Wingate and Finchley ended a run of seven games without a win when as they comfortably beat Brentwood Town 1-0 at The Arena on Tuesday night, writes Andy Gerlis.
Ryman League Premier Division:
Brentwood Town 0 Wingate & Finchley 1
Tuesday, 22 March, 2016
Leon Fisher, who began this season playing for the home side before moving to Harlow Town and eventually resigning for Wingate in February, scored the only goal of the game just minutes before half-time.
Wingate’s draw against Leatherhead on Saturday means Keith Rowland’s men are unbeaten in two games and this upturn in form was foreshadowed by strong performances in the games preceding. The win sees Wingate climb to 11th in the league, just two points below 10th placed Grays Athletic.
Brentwood Town, who currently sit two places from bottom, were on the back foot from the outset and Marc Weatherstone could have put the visitors ahead inside two minutes, but his back post volley was blocked on the line. Goalkeeper Ollie Bowles was bailed out by his defence once again ten minutes later when Karl Oliyide’s chip was hacked away from the goal line by debutant Simon Glover.
Despite Wingate’s dominance the score remained in the balance and stand-in goalkeeper Charlie Crowley had to be alert to block Shad Ngandu’s shot at his near post. Ola Sogbanmu and Rob Laney both threatened the Brentwood goal, but neither could properly test Bowles.
Town had their best chance of the game with half an hour gone when Ngandu was played through by Alex Teniola, but Crowley narrowed the angle and the striker could only fire over the bar. Oliyide saw a volley from the edge of the area blocked as it looked to be creeping in, but Wingate’s pressure was about to pay off. nTommy Cummings’ inch-perfect cross was knocked back across goal for Fisher to head past Bowles and put the Blues 1-0 up four minutes from half time. Ryan O’Rawe headed just over the bar for the hosts and Fisher came close with a free-kick, but the Blues took a slender lead into the break.
And the excitement levels of the second half were all used up within the first two minutes. Weatherstone’s header was excellently flicked off the line by Bowles who recovered to save a volley from the resulting corner as the Blues picked up where they left off.
But with three points being vital at this stage of the season the visitors were happy to slow the game down and search for a way through a tough Brentwood defence. Robbie Rees spun away from Oliyide and fired a pass across the six-yard box, but with a Brentwood attack coming as such a rarity nobody was there to anticipate it.
Jack Read, on as a substitute, nearly got his name on the scoresheet in the last ten minutes but was just a step behind Alfie Bartram’s low cross. Wingate held their nerve, however, riding out as 1-0 winners from a game in which Crowley’s goal was never seriously threatened. The Blues will now look to carry this winning mentality into Saturday’s game at bottom-placed Lewes, ahead of a crunch tie at home to rivals Hendon on Monday.
Bowles, Gordon, Cross, Glover, O’Rawe, Witherspoon (Milner 79), Ngandu, Hahn, Teniola, Rees (C), Freeman
Unused Substitutes: Elbi, Banton, Nobbs, Watson
Wingate and Finchley: Crowley, Goodman, Cummings, Rifat, Weatherstone (C), Fisher, Addai (Stevenson 82), Sogbanmu (Bartram 61) Healey (Read 64)
Unused Substitutes: Laney, Oliyide
WingateTV: Tommy Cummings & Rob Laney Post Brentwood Town: