WINGATEWEBTitle-chasing Maidstone Utd beat Wingate 5-0 on a glorious sunny day that brought welcome relief from the recent weather., writes Paul Lerner.

Ryman Premier League
Maidstone United 5 Wingate & Finchley 0
Saturday, 23 February, 2014

**UPDATED TABLE**

Despite the final scoreline, the first half was an even affair and Wingate created the first good opening, as both sides enjoyed the flat 3G surface.

Hector Morante waited patiently before feeding in Ahmet Rifat with a well-weighted chip, but under heavy pressure from a defender he pulled his shot narrowly across the face of goal and missed the far post by inches. In a half-chance for Maidstone Alex Flisher fired a volley from far out but he missed by a distance.

Both sides were playing a patient passing game, but Tom Mills opened the scoring for Maidstone after 21 minutes with a superb accurate strike out of nothing from 25 yards. Within two minutes the lead was doubled as Frannie Collin then capitalised on some slack defending to slot home with a free shot after two failed clearances.

Wingate were shellshocked at all of a sudden having a mountain to climb, and played cautiously through the half to try and retain their footing in the game. Maidstone too were comfortable with a cautious approach as the game began to feel like a summertime match.

However, Jack Parkinson scored a header from a long throw at close-range four minutes after the break to seal the points for Maidstone, as a three goal deficit would be too much to overcome away to the league leaders. Adam Bolle was brought on for the Blues and soon had a shot from distance which hit the target but did not test the keeper.

This tactical shift of an extra forward had the intention of trying to open the game up so that Wingate could force their way back into into the game, however it allowed Maidstone extra space in midfield and they created chances late on.

Kainye Woolery fired a header from only six yards out but Bobby Smith was well-positioned to catch the effort. Alex Flisher then added a fourth goal in the 87th minute when he reacted quickest after a good Smith save, to slot home from close-range from the rebound of Rooney shot.

The final action came in injury time as Zack Attwood scored a penalty after Ola Sogbanmu had committed a professional foul inside the box. The referee could have chosen to show some leniency to the unfortunate and helpless defender but he now faces a one-match ban. Attwood, no stranger to scoring against the Blues, fired the spot kick into the top right corner.

Head coach Daniel Nielsen said: “It’s difficult to know what to say as I don’t feel the scoreline represented the game, and anyone at the game would agree I’m sure. Maidstone were clinical and we were punished for our mistakes today. I felt as a team we worked extremely hard and at times played some good football. The game could’ve been very different if the ref had been brave enough to give a penalty for the pull back on Ahmet in the first minute.

“Credit must go to our fantastic fans who sang from beginning to end and could be heard well above the 1700 home supporters. We now have a run of big games against teams around us to look forward to and bounce back in”.

Wingate & Finchley Line-up:
Smith, Weatherstone, Williams, Olondo, Sogbanmu, Aisien, Jones, McCall (Jemal Fredricks 74), Rifat, Tejan-Sie (Read 70), Morante (Bolle 57). Subs: Wright, McGonigle.

Attendance:
1,723

Referee:
J Richardson

**UPDATED TABLE**