Ryman Premier League
Wingate & Finchley 3 Harrow Borough 1
Saturday, 1 March, 2014
With most of the relegation chasing pack picking up points this week, this was a true six-pointer and both sides were desperate for the win.
The Blues took the lead in only the ninth minute. Harrow had enjoyed early pressure with good possession, but a beautiful breakaway goal opened the scoring. Lewis Jones found Ahmet Rifat in the middle of the pitch, who fed the ball on to Tommy Tejan-Sie with a slide-rule pass. He bore down on the keeper and slotted calmly low beyond him.
Marc Weatherstone went close with a free header and Tommy Tejan-Sie volleyed narrowly wide as Wingate began to dominate, but the game changed drastically in the 20th minute when Bobby Aisien was sent off for a professional foul; Victor Osobu scoring the resulting penalty.
Harrow’s Oliver Hawkins sent a header inches wide from a deep corner. However, despite the man advantage Harrow found Wingate’s defence impossible to crack.
Jemal Fredericks was brought on seven minutes after the break after an injury to Lewis Jones. Incredibly he scored with his first touch, accurately heading home a deep left-wing Tejan-Sie cross back across goal inside the far post.
Harrow dominated possession through the half but again lacked creativity as Rifat and Weatherstone were assured in central defence. Steve Butterworth flicked a header from a vicious cross narrowly beyond the far post in one of their few threats.
Hardworking Adam Bolle, leading the line on his own since the red card, had a golden chance to seal the game for the Blues receiving a lofted pass inside the box. He cut in onto his right foot and shot across the keeper but James Shea parried the ball away at full stretch.
Adam Louth flashed a hopeful effort wide from 25 yards as Harrow became more desperate, but there was another critical moment in the 87th minute. Ex-Blue Spencer Bellotti had space inside the box but was denied by an incredible sliding tackle from Paul Wright.
The lead was eventually extended in injury time, again on a counter-attack. Ola Sogbanmu played a low through-ball to Jack Read who lobbed the stranded keeper with beautiful confident flick and victory was assured with the 3-1 scoreline.
Bellotti skimmed the top of the crossbar with a header in the dying moments as Wingate closed out the victory maintaining a comfortable cushion above the drop zone.
David Norman said “It was a fantastic team display – and it is very difficult to pull out exceptional performances between them all however Marc’s and Ahmet’s were superb.
“This extends the gap below us, and it is a good sign that we have competed with and gained many points from teams within the lower half of the table. Everyone at the club now must set a target of consolidation and build to be a force within the league.”
Wingate & Finchley Lineup:
Smith, Williams, Street (Wright 70), Tejan-Sie, Weatherstone, Aisien, Jones (Fredericks 52), Sogbanmu, Bolle (Read 80), Rifat, McCall. Subs: Morante, Olondo.