WINGATEWEBWingate & Finchley’s FA Cup dream is over as they fell to an impressive Havant & Waterlooville side, writes Nikhil Saglani.

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round:
Wingate & Finchley 0 Havant & Waterlooville 2
Saturday, 12 October, 2014

TABLE
FIXTURES & RESULTS

After a successful 3-0 away win at Hitchin Town in the second qualifying round, Wingate & Finchley were back on home soil and were faced with a tricky tie.

Dan Nielsen made two changes to the side that lost 3-0 away to table toppers Maidstone United the previous week but the home side got off to the worst possible start. After only three minutes, a long ball was played over the Wingate defence but onrushing goalkeeper, Bobby Smith, mistimed his header and Havant striker Bradley Bubb tapped in to an empty net to put the visitors one up early on.

However, the hosts responded well and saw two chances fly over the crossbar in quick succession from Carl McCluskey and Rob Laney. Havant were enjoying a lot of the ball and were creating chances galore down Wingate’s left hand side, none paying dividends thanks to excellent last ditch clearances. The home side’s defence, in particular centre back Ahmet Rifat, were dealing with everything being thrown at them and were slowly growing into the game. On 22 minutes, David Knight got onto the end of a cross from Leon Fisher but could only head into the arms of the goalkeeper. On the half-hour mark, Havant’s Josh Huggins took on left-back Ronayne Marsh-Brown but arrowed his shot over the bar – one of several chances he was able to create.

Four minutes from half-time, Leon Fisher played a perfectly weighted ball through to Rob Laney – who only managed to send his shot into the stands behind the goal, another chance that Wingate had wasted in the first half. Neither side had had the better of the chances, with Bubb engineering several opportunities for the visitors. Havant had a goal-bound effort headed off the line by Marc Weatherstone as they went in search of a second goal but ended the half only one goal to the good.

The hosts started the second half on the front foot as Karl Oliyide’s tremendous run resulted in a corner after David Knight’s resulting shot was deflected wide. Six minutes later, another good passing move between Carl McCluskey, Oliyide and Rob Laney was once again cleared away for a corner. From the resulting corner, Leon Fisher’s shot hit the arms of Warren Cummings but penalty appeals were correctly waved away by referee Carl Brook. Wingate were enjoying much more of the ball but had still failed to take any of the several chances created.

On the hour mark, they were forced to pay for their mistakes as Bubb was slipped in again and doubled the visitors’ advantage and Havant had one foot in the fourth qualifying round. Wingate responded well to going two behind and chances from substitute Ola Sogbanmu and David Knight came close. Off a resulting corner, Rifat ripped a shot from 25 yards out and was only denied by an incredible save from a fully stretched Ryan Young.

The home side were now trying to edge their way back into the game and right-back Mark Goodman was bursting up and down the flank. This almost paid off when his low cross was cleared off the toes of striker Rob Laney. With three minutes of injury time to go, the visitors were playing keep ball and running the clock down and as thunder was heard above the Harry Abrahams Stadium, the clouds also descended upon Wingate’s FA Cup run for another year. It was a brave, noble performance from the hosts but Havant were clinical in front of goal and progress to the fourth qualifying round in two weeks time.

Wingate & Finchley Lineup:
Smith, Goodman, Marsh-Brown (Street 75), Fisher (Muir 75), Weatherstone, Rifat, Oliyide (Sogbanmu 55), McCluskey, Knight, Laney, Tejan-Sie. Subs: Wright, Metcalfe, Sharpe, Nielsen.

Referee:
C Brook

Attendance:
292