Ryman Premier League
Grays Athletic 2 Wingate & Finchley 0
Wednesday, 5 March, 2014
The injury-hit side were forced into a late change before kick-off as Kieron Street had to be removed from the lineup, further disrupting a defence already missing Ahmet Rifat and Bobby Aisien.
Wingate invited early Grays pressure, but quickly broke on a counter-attack and Ola Sogbanmu fired narrowly over the bar with the best early chance.
However, the home side took the lead in the 15th minute. Grays worked a short corner, and a high ball was floated in to the far post. The ball was eventually turned home after a quick scramble by Ruddock Yala as the Wingate defence failed to clear the ball.
A second goal followed soon afterwards, as Danny Bunch doubled the home side’s lead in the 23rd minute, volleying home sweetly after a quick break down the right wing by Joao Carlos.
Adam Bolle sent a floating header narrowly wide of the far post but Wingate struggled to threaten in the first half. It was Grays who continued to create the better openings in the first half, and Joel Nomble fired straight at Bobby Smith whilst slipping, before the keeper went one better making a double-save, as Joao Carlos appeared certain to knock in a rebound.
A low drive from Sogbanmu was comfortably blocked by the solid goalkeeper, before Spencer McCall drilled a free kick narrowly wide. He later fired another set piece over the cross bar, and although Wingate pressured more in the second half, they rarely tested George Kamurasi in goal.
Marc Weatherstone denied a certain goal as he raced back 50 yard to make a last ditch block, and the home side went close as Chris Benjamin sliced an effort wide late on.
Next up for the Blues is an equally crucial visit into Essex again to face East Thurrock on Saturday.
Wingate & Finchley Line-up:
Smith, Williams (Foley 46), Wright, Sogbanmu, Weatherstone, Sharpe (Fredericks 68), kennett, mccall, bolle, olondo (Read 74), Tejan-Sie. Sub: Nielsen