Wingate & Finchley suffered a shock defeat at the hands of relegation threatened neighbours Harrow Borough, losing 5-1 despite having opened the scoring.
Ryman League Premier Division:
Harrow Borough 5 Wingate & Finchley 1
Tuesday, 3 March, 2015
Wingate had started well, and in only the fifth minute David Knight ended his recent mini-goalscoring drought heading home from close-range after some head-tennis following a short corner.
However, Harrow Borough hit back immediately, scoring a header of their own to level the scores; Ben Long converted a left-wing cross powerfully off the underside of the bar.
The hectic start continued as the game was turned on its head in the tenth minute, when Lewis Driver was set free behind Wingate’s defence and lobbed a stranded Bobby Smith.
The match settled down from here as both sides tried to eliminate mistakes on a heavy and uneven pitch. For Wingate, Ahmet Rifat crossed after collecting a deep corner but Knight headed his effort wide of the near post.
The defining moment of the match came after half an hour when Mark Goodman committed a foul in the box, and Harrow were awarded a penalty with the right-back sent off. Mark Charles-Smith scored the resulting penalty shooting low down the middle.
Wingate had their fair share of possession with ten men, and looked as though a goal might come as Tommy Tejan-Sie and Rob Laney went close, however half-time came at a good point for Harrow who regrouped and then dominated the second half.
Bryan fired a firm drive over the bar from outside the area, then Charles-Smith went on a driving run and shot across goal but was denied by a superb diving save.
In the 70th minute David Taylor did finally score the fourth goal, as Harrow won the ball in midfield and broke with an extra man before the striker found some space to pick his spot into the top right corner. Bobby Smith again kept Charles-Smith at bay when he was free on goal, with the keeper patient and timing his challenge perfectly.
One of Wingate’s substitutes, Gavin Suddell, created the clearest chance of the half for the visitors when he crossed in towards Tommy Tejan-Sie but his low header lacked power. The fifth goal followed though in the 80th minute with a calm finish by Ryan Hope who sealed an excellent win for Harrow against their “bogey-side”.
Despite the result, striker Rob Laney was in his trademark positive mood with the play-offs still in sight. He said: “Defensively as a whole team we didn’t turn up tonight, and we didn’t make the keeper work enough when we did have our chances. I did think the red card was harsh, but once you go down to ten men it is always going to be an uphill struggle.
“To be fair to Harrow they took their chances clinically. We could have come back into the game many times at 3-1 but the fourth goal ended the game. In the second half Bobby made two great saves and did well to keep us in the game so long – at the other end I just didn’t feel the ball fell for us at the right times.
“The best thing now is to look forward to Met Police on Saturday – a win there can put us back in reaching distance of the playoffs because we are still not far behind.”
Smith, Goodman, Marsh-Brown, Lake (Hewitt 46), Weatherstone, Rifat, Knight, Tejan-Sie, Laney, Graham (Shulton 46), Oliyide. subs: Sharpe, Read.