Ryman League Premier Division:
Wingate & Finchley 3 Witham Town 2
Saturday, 17 January, 2015
The hosts got off to a good start when David Knight, Scott Shulton and Rob Laney combined but the former was brought down on the edge of the box. Knight stepped up himself but the free-kick hit the wall. However, it fell to Shulton on the edge of the six yard box and he slammed home the opener with just seven minutes gone.
Karl Oliyide had two consecutive shots blocked and then cleared as Wingate piled the pressure on struggling Witham. Mark Goodman was running up and down the Wingate right hand side with ease and it was on 20 minute that this paid dividends. His cross evaded everyone inside the box, struck the back post and crossed the line to double to hosts’ lead, much to the surprise of everyone inside the Abrahams Stadium.
He was the man behind the next good chance for the home side, too, cutting in from the right and striking a fierce left footed shot at goal in the 25th minute, however this time Witham goalkeeper Martin Guest was on hand to save.
The next chance once again fell to Wingate. Ronayne Marsh-Brown crossed to Laney on the penalty spot, he spun and struck a left-footed volley towards goal – but Guest managed to parry away from goal; proving to be the thorn in Wingate’s side.
His opposite number, Bobby Smith, was able to catch three simple shots; the first from Ryan Blackman, the second from Lewis Godbold and the latter from left-back Kane Farrell.
Witham’s lack of ruthlessness up front cost them as Knight, Marsh-Brown and Karl Oliyide combined beautifully, the latter laying the ball on a plate to Laney to toe poke home a third for Wingate on the stroke of half time.
Witham came out all guns blazing in the second half and Jamie Guy headed just wide with less than a minute on the clock after the break. Their resilience paid off on 61 minutes when a mix up between Smith in goal and left-back Marsh Brown caused the ball to bounce off the post, hit Smith’s head and find the back of the net.
Smith was able to make up for his mistake with a fine save from a low Tom Wraight free-kick. However, another Smith error allowed substitute Luke Callander to get a shot on goal, yet he was thwarted well by Smith – once again atoning for his error.
However, Smith had no chance of stopping Witham’s second goal. On 79 minutes, Lewis Dark crossed the ball in from the right and Godbold was on hand to header home well to reduce the visitors’ deficit to just one.
Wingate substitute Gavin Suddell had a chance to restore the two goal lead a minute later but shot straight at Guest after going one on one with the visitors’ keeper. Suddell had another chance on 84 minutes when he cut in, beat two men and shot, but was well thwarted by Guest.
In added time, Witham went within inches of equalising but Jamie Guy’s outstretched leg was just short of Farrell’s square ball; and the ball rolled away to safety, ensuring a third win for the hosts after the turn of the year.
Wingate & Finchley:
Smith, Goodman, Marsh-Brown, Lake, Weatherstone, Hewitt, Knight, Graham, Laney, Shulton (Suddell 54), Oliyide (Wright 58). Unused subs: Read, King, Nielsen.