUTIONED..."|
|"ACTUALLY, YOU'RE NOT..."|
|ISAAC IS BLESSED TO HAVE 3 LEGS TO CHOOSE FROM...|
|GOAL FOR MOSES...|
|MOSES TAKES OFF TO JOIN THE KITES...|
An unbelievable finish for the hosts but a miserable end for the unfortunate guests…
|CONSTABLE: PAINTING A SAD SIGHT...|
|...WHILST ASHMEAD SEEMS RATHER PLEASED...|
Both teams should receive credit for producing a good contest in difficult playing conditions, for the surface and the wind were not suitable for a passing game, yet both teams attempted one. Enfield were not blessed by the best of fortune and Thame capitalised, cruelly. Page and the rather quiet Brown worked well for their team in defence and Prosper was always noticeable, not only for his conversations and commanding yells… Coles grew into the match and Delderfield never stopped working, taking a load on in attack. Ngogu and Thomas became steadier, Collins was often on the fringes of the match through no fault of his own but Isaac… Ah, he appears to be a player who could turn any game…
|THOSE CUPS ARE GETTING TROUBLESOME...|
All of the Enfield players were busy, keen, quick and usually inventive but Kennedy was swift, Newby-Harris supportive, Gabriel a danger and Plentie-Lawrence a willing worker throughout.
And there was Brian ‘Messiah’ Tshibangu, of course… Great to see him at the back… A warrior…
Me? Drove back to Solihull and made a mental note to watch Enfield at home next season…
I hope I’ll be welcome.
|ABOVE & BELOW: THE AWARDS & THE CELEBRATIONS...|
SAM ASHMEAD, JACK PAGE, PAUL BROWN (CAPT), DENEL THOMAS, JEANMAL PROSPER, TOM KEEN, SEAN COLES, TONY NGOGU, DAN DELDERFIELD, MITCH COLLINS, KYANAN ISAAC.
ALEX KEOZIERSKI, RICKY WILLIAMS, RYAN BINNEE, BEN MOSES, KIERON SCHMIDT.
RAVAN CONSTABLE, DERVON HURDE (CAPT), JAMIE NEWBY-HARRIS, GUY KIANGEBENI (WHAT, NO PERCY?), BRIAN MESSIAH TSHIBANGU, TAGE KENNEDY, SOLOMON NWABUOKEI, RALSTON GABRIEL, THOMAS OPOKU, HENDERSON BROWNE, JAMIAH PLENTIE-LAWRENCE.
ISAAC STEVENS, ORLANDO ABRAHAMS, NIYAZI YUSUF, LENNY LABICHE.