Enfield Town started their Fenix Trophy campaign with a deserved 3-1 win this week against reigning champions BK Skjold at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium.
Participating in the UEFA-certified non-league competition for the first time, Enfield were considered underdogs going into the fixture but capitalised on a much-changed Skjold team, despite missing players themselves though illness.
A first half strike from midfielder Sam Youngs looked to have been cancelled out late on by a fine Mattias Gorse volley, but a Youngs penalty and Marcus Wyllie’s resourceful stoppage-time effort gave Enfield a deserved win.
The Towners dominated the early exchanges with Youngs heading over from close range before having a speculative penalty shout waved away as a Skjold player looked to have handled the ball following a deep cross from Dylan Adjei-Hersey.
Despite Enfield’s dominance, their Danish opposition proved quick on the counter with pacy winger Marius Framnes firing wide of the far post after a driving run in behind.
Enfield’s pressure soon told, however, with Youngs’s deflected strike through bodies beating the Skjold keeper after 37 minutes.
Starting the second half in much the same manner, Enfield saw a good Wyllie chance saved from point blank range after good work from Adjei-Hersey and Reece Beckles-Richards in the build-up.
Enfield were made to pay for their wastefulness, however, as Christian Kold’s deep cross from the left-hand side found substitute Gorse who volleyed home in the 81st minute.
Just four minutes later, and with a new-found sense of urgency, Enfield won a penalty after Reece Beckles-Richards was brought down by Skjold keeper Thomas Thygesen, with Youngs converting emphatically.
And deep into stoppage time, Wyllie latched onto a loose throw-in back to the Skjold keeper, forcing the ball home to secure all three points and automatically send the Towners top of group A.
Non-league European football at Enfield encapsulated the aim of the Fenix trophy, with its eccentricities on full show.
Enfield manager Gavin Macpherson wrote in his programme notes: “Participation in the Fenix Trophy represents another milestone for our football club.”
From the board of the Danish team helping the stadium announcer with the pronunciation of their side, to the local Enfield catering charity Cooking Champions serving up rød pølse, a red Danish sausage, there was a sense of community that will not be present at any other European fixture in London this year.
“Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we’re going to Italy” sang the Enfield fans.
Come June that could be the case, with the competition’s finals set to be held there.
Tournament organiser Leonardo Aleotti added in the programme: “European football in North London is always a vibe!” and so it was proven.