Wingate & Finchley moved up to third spot as they secured a 3-1 home win over London rivals, Harrow Borough, writes Nikhil Saglani.
The Blues began the affair strongly as Tommy Tejan-Sie’s pass down the left wing on three minutes sent Lee Barney into space, but the striker’s cross into the box evaded the onrushing Billy Healey by inches. The visitors hit the crossbar from a corner six minutes later, but Anthony Page was adjudged to have been offside before his flick hit the woodwork. However, it didn’t take long for the Boro to take the lead as Joshua Webb’s free-kick found its way to the back post, where Anthony Page’s half-volley was deflected past a helpless Seb Brown on 13 minutes.
Wingate responded well to the setback with Dan Brown, Kyle Watson, Tejan-Sie and Healey interchanging passes, before the latter’s pass into the box in the direction of Tejan-Sie was slightly over hit. Tarik Moore-Azille made his league debut for the Blues and almost found himself on the scoresheet, but Conor Hudnott was on hand to catch the debutant’s curling shot from outside the area on 18 minutes. Wingate piled on the pressure further and when Barney played the ball across the box towards the back post, the majority inside the Abrahams expected an equaliser, but goalscorer Taylor got back heroically to slide in front of Healey to clear for a corner.
Former Wingate player, Spencer McCall found himself in on goal after 33 minutes but blazed his right-footed shot onto Summers Lane after being closed down by Brown – reminding the Wingate faithful where his loyalties lay. McCall would come to rue this missed opportunity as, seven minutes later; it was third time lucky for Barney and Healey. Captain for the day, Ahmet Rifat headed the ball clear and Barney, played onside, laid the ball off to Healey, who took two touches before finding the bottom right hand corner of Hudnott’s net to level the tie at half time.
The second half began where the first left off, with the hosts in full control. On 52 minutes, Mark Goodman, Barney and Tejan-Sie exchanged passes before the ball was swept out wide to Rob Laney, who found Barney inside the box and, after a weak challenge, the ball fell to Alfie Bartram who slammed the ball across goal and into the bottom left hand corner to give Wingate the lead. Bartram continued to pull the strings in midfield and three minutes after the second goal, Wingate grabbed a third. Barney was played in on goal and shot across Hudnott but the goalkeeper could only parry the ball out to Healey, who tapped in his fourth goal in two games and his 17th of the season in all competitions.
Harrow made a triple substitution with just over 20 minutes remaining to try and get back into the game and went close on 67 minutes, but Page’s header landed on the roof of Brown’s net. Wingate midfielder, also named Brown, almost opened his Wingate account in spectacular fashion on 69 minutes but his venomous shot from 25 yards out struck Hudnott’s left hand post, with many inside the ground out of their seats ready to celebrate. The Barney Healey partnership nearly came to fruition again as Healey, reversing the roles, crossed to his strike partner, who could only place the ball wide from inside the six yard box, where it looked easier to score.
Martel Powell was brought on by Simon Lane and nearly scored his first goal for the club but his shot-cum-cross just evaded the back post with Hudnott left rooted to the six-yard line. Powell also had the game’s last meaningful chance but his effort from outside the area was caught comfortably by Hudnott. Harrow aimed to penetrate a solid Wingate back line in the latter stages but the hosts held on to beat their visitors by the same score line as last season, with then-manager David Norman watching on from the stands.
Wingate: S. Brown, Goodman, Watson, D. Brown, Moore-Azille, Rifat ©, Laney, Tejan-Sie, Healey (Powell 74), Bartram (Tison-Lascaris 84), Barney.
Unused substitutes: Rose, Sharpe, Metcalfe
Harrow: Hudnott, Josh Webb, Waldren, Taylor, Page, McCall, Bryan, McLeod (Jones, 67), Charles-Smith, Driver (Okenabirhie, 67), Joshua Webb (Cascoe, 67)
Unused substitutes: Barima, Peacock.
WingateTV interviews with Billy Healey, Alfie Bartram and Dan Brown: