WINGATEWEBTwo goals from debutante Billy Healey saw Wingate & Finchley get their League campaign off to a winning start at the Harry Abrahams Stadium, writes Khalid Karimullah.

Ryman Premier League
Wingate & Finchley 2 Brentwood Town 1
Saturday, 8 August, 2015

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It took only four minutes for the opening chance and goal to arrive. After some good possession play by Wingate, the ball found it’s way to the tireless Kyle Watson out on the left channel, who found himself with plenty of time to whip in an angled cross; with home debutant forward Healey making a diagonal run across the box, he guided a deft header into the far bottom corner past the stunned Martyn Guest.

After that, Wingate were relentless in their attack. First, captain for the day Leon Soloman’s cross fround Healey, who attempted to mimic his goal with another deft header, this time towards the opposite corner, but the ball went just wide. The dynamic Tommy Tejan-Sie then made his way past two players, before squaring the ball to Karl Oliyide, who from 12 yards had his effort deflected just past the post. Simon Lane’s side eventually got their second goal of the game on 16 minutes. After Martell Powell went on a surging run, he found Oliyide who made a good run, with the latter feeding the ball into the path of Healey, who made no mistake from twelve yards, when he cut back inside and powered home past the full stretched Guest diving low to his right.

Wingate continued playing champagne football, before against the run of play, a deep cross from the left by Brentwood Town’s Dave Collins, surprised Bobby Smith when the ball began to swerve towards the goal, but the keeper was equal to his effort making an acrobatic palming save. Almost a carbon-copy of the away sides previous effort was created, after Collins again whipped in a lovely cross, but this time it found the head of Tom Richardson who attempted to guide his header past Smith, but the keeper quickly got down to his right to make the save. Brentwood finally made their pressure count when on 37 minutes, a long throw-in for the guests caused confusion in the box and after the ball failed to be cleared sufficiently, Liam Hope controlled the ball on his chest, before angling a powerful strike into the far corner past Smith’s left. Wingate recovered well and after Ola Sogbamnu found Tejan-Sie just outside the box, he guided his left footed shot past the defender and with the keeper beat, the ball went agonizingly past the post.

The second half saw chances come thick and fast; first Sogbanmu with a great first touch made space for himself before finding Healey, 18 yards from goal, who turned brilliantly before attempting to place his shot past Guest, but the keeper held onto the ball well. Minutes later, after the ball made it’s way from defence to attack in an instant, Brentwood’s Mitch Hahn somehow controlled the ball bringing it down from over his head, before pinging his effort towards goal, forcing Smith to make a stunning reaction save. With Wingate pushing for a third, they left themselves open at the back and found themselves in a 3-on-2 situation. After Leon Gordon found himself with time and space down Brentwood’s right channel, he squared the ball into the box and with Hope and Robie Rees waiting to pounce, Soloman remained calm and made a fantastic clearance for the home side.

Down the other end, a heads in hands moment came after Michael Buckley won possession in midfield, before putting Oliyide through on goal and with only the keeper to beat, he somehow didn’t make his chance count after he took too long to get his shot away. Oliyide was again involved, but this time the provider; after getting away on the right flank he squared the ball across the face of goal, though no one was on hand to score what would have been a tap in, with Healey coming the closest to reaching the ball. Brentwood had a header which went inches over the bar from a corner, before substitute Meshach Willliams lobbed two defenders and looked to have been taken down inside the box, but his penalty appeal was waved away.

With the game drawing to a close, Oliyide controlled the ball on his chest before setting up Williams who volleyed a picture perfect effort astonishingly from 30 yards; it would have been an early goal of the season had the ball gone in, but Guest acrobatically held onto the ball. The last chance came for the away side, with the Ryman League new boys pushing for an equaliser, Hahn put Richardson through on goal and with just Smith to beat, he attempted an outside of the foot finish but his effort came back off the post with Smith at full stretch.

Goalscorer Billy Healey reflecting on the game, said: “It’s a big three points to kick the season off. For me Personally, It’s great to score two goals on my debut. I just came back from a holiday and wasn’t even expecting to start but I did and managed to get a couple of goals under my belt. The midfield did very well and the back four gelled really quickly over pre-season. I’m looking forward to Tuesday’s game at Hampton & Richmond and we’re hoping we can keep this winning form up. We’ve all been given individual targets and we’ve also got targets as a team, so everyone is motivated to hit those targets as quickly as we can.”