Ryman Premier League
East Thurrock 0 Wingate & Finchley 1
Saturday, 8 March, 2014
It was a perfect away performance as the Blues stifled the midfield, thanks to debutant Dean Smith alongside McCall and Tejan-Sie, and played effectively on the counter-attack scoring the winning goal midway through the second half via excellent play by Adam Bolle and Josh Kennett.
Both goalkeepers produced miracle saves early on. When Sam Higgins broke clear from the halfway line he had all the time that he wanted, but Bobby Smith closed him down well to block the shot.
For Wingate, Kennett broke down the right wing and squared to Spencer McCall who arrived late in the box. His left-footed shot was parried and Kennett’s rebound was tipped wide. The resulting corner fell to Ahmet Rifat beyond the far post but his volley was also tipped wide by the well-positioned keeper.
However, the best chance followed soon afterwards with a fantastic one-on-one opportunity. Outside the box McCall turned the ball through for Bolle who timed his run well, and he closed in on the keeper but poked his shot narrowly wide of the right post.
East Thurrock began to regroup after this rocky patch, and the hosts had a swinging free-kick which was headed wide with a free header. Back at the other end debutant Chris Watters delivered a corner which Rifat headed narrowly over the bar.
Jon Coventry gave his East Thurrock side big telling-off at the break and they came out invigorated for the second half. They dominated possession but failed to break through a determined and organised Wingate defence, marshalled by the centre back pairing of Rifat and Weatherstone. The Blues looked to catch the home side out, and executed this perfectly midway through the half. Bolle held the ball strongly inside the box, and he squared it low to Kennett who cut inside and curled the ball beyond the keeper into the bottom right corner.
The second half continued with East Thurrock pressing to no avail. Neil Richmond sent a near post flicked shot goalwards which was tipped onto the post by Bobby Smith. He then saw a header parried over the bar by the assured goalkeeper. The home side were desperate and sent a few wayward efforts comfortably off target, as their relegation worries increased with this defeat.
Striker Adam Bolle said “We worked hard as a team and defended really well, keeping a clean sheet was important for us. Dean Smith came in which may have been a blessing in disguise [after Steve Clarke was injured in the warm-up], he competed well in the middle.”
Speaking on the assist for Josh Kennett’s goal: “We’ve linked up like that many times and it was great that it has led to a decisive goal today.”
Wingate & Finchley Line-up:
Bobby Smith, Aisien, Wright, Dean Smith (Olondo 86), Weatherstone, Rifat, Kennett (Read 89), McCall, Bolle, Tejan-Sie, Watters (Hart 61). Subs: Norman, Sharpe.