The Hornets embark on the first of three long away trips in quick succession tomorrow as they, rather aptly given yesterday’s sad news, visit Enfield Town’s unusual Queen Elizabeth II Stadium home, which boasts both an athletics track and a grade II listed clubhouse among its facilities.
The stadium has been Enfield Town’s home since 2011, the club having relied on ground-sharing arrangements for the first decade of their existence, following their formation in 2001.
Given the club’s short history and the fact that they began life in the Essex Senior League, three levels lower in the pyramid than the Isthmian Premier, they have played the Hornets just four times ever. The first two encounters resulted in victories for Dom Di Paola’s men by the handsome scores of 4-1 and 5-2, although neither ultimately counted for anything, as both took place in seasons that were curtailed by the Covid pandemic.
Town exacted revenge in the 2021/22 season, winning both games, albeit in very contrasting styles. The match at the Camping World Community Stadium was probably the best ever to have been played at the venue, ending 4-3 in the visitors’ favour, whereas the return fixture at Enfield was a turgid affair settled by a solitary second-half goal.
This season has started better for the Hornets than Saturday’s hosts, who are having to adjust to life without the prolific Muhammadu Faal, newly departed to Havant & Waterlooville. One victory and two draws from their opening five games see Town sitting in 14th spot on 5 points, exactly half the total of the 4th-placed Hornets. However, their relatively lowly position may be somewhat misleading, as they have already played three of the division’s top five teams.
They still carry a significant goal threat, too, in the shape of Jake Cass and Lyle Della Verde – both scorers in last season’s 7-goal thriller – who have shared Town’s six league goals equally between them this term.
The Hornets of course carry plenty of firepower of their own, with Dan Ajakaiye also having scored three, while Jack Mazzone’s tally of six puts him two clear at the top of the scoring charts in the whole division.
Both sides will be looking for a return to form following their exit from the FA Cup at the first hurdle last weekend. While the Hornets fell to a 2-1 defeat against Herne Bay, Town were walloped 5-1 at Canvey Island, scene of Horsham’s opening-day victory in August.
With visits to Haringey and Wingate & Finchley to come in the next 10 days, either side of the home derby against Lewes, the Hornets are entering a challenging period that will test their play-off credentials. Three points on Saturday would be just the thing.
If you want to be part of the action – or even if you are just interested in visiting listed buildings – there are spaces for supporters on the players’ coach, departing Hop Oast Park & Ride at 11.15. The regular fare of £15 applies.