Wingate and Finchley booked their place in the second round of the Alan Turvey Trophy after they played out a thrilling eight-goal tie against Harrow Borough.
Sean Cronin handed Wingate the lead in the first half, but Harrow had turned it around by half-time through goals from Ibraham Meite and Marc Charles-Smith.
span style=”color: #000000;”>Billy Healey pulled the Blues level after the restart, but Meite’s second goal handed the hosts the advantage once again.
Another Healey equaliser was quickly overturned by Charles-Smith completing his brace and it was left to Tommy Tejan-Sie to pull Keith Rowland’s men level and take the game to penalties, which Wingate went on to win 8-7.
The Blues will now travel to Staines Town in the second round, with the date TBC.
Wingate and Finchley came into this game high on confidence following back-to-back comprehensive victories against Waltham Abbey and Worthing, and it didn’t take them long to continue their sensational goalscoring streak.
Cronin rose highest to meet Steve Wales’ 20th minute corner and put the Blues ahead, but Healey saw an effort ruled out for offside just three minutes later.
As was to be the pattern for the remainder of the game, Harrow were quick to respond. Meite’s jinking run inside the area saw him beat three players and the goalkeeper before tapping the equaliser into an empty net, while Charles-Smith snatched the lead just before half-time with a close range shot off a parried ball.
But the Blues were again first on the scoresheet after the restart when Healey poked home Tanasheh Williams’ dangerous cross.
Unperturbed, Harrow hit straight back three minutes later and Meite finished off a rapid counter-attack to put the hosts in front once again.
A foul in the box with 15 minutes remaining on Ahmet Rifat allowed Healey to complete his brace from the penalty spot, but Charles-Smith was on hand to gift Harrow a late lead with a well-taken goal just two minutes later.
As Wingate wondered what they needed to do to get a hold on the game, the pressure started to build on Harrow’s goal.
Tejan-Sie collected the ball just inside the box before drilling an equaliser past Keval Patel to send the travelling fans into raptures. A red card for Harrow’s Samuel Charles with two minutes left compounded Harrow’s misery and took the game to penalties, with 10 takers allowed for each side.
A masterclass in penalty taking saw each side score seven penalties in a row, but with Harrow requiring Francis Babalola to match Wingate’s eighth, the substitute smashed his shot against the bar and set up Wingate’s second round tie away at Staines Town.
Keith Rowland’s men have now won three games on the bounce, scoring 13 goals. With a tricky FA Cup Second Round tie coming up against Tonbridge Angels on Saturday, there comes no better time for the Blues to finally hit the form they’re capable of.
Wingate and Finchley: Gore (GK), Williams (Ifil, 71’), Sellers, Mbamarah, Cronin, Rifat (C), Wales (Beckles, 71’) Moncur, Healey (Laney, 80’), Tejan-Sie, Abrahams.
Unused Sub: Bartram
Patel (GK), Charles, Lomas (Webb, 18’), Peacock, Willment (C), Webb, Holland, McLeod (Nicholas, 63’), Charles-Smith, Meite, Newman (Babalola, 63’)
Unused Subs: Preddie, Driver
WingateTV: Billy Healey & Tommy Tejan Sie Post Harrow Borough: https://youtu.be/TGzYUbh-uhs