Ryman League Premier Division:
Leiston 0 Wingate & Finchley 2
Tuesday, 22 April, 2014
The first half was a cagey affair, with Wingate the more determined side but they struggled to create chances in the windy conditions with a poor pitch. For Leiston, Joe Francis had a break down the left wing but his shot was blocked by Bobby Smith who charged out well.
Wingate had a succession of free-kicks and corners, but Leiston defended them well. That was until Ahmet Rifat scored five minutes before the break. The forward reacted quickest after Tommy Tejan-Sie’s volley from the edge of the area was deflected off a defender, to poke home from six yards.
In the second half Francis fired another shot which Smith parried, and Emmanuel Osei found the side netting under pressure from the rebound.
This half was more open as Leiston now had nothing to lose by playing a more attacking style, and for the visitors Rifat and Spencer McCall both volleyed over the bar from difficult chances.
The enternal-threat Francis curled a free-kick into the side netting from 30 yards, reminding Wingate just how precarious their slender lead was.
A crucial moment came with a few minutes remaining, as Leiston’s Patrick Brothers went off injured with three subs already made.
Wingate made the most of the man advantage by scoring a counter-attacking goal in injury tjme. Tejan-Sie and Rifat both had shots blocked by desperate defenders, before Leon Fisher was on hand to finally find a gap and rifle the ball home.
The win means the survival race goes in to the final day, this Saturday, when Billericay visit Summers Lane. Wingate know they must either better East Thurrock’s result, or win and hope that Enfield Town lose, in order to avoid the drop back to Division One.
Wingate & Finchley Lineup:
Smith, Aisien, Wright, Sogbanmu, Weatherstone, Street, McCall (McGonigle 87), Kennet (Fisher 80), Shulton, Rifat, Tejan-Sie. Subs: Smith D, Bolle, hart.