Despite making 11 changes from the side which beat Waltham Abbey 24 hours earlier, Wingate & Finchley trounced Broadfields in a stunning away performance, writes Nikhil Saglani.
It took only two minutes for Wingate to take the lead, with Michael Buckley’s ball over the top finding Meshach Williams, who finished with the outside of his foot into the bottom right corner off the inside of the post. Within a quarter of an hour it was 2-0, as goal scorer turned provider – Williams laid the ball off to Billy Healey to rifle home his ninth goal of the season on 14 minutes.
The strike force, playing together for the first time, continued to combine well together. Joe Sharpe founded Healey, who lobbed the ball to Williams but his shot across goal could only find the outside of the post. Two minutes later, Healey intercepted a back pass but his shot through the goalkeeper’s legs was blocked on the line. On 25 minutes, Sharpe’s cross was deflected onto the post and held by Nathan Dyos. On the half-time mark, Liam Bird’s free-kick was hit straight at Jack Metcalfe, who was relatively untested all night.
The second half began with chances for Kyle Watson and Sharpe. The goalkeeper saved Watson’s shot and Sharpe’s shot hit the bar, before Williams stabbed home – but he was alleged to be offside. However, it took only two minutes for Sharpe to get an assist when he crossed for Williams, who controlled the ball superb on his chest and volleyed into the bottom right corner to put Wingate 3-0 up.
Buckley continued to pull the strings from the middle of the park and his through ball into Josh Grantham, but the youngster could only fire wide of the right hand post. Sharpe was brought off for namesake Joe Killingback, but the latter could only fire wide of the left hand post from 25 yards.
Wingate were then denied what seemed to be a clear penalty on the hour mark, when Williams was pushed inside the area – referee Argen Babakhanlou waved away strong appeals immediately. Wingate then hit the post for the third time, Healey slid the ball across the face of goal but Williams’ sliding effort from a marauding run saw his deft touch hit the post and bounce away to safety. On 68 minutes, however, Williams completed his first hat-trick for the club with a thunderous effort from 12 yards out after Healey laid the ball on a plate for his striker partner.
Broadfields then came close with a rasping volley from outside the box courtesy of Jamie Moon’s right foot flying just wide of Metcalfe’s left hand post – although the goalkeeper will assure you he had it well covered. Wingate went up the other end from this chance and scored a fourth. Buckley sidestepped two defenders and played a well timed ball into Healey, who checked his man and fired into the bottom left hand corner for his second of the game on 68 minutes. Three minutes later, the referee was given a dilemma of what to do with the match ball as Healey volleyed home powerfully from a Williams cross to put Wingate 6-0 up, the pair’s efforts to impress manager Simon Lane before the big FA Cup tie on Saturday afternoon had gone to plan.
And if the woodwork had not had enough for the night, Williams struck the left hand post on 85 minutes after turning his defender well and stretching to make contact with the ball. 16-year-old substitute and debutant, Cameron Lyttle, then almost had a dream start to life in the blue of Wingate – but his sliding effort was well blocked by the legs of Dyos. However, Lyttle was brought down in the box three minutes later and despite calls for the young man to take the spot kick, Healey stepped up and scored his fourth of the night – despite the goalkeeper getting fingers to the penalty.
In the 91st minute Healey wrapped up a comfortable afternoon as he fired home a Williams cross with great aplomb. The game finished 8-0 to Wingate & Finchley, who hit the woodwork five times and defending resolutely for a seventh clean sheet of the season.
Wingate & Finchley:
Metcalfe, Stevenson (Anderson, 37), Watson, Buckley ©, Rose, Rowe, Sharpe (Killingback, 60), Powell, Healey, Grantham (Lyttle, 71), Williams.
Unused substitutes: Zakkour, Jones.
Dyos, Horam, Leslie, Ward, O’Neill, Henley, Leslie ©, Figueredo, White, Walker, Wright.