Wingate & Finchley got back to winning ways as they deservedly won at a rain-soaked Imber Court, writes Khalid Karimullah.
After both sides struggled to get to grips with the slippery surface, the hosts had the first chance of the game. After Joe Turner played Jon Nurse down their right channel, he cut the ball back to Adam Cash on the edge of the box, who curled his effort just over the bar.
It was Wingate however who took the lead after seven minutes when some lovely intricate play was contrived in midfield before Karl Oliyide made space for himself down the right flank, prior to putting in a low and accurate cross into the feet of Billy Healey, whose first touch allowed him to protect the ball before he passed it into Ola Sogbanmu, who half-volleyed his attempt past Craig King in goal.
Met Police looked to respond through Nikki Ahamed, who curled his effort towards the bottom corner, but Bobby Smith was equal to his effort getting down low to his right to palm the ball away. The ball though fell kindly back to Cash, whose 18-yard effort went just wide of the post. Just moments later after possession was won in midfield, Tommy Tejan-Sie picked out Oliyide with a stunning pinged ball over the defence, whose brilliance came to fruition once again, as his first touch allowed him to get away from Rob Bartley, before he placed his effort past King into the far corner after just 12 minutes played.
The visitors remained resolute in their defending and looked in full control, as Tejan-Sie was taken down 25 yards from goal. Michael Buckley took the responsibility to attempt a free-kick, and almost beat King after his inside of the foot effort had to be palmed away by the stretched keeper. Then, after Martel Powell played Tejan-Sie down the right side, he floated in a cross which the on-rushing Oliyide attempted to side-foot an effort past the keeper, but he was off balance as the ball went high over the bar.
Simon Lane’s men looked meticulous in their attack, and Buckley came close again, after from a corner, the ball was cleared out to him just inside the box and as he looked for the bottom corner with a curling effort, his attempt ricocheted off players before going inches past the post with King beat. Just before half time, Ahamed finding himself with time and space, whipped in a deep cross towards the back post for Turner to rise up high and head the ball downwards, which forced Smith to get down low to his right to palm away his bouncing header.
At the start of the second half the rain continued to come into proceedings, before from a free-kick, Charlie Collins floated in a cross which bobbled in amongst players, before Bartley turned and shot which Smith again kept out with a good reaction save. Minutes later, Buckley continued his impressive form winning a challenge in midfield, before finding the feet of Oliyide whose first touch allowed him to get past Louis John, before attempting for his second and Wingate’s third of the game, but could only put his effort wide.
Former Wingate & Finchley defender Ronayne Marsh-Brown was then introduced into the foray, and he almost had an immediate impact floating in a dangerous cross which Jon Nurse could only head over, before Tejan-Sie pinged a picture-perfect cross field ball out to Oliyide, who left his defender trailing, but his attempted cross was cleared for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, the ball came out to Powell on the edge of the box who found Healey making a diagonal run, and his consequent curling effort towards the far corner came back off the post with King beat, which allowed substitute Rob Laney to smash in the rebound on 78 minutes.
With the game entering its final minutes, Met Police continued to search for a way back into the game. That came after, in wet conditions, Smith struggled to get contact on the ball from a corner, which allowed Reece Yorke to pull a goal back as he powered the ball into the far corner. Wingate now play host to Tonbridge Angels at the Harry Abrahams Stadium on Saturday.
WingateTV interviews with Marc Weatherstone, Ola Sogbanmu and ex-Blue Ronayne Marsh-Brown: