Wingate and Finchley launched themselves back into the play-off places with a fine 2-1 win at Met Police, though in truth the win could have been more comfortable as the scoreline flattered the hosts.
Ryman League Premier Division:
Met Police 1 Wingate & Finchley 2
Saturday, 7 March, 2015
With these three points the team have set a new club record, beating the 59 point tally set by the club at Step 3 in 2011/12.
The game took a while to get going as both sides played with organisation, though Wingate looked the more solid as they carried the most threat.
In the 21st minute Rob Laney was fouled 25 yards out, for a free-kick which led to the opening goal. David Knight delivered the set piece deep where Marc Weatherstone headed the ball back across goal, for Karl Oliyide to tap home unmarked at the far post.
Wingate had deserved the lead after a good start, but Met Police found their game and started to control possession with patient buildup play. Bradley Hudson-Odoi fired over from distance in a rare speculative chance for the hosts.
Oliyide was looking dangerous on both wings, and created an opportunity for Laney to cross deep to Knight whose header was on target but lacked power.
Laney was next to be set free as Wingate continued to carve out chances. He lobbed the stranded goalkeeper but Steve Sutherland covered to head the ball from off the line.
Met Police looked shakey after the break, and two minutes after the restart Ola Sogbanmu was given a golden chance. He was set clear, but shot early and his effort was straight at Stuart Searle.
Medlock had a similar one-on-one at the other end but was under heavy pressure from Weatherstone, and his shot did not trouble Bobby Smith.
Wingate were the side still creating openings, and Knight was released down the left wing and chipped the ball inside to Laney. He had a chance to shoot but took the goalkeeper out of play by pulling the ball back to Tommy Tejan-Sie, but his looping shot missed the open goal by inches.
Collins hit the outside of the post for Met Police with a long-range free-kick as they came close to making Wingate pay for not scoring a second goal.
However after so many chances, the second goal finally came midway through the second half. Laney this time found a gap in the defence down the left wing and crossed to Knight at the far post, who turned the ball home with composure for a strike into the right corner.
Wingate were deserving of a clean sheet, in particular because of the defensive display from Smith, Weatherstone and Ahmet Rifat, but with five minutes left Hudson-Odoi’s shot took a wicked deflection and the ball looped into the far corner of the net.
Wingate had the final golden chance of the match, through two substitutes. Scott Shulton broke free after interchange with Jack Read, and his shot from the edge of the area took a slight deflection and rolled inches wide of the far post.
Captain Marc Weatherstone said: “It was a great performance from the whole squad, and we showed great ‘bouncebackability’ from Tuesday night which was a one-off result. Met Police are no pushovers, so to come here and nick all three points is massive – it now pushes us into the playoff spaces and we must keep pushing on from here.
“I felt we were very positive from minute one, we did the right things in the right areas in a very experienced performance. We have shown the league that we deserve to be where we are at this stage with the season, and now we look forward to Billericay next week.”
Smith, Goodman, Marsh-Brown, Lake, Weatherstone, Rifat, Knight (Read 77), Tejan-Sie, Laney, Sogbanmu, Oliyide (Shulton 83). Subs: Sharpe, Suddell, Hewitt.