WINGATEWEBA goalless game of cat-and-mouse football was played between Wingate and Leatherhead on a chilly afternoon at the Harry Abrahams Stadium, writes Khalid Karimullah.

Ryman League Premier Division:
Wingate & Finchley 0 Leatherhead 0
Saturday, 22 February, 2015

TABLE
FIXTURES & RESULTS

The Blues almost went ahead after just two minutes when Rob Laney ran onto a pass from Mark Goodman after a quick break from Wingate and although he took it round the keeper, the striker just couldn’t get a shot on target.
Just minutes later, Wingate came agonizingly close after Tommy Tejan-Sie delivered a teasing cross into the box from Wingate’s left side; with Scott Shulton’s stretching attempt having beat the keeper, Joe Bruce was there for Leatherhead to clear the ball off the line.

The visitors had their first shot on target after Josh Gallagher found himself in space, 18 yards from goal, but his attempt was easily saved by Bobby Smith. Moments later, some nice intricate passing down Wingate’s left side between Ronayne Marsh-Brown, Ola Sogbanmu, and David Knight allowed Shulton to get free in space just outside the area, but his effort was blocked.

Leatherhead, remaining resilient at the back, almost found themselves in the lead after Kiernan Hughes-Mason found Mark Nwokeji in the area, but his low drive was cleared for a corner. The danger wasn’t cleared however, as from the resulting ball in to the box, Vasileios Karagiannis with time somehow hit his shot inches wide. Afterwards, Laney running onto a skilful back flick by Knight hit his 25 yard effort high and wide. Half-time had come at the right time for both sides.

Wingate again started the brightest after Sogbanmu went on a powerful run beating his defender, and cut inside from the right channel, but he could only drag his shot wide.

Minutes later, the home side almost went ahead after a corner coming in from the right found Knight in space, who unselfishly passed to Laney, but the forward couldn’t connect properly after a soft shot. A resulting half clearance though gave Sogbanmu an opportunity from 6 yards, who hit a powerful shot which was going in, but Louis Wells was equal to his effort with an incredible close range save.

At the other end, after Hughes-Mason had won a free kick, the forward himself stepped up to take it and with the ball dipping into the far corner, Smith had to be at full stretch to deny a goal coming against the run of play. The keeper again was kept busy moments later after Hughes-Mason’s pass came to Richard Avery who hit a low fierce shot, with Smith again doing well.

Then, substitute Karl Oliyide’s shot went wide from 18 yards, before for Leatherhead, Karagiannis hit his half volley high and over from inside the penalty area after a good chested control and turn. With the game entering its final minutes, Knight forced Wells into making a fine save down low to his left before the home side’s fans were left wondering how their team did not score.

With Oliyide’s initial curling shot being saved by Wells, Laney latched onto the loose ball and after his shot was blocked, Read, seconds after coming on almost scored with his first touch of the ball, but his effort was cleared off the line. Somehow, Wingate just couldn’t find a breakthrough.

Wingate captain, Marc Weatherstone said, ”It was quite disappointing. We had a great defensive shape but it was one of those games where it didn’t go for us going forward. I feel its two points dropped rather than a point gained, but it was another clean sheet and we bounced back from Wednesday night.” Left back, Ronanyne Marsh-Brown shared his captain’s sentiment.

Wingate Line-Up:
Bobby Smith​, Mark Goodman​, Ronayne Marsh-Brown​, Stuart Lake, Marc Weatherstone (c), Ahmet Rifat​, David Knight, Tommy Tejan-Sie​, Rob Laney (Jack Read 80), Ola Sogbanmu​​, Scott Shulton (Karl Oliyide 69)

Subs:
Karl Oliyide, Jack Read​​, Joe Sharpe​​, Richard Graham​​, Gavin Suddell ​​

Referee:
Kieran Bailey

Attendance:
132