Ryman League Premier Division:
Wingate & Finchley 1 Hornchurch 0
Saturday, 30 August, 2014
Last season’s play-off contenders Hornchurch are known for their physical and direct approach and this game was no different in a game which featured nine bookings and saw two Wingate players forced off with injury.
Hornchurch started the better side with a high tempo and created three half-chances. However, they were made to pay for not scoring as Wingate took the lead in the 18th minute. Tommy Tejan-Sie played the ball up to Karl Oliyidi on the left side of the area and whilst riding a foul, he lobbed a stranded goalkeeper from the edge of the box.
The game was open at this stage, and Hornchurch’s Bourne found the side netting, and back at the the other end Leon Fisher found Tejan-Sie whose low drive was blocked at the bottom corner by the keeper.
Alex Bentley then sent a deep cross to Junior Luke who had a header from point-blank range which Bobby Smith turned behind. This was the turning point as Hornchurch became disjointed with Wingate dealing with the aerial threat well.
After the break Frankie Curley sent a weak effort over the bar. Hornchurch went closer when George Purcell hit the target with a volley but the power was lacking and Bobby Smith gathered.
Oliyidi had been taken off for receiving a knock, and on the hour mark Ahmet Rifat was brought on for the injured Laney and made an immediate impact. Scott Shulton fed in Rifat, and his near post shot was flicked wide. From the resulting corner Rifat won the header and it was cleared off the line. David Knight hit the crossbar moments later with another header. Kieron Street was on hand to make a last-ditch block inside the box as Wingate continued to keep Hornchurch at bay.
Rifat then could have sealed the win in the 89th minute as he danced through the defence but pulled his shot wide of the left post, perhaps caught in two minds with Fisher in space waiting for a pass.
In the dying moments Hornchurch’s Tom Davis nearly equalised with an incredible dipping volley that flicked wide off a defender and Wingate held on for the points that lifts then into third place.
Wingate & Finchley Line-up:
Smith, Goodman, Marsh-Brown, Lake, Weatherstone, Street, Knight, Tejan-Sie (Kaloczi 84), Laney (Rifat 60), Oliyide (Shulton 41). Subs Wright, Muir.