WINGATEWEB Wingate and Finchley left Essex for the final time this season, without any points as they were beaten 1-0 by mid-table Billericay Town in a tight encounter, writes Paul Lerner.

Ryman Premier League
Billericay Town 1 Wingate & Finchley 0
Tuesday, 18 March, 2014

**UPDATED TABLE**

Both sides had chances but the physical home side had the poor pitch on their side, and won the game thanks to a spot kick on the hour mark.

Billericay started brightly with a host of early opportunities. A header by ex-Wingate defender Ryan Scott was comfortably held by Bobby Smith. A better chance followed in the fifth minute as a Geoff Mitchell volley was cleared off the line, and he soon sent another off target beyond the right post.

Billericay has all the early pressure, but general wayward crossing let Wingate off the hook. For Wingate Josh Kennet was released down the right wing and squared to Spencer McCall whose header was gathered by Billy Lumley. There were no other clear chances at either end in a lacklustre first half with little space afforded to either side on the pitch.

Pacey winger Evans Kouassi was causing problems on the Wingate flank, and after being moved to the left wing after half time, he showed great trickery before firing low across goal; the ball taking a slight deflection and ending up inches wide.

The swirling wind and horrific pitch were causing chaos as defenders at both ends misjudged the ball. Geoff Mitchell was gifted a chance on goal but hooked his volley wide.

On the hour mark came the decisive moment as Richard Halle scored a penalty after Ahmet Rifat was adjudged to have clambered over a breaking Billericay striker. Sending Bobby Smith the wrong way he found the bottom right corner.

Billericay’s Mitchell was sent free again after reading another rugby ball bounce well, but Bobby Smith smothered the striker with a superbly-timed block.

The pitch caused Ryan Scott to miss the ball at the other end. This time Adam Bolle collected it and lofted the ball over the onrushing keeper, but the covering right-back cleared the effort off the line.

Wingate pushed further forward and started to cause the home side problems. Tommy Tejan-Sie crossed to the far post after a half cleared corner but Rifat headed the ball over the bar. The best chance though came with five minutes remaining. Rifat cushioned a lofted Paul Wright ball into Bolle’s path but his diving header was straight at keeper Lumley.

The Blues visit basement Cray Wanderers on Sunday in a crucial match as they look to keep the gap with the chasing pack below them.

Wingtae & Finchley Lineup:
Smith, Wright, Street, Sharpe (Read 64), Weatherstone, Rifat, Kennet (McGonigle 80), McCall (Fredricks 74), Bolle, Sogbanmu, Tejan-Sie. Subs: Foley, Suddell.

Attendance:
183

Referee:
P Yates

**UPDATED TABLE**