Wingate & Finchley slipped to a third consecutive defeat in this post-Christmas period, this time against local rivals Hendon in a seven-goal thriller at Earlsmead, writes Khalid Karimullah.
With the rain hammering down ferociously, both sets of players knew that the potential winners would come down to who’s defence could remain more resolute. It was the visitors who first looked to test the nerve of their hosts. After Mark Goodman, Tommy Tejan-Sie and Rob Laney combined well down the right flank, the latter’s dangerous cross into the six yard box looking for Billy Healey was just cleared away.
With the Blues still applying all the pressure, Laney’s subsequent contribution of a tremendous strike from almost 25 yards beat Joe Wright, but not the woodwork as the ball bounced downwards and just on the line. Goodman then found Tejan-Sie drifting unmarked into the box with a visionary through-ball, however the latter’s angled shot went inches wide across the face of goal.
It took a quarter of an hour for Hendon to get into the flow of the game. After Oliver Sprague’s hopeful ball from the back found Carl McCluskey, the forwards curled effort was well held by the outstretched Bobby Smith. Minutes later, against the run of play, Adam Wallace was left wide open in the box, though his cut-back to Kezie Ibe produced no end result as his shot was well saved again by Smith.
Three minutes later, the North Finchley outfit found themselves in a deserved lead. Tejan-Sie making his way from the back found Lee Barney, before he laid the ball into the path of Healey who made no mistake as his wonderful finish accurately found the bottom corner. Dan Brown then found Barney, who made his way onto the right side of Wesley Fonguck, though Wright did well to make the save with his legs. The forward however had another chance from the resulting rebound, though as the ball was creeping in, Luke Tingey unknowingly made a vital block.
Good pressure then being applied by Ola Sogbanmu and Tejan-Sie allowed the latter to find Barney just inside the box, though his powerful drilled shot went wide. Suddenly the away support was sent into a frenzy after seeing their side double the lead. A Tejan-Sie corner found the head of Laney who did well to find Leon Solomon at the far post, who made no mistake from no more than six yards as he smashed the ball past Wright.
That 2-0 advantage didn’t last no longer than three minutes. Fonguck’s ball from the back found Wallace, who broke away from his marker before giving Smith no chance, as he curled the ball past the full-stretched goalkeeper. Despite conceding, at the other end Healey and Brown combined well, before the midfielder found Barney who’s shot on the turn was well saved. Wallace, to the frustration of the away side, then grabbed himself a double. A cutting pass allowed the clinical forward to break away from the defence, prior to seeing his curled effort find the bottom corner despite Smith getting a touch to it.
Tejan-Sie then angled his shot wide after great wing play by Laney, before Smith had to be at his best to make a spectacular double save. Wallace was denied his hat-trick from close range after he drifted into the box, before the rebound fell to McCluskey who’s effort from six yards was saved by the goalkeeper’s legs. The break failed to disrupt the flow of the game after Brown, soon after the restart, scored his first goal for Wingate in tremendous fashion. Tejan-Sie’s pass looking for Brown was subsequently cleared away by Sam Flegg, though only as far as the latter who took full advantage curling in a floated finish into the top corner, and over the helpless Wright.
Goodman and Tejan-Sie then combined for a carbon-copy chance as seen in the first half. The former found the latter breaking in on goal, though his angled shot this time had to be saved by Wright from close-range. Tejan-Sie again was involved finding Healey, who’s half-volleyed attempt made it’s way over the woodwork. Despite Lane’s side playing with a high-tempo, suddenly a sixth goal was witnessed, to the home fans delight. Tingey’s curled floated pass came to Ibe, who skilfully flicked his effort past the bewildered Smith from six yards. There were however strong suggestions that it was an offside goal, as even some amongst the home crowd were surprised that the goal stood.
Smith again had to be at his best after Dean Cracknell’s drilled shot looking for the bottom corner had to be palmed away, after a fortunate chance fell to the midfielder from a half cleared corner. Laney, Goodman and Sogbanmu then combined with intricate play, before the latters vigorous shot could only make it’s way over the crossbar. Joe Foley, making his first team debut, played a lovely pass to the feet of Tejan-Sie who’s accurate strike forced Wright to make a great reaction save.
Despite Wingate’s pressure, the game ended in disappointment for the visitors after Hendon grabbed a late winner six minutes from time. Substitute Ryan Gondoh’s angled pass fell to the feet of Ibe who powered his way towards goal, before he found the bottom corner despite the attempts of the on-rushing Smith. There was a lot of frustration after the game amongst the Blues squad, who will have to bounce back quickly with a huge Ryman League Cup Quarter-Final at Enfield Town on Tuesday evening.
Wingate & Finchley:
Bobby Smith, Mark Goodman, Joe Foley, Ola Sogbanmu (Karl Oliyide 89), Tarik Moore-Azille, Leon Solomon, Dan Brown, Tommy Tejan Sie (Joe Sharpe 89), Billy Healey, Lee Barney, Rob Laney
Subs not used:
Joe Sharpe, Karl Oliyide, Bradley Hewitt, Martel Powell, Courtney Austin
WingateTV interview with Daniel Brown
Meanwhile, the club released a statement on Sunday concerning their manager Simon Lane.
It read: “On Sunday Simon Lane attended a meeting with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman to discuss the season so far, and the outcome of the meeting was a mutual agreement for Simon to step down from his role at the club.
“Both parties agree that results are absolutely not a factor in this decision. However, a better way of working internally for both parties unfortunately could not be found, hence a parting of the ways was the only way forward.
“Simon would like to thank the players, staff and volunteers for their great efforts this season and wishes the club all the very best for the future.
“In return we would like to thank Simon for his efforts this season and we wish Simon all the best in his next role in football.”