Ryman Premier League:
Wingate & Finchley 3 Harrow Borough 1
Tuesday, 9 September, 2014
In a bizarre turn of events, history completely repeated itself as Wingate & Finchley took on Harrow Borough with the identical circumstances happening as the previous meeting between the sides.
Much like the recent match at Lewes, Wingate started on the front foot and completely dominated the opening spell. There were two early chances for debutant Carl McCluskey, one was cleared off the line and one he blazed over after being set up by Karl Oliyide’s low cross.
Harrow looked to hit Wingate with early long balls over the defence, and Wingate played the offside trap which worked more often than not. On one occasion though Marc Weatherstone had to make a last-ditch challenge to catch up with and deny Marc Charles-Smith.
Wingate did take the lead in the 19th minute. Nico Muir, brought in to the starting lineup, deftly flicked home a right-wing Ahmet Rifat cross which trickled in off the far post.
Shortly before the half-hour mark, Wingate were reduced to ten men for the fourth time this season, this time for another professional foul as Warren Carter was sent off in a collision after the Wingate defence had been caught flat. Steve Butterworth scored the penalty past the replacement goalkeeper Jack Metcalfe, who was brought on for the unfortunate Muir.
A quick Harrow counter-attack just moments later saw the ball fall to ex-Blue Spencer Bellotti arriving late, and his low shot somehow deflected off the covering defenders and behind for a corner.
Leon Fisher drilled a shot narrowly over as the half closed at a stalemate with both sides looking to regroup and assess the situation.
Another former Blue, Ola Williams, had the first shot after the break with a looping effort from the edge of the box which Jack Metcalfe pushed over the bar.
Harrow pushed forward in numbers thanks to the man advantage but Wingate were hard to break down and hit Harrow on the break. Leon Fisher led one counter-attack, and slipped in Karl Oliyide as David Knight had made one of his many decoy runs, but the winger’s first touch was heavy and the keeper closed him down so his attempted chip was blocked.
Rob Laney was introduced for a tiring Knight in the 65th minute, and scored having spent only four minutes on the pitch. The move was a beautiful and intricate one played down the left channel with Tommy Tejan-Sie and Ronayne Marsh-Brown exchanging initial passes. Oliyide was then fed in and the ball was passed on to Fisher inside the box. It was then chipped over by him to Laney who volleyed home from close range at the far post.
At the other end it was not to be Bellotti’s day as he raced on to a low through-ball but found his shot saved by the confident Metcalfe.
Harrow could not impose themselves despite needing to, and another substitute Scott Shulton then sealed the win with eight minutes remaining. Carl McCluskey was released down the right wing, and he twisted and turned inside for a 40-yard run. On running into trouble he found Scott Shulton who curled the ball home from the edge of the box into the top right corner.
David Norman said: “It was a really pleasing result after two defeats where we felt we should have taken some of the points in both games. It was a mirror image of Saturday’s game in terms of the player getting sent off, however the response from the players was immense. We showed that we can be very resilient however I felt we were always in control of the game even though we were down to ten men.
The quality within the squad proved decisive this evening as all substitutions contributed to the result of the game.”
Wingate & Finchley Line-up:
Carter, Goodman, Marsh-Brown, McCluskey, Weatherstone, Rifat, Knight (Laney 65), Tejan-Sie, Muir (Metcalfe 28), Fisher, Oliyide (Shulton 75). subs: Wright, Nielsen.