FA Cup Second Round Qualifying:
Hitchin Town 0 Wingate & Finchley 3
Saturday, 27 September, 2014
Wingate and Finchley advanced their furthest in FA Cup since 1999, with a convincing display to defeat Hitchin Town – high flyers in the Southern Premier League.
The home side came out and controlled early pressure, but were undone by a swift break in the 11th minute which changed the match. Leon Fisher fed the ball up to David Knight who scored with a delightful drive into the top right corner, the ball stinging the hands of the goalkeeper and bouncing in via the crossbar.
The lead should have been doubled when Karl Oliyide broke down the left wing and chipped the onrushing goalkeeper. The ball hit the bar and Nico Muir tried an overhead kick from the rebound, but also hit the bar as the Hitchin goal lived a charmed life.
The second goal did eventually come in the 28th minute. Oliyide was again released down the left wing as he outpaced his marker, and he squared inside to Nico Muir. The striker timed his run well and half-volleyed the ball home.
Hitchin were shocked, and again tried to hit back with some heavy pressure and a low shot from distance was held at his near post by Bobby Smith, whilst a McNamara header was tipped wide.
A superb third goal followed shortly before the break for the clinical Wingate. Ahmet Rifat played a series of one-twos to work his way up the pitch – Knight was then released on the right and rounded the goalkeeper. He clipped the ball in to the middle where Rifat pounced to head home from underneath the bar.
There was an early chance after the break for Hitchin but Smith again blocked on his right side from McNamara. The home side lost their momentum having failed to secure an early goal and a professional Wingate side saw out the remainder of the second half.
The Blues were highly effective on the break, and again Knight played in Muir. He twisted to make space but Walter made a last ditch block from the shot.
In a rare chance for Hitchin Webb had free header from distance but it went straight at Smith. However it was Wingate who created the best chances.
Knight had a free effort at the far post but was denied by another last ditch block, this time from Webb.
Bobby Smith made a diving stop from a distant looping header, and Wingate’s substitute Rob Laney was released by a simple through ball at the other end. He squared inside to Knight but his shot was blocked by the sub keeper.
Two more attacks followed late on, Ronayne Marsh-Brown crossed into Laney who acrobatically volleyed wide. Leon Fisher was next to test the replacement keeper with a low drive but he flicked it around the post. In the final moments Knight was pushed over inside the box but the referee decided not to give a penalty, saving Hitchin from a humiliating scoreline.
Director of Football David Norman said “I am extremely pleased with the professional display that the team showed today. Prior to the game I spoke to the players regarding their mental preparation, workrate and resilience that they needed to show. Hitchin have had an extremely good start to the season but all credit to our players – they have listened, followed instructions and executed the game plan perfectly.
Both Danny and myself worked very hard on Thursday with the squad looking at the shape of the team both in and out of possession, and they all took on board the information given. We have a very exciting squad of players which with continued hard work and desire will keep developing.
Over the last fortnight we have had several clubs from a higher level make enquiries about a number of our players. This encapsulates the hard work and desire to become the best they can as players. Both myself and Danny feel confident that players will ultimately progress and play at a higher level, however at this moment in time we feel they will remain Wingate players.”
Wingate & Finchley Line-up:
Smith, Goodman, Street, Fisher (Sogbanmu 80), Weatherstone, Rifat, Oliyide (Marsh-Brown 48), McCluskey, Muir (Laney 70), Tejan-Sie, Knight
Substitutes not used:
Lake, Wright, Suddell, Metcalf.