Wingate and Finchley fell to a 3-0 defeat on the pitch in a game where the turning point fell on a sending off in a game which the visitors dominated – however, Non League Day 2014 was about much more than that.
Ryman League Premier Division:
Lewes 3 Wingate & Finchley 0
Saturday, 6 September, 2014
The day started with a match between the two clubs’ respective disability sides, which ended in a thrilling 5-5 draw. With Sky cameras present, a half-time penalty competition, and a bumper boisterous crowd, the day was a resounding success.
The main event started with Wingate in total domination. Leon Fisher was released by a raking ball from David Knight. He crossed low through to Rob Laney but his first time effort flew over the bar. Karl Oliyide had the next effort, again receiving a ball from Fisher, and his accurate low effort was turned behind at the near post by Rikki Banks.
Wingate had signed Warren Carter on loan after an injury to Bobby Smith left the club with only one goalkeeper, and he was tested by Nicky Wheeler from 35 yards but the loanee goalkeeper comfortably held the shot. Jack Dixon curled a free-kick past the top left corner as Lewes huffed and puffed.
Both sides had a goal disallowed for considerable offsides, but controversy was about to arrive. Near the end of the first half came two borderline offences that had vast consequences on the match. David Knight was brought down inside the Lewes box as he was shooting, but the referee waived away the penalty claims. Then in similar circumstances Ronayne Marsh-Brown clipped Nathan Crabb as he was shooting beyond the far post, and this time a spot kick and red card were both awarded. Matt Dixon scored with a low penalty to the bottom right corner to put the hosts in a commanding position. At the other end Stuart Lake won a near-post flick on and the ball fell to James Kaloczi, but his header from close range went over the bar.
After the break Lake went close himself, set up by Fisher he had a low drive but it was diverted over the bar by Banks’ legs. Both sides struggled to create clear chances after the break – Wingate looked to have the better quality but found it difficult with a man disadvantage and suffered from making poor decisions in the final third when in promising positions. Crabb then scored the second for Lewes in the 75th minute with a flicked header from a floated left-wing Sam Cole chip.
Wingate should have hauled themselves back into the game with another glorious chance; Tommy Tejan-Sie crossed to the far post and Ahmet Rifat somehow headed back beyond the far post and wide from just three yards. He was made to pay as Blewden headed home from a deflected cross at the other end despite seemingly being in an offside position.
David Norman said after the game: “After a great start to the game it was bitterly disappointing to lose. One lapse in concentration not only led to us being 1-0 down but also we were down to ten men. We played excellent football but however did not take our chances – even with ten men we controlled the game however as we know, we were always suspect on the counter attack due to our deficit of players.
“The players are extremely disappointed however we will work hard to put things right.”
Wingate & Finchley Lineup:
Warren Carter, Goodman, Marsh-Brown, Lake, Weatherstone, Kaloczi, Knight, Tejan-Sie, Laney (Muir 73), Fisher (Rifat 76), Oliyidi (Wright 46). Subs: Mcluskey, Suddell.