Wingate & Finchley welcomed Dulwich Hamlet to the Harry Abrahams Stadium, hoping to bounce back from their midweek League Cup Semi-Final penalty shoot-out heartbreak, writes Khalid Karimullah.
Ryman League Premier Division:
Wingate & Finchley 1 Dulwich Hamlet 1
Saturday, 5 March, 2016
The game started end-to-end from the offset, as first Dulwich’s Nyren Clunis delivered in a fine ball forcing Ahmet Rifat to clear away the danger. Before at the other end, Alfie Bartram fired a long-range effort from near 25 yards which was well defended.
Bartram, Alex Addai, Freddie Moncur and Tommy Cummings then combined with a flowing move, prior to the latter’s cross finding Billy Healey whose header was well saved. Wingate’s Leon Fisher then curled a magnificent effort which would have gone in if it weren’t for the brilliance of Preston Edwards, who pulled off another fine save. With the atmosphere inside the ground being in full voice, Dulwich almost took a shock lead against the run of play. Dean McDonald fired a powerful drive which went inches past the upright, conceivably debutant Chris Haigh would have struggled to make a connection.
Haigh was needed to be at his best to deny McDonald from finding the far corner with a near post stop, before Ahmet Rifat and Cummings were both needed with last-ditch tackles to deny a free McDonald from having a one-on-one chance inside the area. Fisher ensured the hosts finished the half strong after making a telling run inside the area, before combining with Healey, whose deft touch won a corner. From the resulting set-piece, the formers deep ball to the far post was just placed wide by Ahmet Rifat. Minutes later, Addai and Mark Goodman interchanged on the right flank, before the latter’s ball arrived at Moncur, who’s near post effort was denied.
Just after the restart, Addai broke away past Jordan Hibbert, before his dangerous cross just evaded Healey at the near post. Damian Scannell then floated wide, prior to finding Ryan Moss who arrowed an effort into the side netting from inside the area. Then on 55 minutes, the hosts were awarded a penalty. Healey’s run opened up space for Addai to run into, before he was dragged down 12 yards from goal. Fisher stepped up before confidently converting his spot-kick into the corner, giving Edwards no chance. With the game still dangerously back-and-forth, Dulwich found a well-taken equaliser after 63 minutes. Moss found himself with space out on the right flank, before his low cross arrived at the feet of McDonald, who skilfully flicked the ball past Aron Pollock before finding the far bottom corner.
Clunis then forced another fine stop from Haigh, who had to be at full-stretch to tip the Dulwich winger’s effort away from danger. Though with the ball falling kindly to Mitchell Nelson, the full-back delivered a pass to the former, who forced another fine stop, as his following deflected effort came through to the keeper. With the last significant action of the game, Addai’s dangerous cross just evaded Healey at the near post, who was put under pressure by Matt Drage.
With a point to show for their endeavour, Keith Rowland’s side will be confident about climbing up the table if they continue to show the same resiliency.
WingateTV interview with Mark Goodman:
Wingate & Finchley:
Chris Haigh, Mark Goodman, Tommy Cummings, Ahmet Rifat, Aron Pollock, Leon Fisher (Joe Foley 83), Alex Addai, Alfie Bartram, Billy Healey, Freddie Moncur (Ola Sogbanmu 56), Rob Laney (Karl Oliyide 73),
Karl Oliyide, Joe Foley, Ola Sogbanmu, Jack Read, Karl Stevenson
Preston Edwards, Mitchell Nelson, Jordan Hibbert, Gus Sow (Danny Waldren 55), Matt Drage, Osei Sankefa, Nyren Clunis, Ahley Carew, Ryan Moss (Rhys Murrell-Williamson 76), Damian Scannell (Reece Hackett-Fairchild 89), Dean McDonald.
Danny Waldren, Kevin James, Rhys Murrell-Williamson, Jack Dixon, Reece Hackett-Fairchild