Goals from Ryan Blackman and Muhammadu Faal secured a routine 2-0 win for Enfield Town at home to Merstham in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

Blackman’s free-kick after 25 minutes opened the scoring for the hosts, and Faal flicked in Blackman’s effort with 10 minutes remaining before being sent off for a second yellow card minutes later.

Town came into the game unchanged from last weekend’s FA Cup win against Braintree Town, but Lewis Taaffe returned to the bench in place of the injured Billy Bricknell.

Both sides made a cagey start to the game, unable to make the most of the space on the wings. Merstham’s Peter Wedgeworth played high up the field and looked dangerous with his deliveries in the opening exchanges, and he had an attempt from the edge of the box well saved by Nathan McDonald, pushing it over the bar.

With Merstham’s wing-backs pushing on, though, Town were able to exploit the space they were leaving behind. Ken Charles beat his man to get into that abandoned space and cross for Charles Brown who in turn laid it off for Faal, but he flashed wide from inside the box to see the hosts’ first real chance go begging.

Enfield kept threatening though and came close when Blackman shot wide after a surging run through the middle.

Then, just seven minutes later, the opener did arrive when Charles was brought down on the edge of the area, and Blackman sent the free-kick curling into the bottom corner.

Shortly after, Enfield thought they were given the opportunity to double their lead when Faal was brought down in the penalty area, but were shocked to see the decision had gone the other way and the forward instead booked for simulation.

The Merstham wing-backs continued to look dangerous in the second half but the tactic was not really creating too many clear-cut chances for them.

A largely quiet second-half did not spring into life until around the 77th minute when Enfield fashioned a glorious opportunity to double their lead.

Taaffe held the ball out on the left before chipping into the feet of Sam Youngs. He then backheeled it into the path of Faal but, when one-on-one with the keeper, he went for power and blazed over the bar.

An eventful few minutes did get better though as Faal atoned for his miss within two minutes. The ball broke to Blackman on the edge of the area and he went for goal after working some space. He failed to really get behind the shot, but Faal managed to flick his boot on it to divert it away from the goalkeeper and finally give Town some breathing space.

They were made to hold on the hard way for a few minutes as Faal received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away after he felt he was fouled by James Richmond, but Merstham themselves went down to 10 on 84 minutes when Edwin Mensah was too mouthy for the referee’s liking and received a straight red.

Town held out to climb to fourth in the table ahead of Tuesdays game at Brightlingsea Regent. This weekend, meanwhile, they return to FA Cup action in their third round qualifier away to Chichester City.