Wingate and Finchley’s FA Cup run began with a sprint as they secured a comfortable 4-0 away win 70 miles north of London at United Counties League Division One’s Long Buckby AFC, writes Andy Gerlis.
The Emirates FA Cup – First Round Qualifying:
Long Buckby AFC 0 Wingate & Finchley 4
Saturday, 12 September, 2015
At 71 places this was the largest gap between two sides playing in the 1st Qualifying round of the FA Cup but, having beaten higher league opposition in all three of their cup games this season, Buckby are a tough team who are not to be underestimated.
Wingate started the game well, Rob Laney finding enough space to catch Martell Powell’s corner on the volley at the back post after just two minutes but he was only able to find goalkeeper Olly Manuel’s gloves. Wingate did well to keep Buckby cornered in the final third of the pitch and six minutes in, after some ping-pong headers between defence and midfield, Wingate’s Karl Oliyide found himself 20 yards out with his back to goal and enough time to control the ball on his chest before hooking a volley on the turn that sailed over the keeper and planted itself in the top right hand corner – a goal that wouldn’t look out of place on the world stage, let alone the Station Road turf.
Though the pitch slowed the ball somewhat, Wingate’s playing speed was not hampered. Quick passing and quick feet was the mantra, Tommy Tejan-Sie skinning Ashley Knights on the wing before lifting a ball in to the area which striker Billy Healey met to nod in at the back post and double Wingate’s tally after just 10 minutes.
Tejan-Sie continued to direct the play from midfield with Buckby unable to handle the speed at which he, Powell and Oliyide moved the ball between each other. Seven minutes after Healey’s goal, a ball from Tejan-Sie to Oliyide allowed the midfielder to power in to the box before pulling back a pass to Laney, the striker’s left-footed shot from the edge of the area skimming just wide.
It was Oliyide and Powell linking up again after half an hour, playing six short passes between each other and around the defence before the latter rolled the ball to Healey with his back to goal on the edge of the box. Without taking a touch the striker spun and hit the ball first time but could only watch as it floated inches over the bar. With 45 minutes gone Wingate goalkeeper Jack Metcalfe, looking for a second consecutive clean sheet, had remained completely untested with his voice being used more than his gloves throughout the first half.
As the second half progressed it was clear to see that Buckby were trying to ensure Wingate couldn’t settle on the ball, their players closing down quickly resulting in a few rash challenges. The Blues’ quick play didn’t ease up however, and Oliyide and Healey exchanged one-touch passes before the striker tapped a ball over the top to Laney, his cross agonisingly evading the blue shirts in the box. Manny Salumi broke away with the ball and launched a counter-attack, feeding the ball into Stefan Jones who broke in to the box before shooting over – a stark reminder that with half an hour still to play Buckby were by no means out of the game.
Wingate took this as a wake-up call, Metcalfe’s resulting goalkick finding Leon Solomon who drove deep into Long Buckby’s half before rolling the ball through their defence for Tejan-Sie to run on to, drilling his shot under the keeper and in to the bottom right corner of the net for the third goal of the game. Ricky Barby tried to change Buckby’s fortunes, screaming for the ball on the wing before cutting inside and finding the club’s top scorer Ed Kostiuck free inside the box, Metcalfe happy to see the resulting shot flash across the face of his goal.
Wingate’s captain and centre back Marc Weatherstone came close to netting his second goal in as many games after 72 minutes but he couldn’t direct Tejan-Sie’s driven corner goalwards. More slick interplay between Oliyide and Powell lead to the winger using his heel to flick the ball over the defence but Healey’s shot was met by a strong Manuel hand. The Buckby defence failed to clear the ball however, and Healey’s striker’s instinct kicked in to pounce on a loose pass and loop a first-time shot over the keeper and in to the net from the edge of the area with 12 minutes left on the clock.
An 83rd minute Kyle Watson handball on the edge of the area gave Buckby a late glimmer of hope, but Callum Yeates could only put his free-kick over the bar. Cruising to victory, current Ryman Premier League Manager of the Month Simon Lane brought on youngsters Josh Grantham and Hakim Nyoriki for their first team debuts. Though there was little time for either to make a real impact on the game, the promotion of youth to the first team is great sight to see and bodes well for a promising future for the club.
Overall it was a comfortable win for Wingate and Finchley – another clean sheet and a great result to continue their sensational start to the season. It may be a bit early to start booking tickets to Wembley, but if this performance is anything to go by then Wingate can look forward to a strong run in the FA Cup.
Interviews with Jack Metcalfe and Hakim Nyoriki:
Long Buckby AFC:
Olly Manuel, Ashley Knights, Stefan Jones, Michael Yeates (c), Ben Wilson, Simon Barby, Ricky Barby, Andy Yeates, Ed Kostuik (Ryan Merry 72) Manni Salumi, Callum Yeates
Unused subs: Ashley Dutton, Amadems Clements, Derek Feyi, Emmaul Collins, Matt Jones
Wingate & Finchley:
Jack Metcalfe, Mark Goodman, Marc Weatherstone, Brad Hewitt, Kyle Watson, Leon Solomon, Tommy Tejan-Sie (Hakim Nyoriki 90) Martel Powell, Karl Oliyide (Josh Grantham 87), Billy Healey, Rob Laney (Meshach Williams 79).
Unused: Ola Sogbanmu, Danny Hart