After five months kicking nothing more than their heels, Enfield Borough were back in action with three pre-season friendlies in the space of five days in preparation for their Spartan South Midland League campaign which is scheduled to commence next month.

First up was a meeting with Sun Sports Under-23 on Saturday, August 9 at the College of North East London in Hertford Road. With temperatures in the mid-30, both teams could be forgiven for struggling to cope. But Borough ran out comfortable winners by six goals to two. The scorers were Micah Jackson, Jean-Paul Antwi, Blessing Tshibikubla, Frank Chandler, Haziz Kone and new boy Brandon Folly.

The standard of opposition was raised on Tuesday with a visit to Dagenham to play May & Baker. On a hot and humid evening Borough took the lead through an own goal, but the hosts secured an equaliser and the draw seemed the likely result until another newcomer Myles Baiden made it 2-1 to Enfield ten minutes from time.

Just 48 hours later Borough had their regular pre-season meeting with a Wingate & Finchley XI composed of first team players and trialists. This meant that the opposition were either already playing with, or had aspirations to play for, a club three levels above Enfield.

Wingate had the first chance with a close range header from a corner that keeper Dragos Steianoaica pushed onto the bar. It took Borough fifteen minutes to create their first opportunity, but they made it count. Micah Jackson attacked the right-hand side of the penalty box, his shot slipped through the hands and between the legs of the keeper and Hamza Semakula tapped the ball home from a matter of inches. Will Murphy nearly doubled the lead from a short corner seconds later but his shot crashed off the crossbar.

It took only four minutes for Wingate to equalise when Evangelou nipped in front of his marker to slot home a left-wing centre. Six minutes later they took the lead when the ball reached a trialist on the edge of Enfield’s box. He skipped past the challenge of Dawid Nikolaj before rounding Steianoaica and placing the ball into an empty net. The same player nearly scored again but his cross shot flew just wide of the far post. Jackson replied with a curling effort that just cleared the angle of crossbar and post and the final incident of the half saw Evangelou draw a fine reaction save from Steianoaica who pushed his snapshot away.

With flashes of lightning now illuminating the night sky, the second half started quietly, the closest to a goal coming when Murphy was forced wide and unable to get his shot on target.

Both teams started to ring the changes with Georges Kebi replacing Semakula for Borough. On the hour mark Wingate increased their advantage with a towering header from a corner which was deflected past Steianoaica by Smith. Chandler produced an outstanding diving tackle to thwart another of the host’s trialists who was about to pull the trigger while Steianoaica leapt to tip over a 40-yard drive.

Despite having to survive spells of pressure, Borough were still well in the contest and after some fine work by Jackson, Blessing Tshibikubla reduced the arrears with a strike that flew into the net off the underside of the bar. Ben Tamayo and Myles Baiden came on in place of Chandler and the trialist, but those fresh legs were being given a hard time as Takai attacked a far post cross only to steer his header wide of the target while Hussein Ombasi was caught in possession by Ojo, whose shot smacked off the crossbar.

Late in the game Issa Sidibe replaced Kofi Appiah before Wingate’s pressure finally told with just two minutes to go when a cross by Kennedy reached Healey in front of goal and he was able to slip the ball between Steianoaica’s legs.

Despite the 4-2 loss, joint manager Mani Asare was pleased with the evening’s work. “With each match we have ramped up the standard of opposition. We will not face players of that quality in our league so the fact that we more than held our own is a good sign. The new players have integrated well, they are all getting game time and while there were some tired legs out there by the end having played three games in five days, the hectic schedule has given Shaun Reece and myself a good idea of what areas we need to work on. Next Monday’s match (away to Cricklewood Wanderers) is primarily intended to give some of the squad players an outing while we will be putting out our strongest possible eleven again next Saturday when we face Hackney Wick.”

Team; Steianoaica, Chandler (Tamayo), Harrison, Nikolaj, Trialist (Baiden), Murphy, Semakula (Kebi), Ombasi, Appiah (Sidibe), Jackson, Tshibikubla