WINGATEWEBA disappointing second half led saw Wingate & Finchley lose a seven-goal thriller on a bitterly cold afternoon at the Abrahams Stadium, writes Nikhil Saglani.

Ryman League Premier Division:
Wingate & Finchley 3 East Thurrock United 4
Saturday, 13 December, 2014

TABLE
FIXTURES & RESULTS

The visitors threatened early on with chances from Sam Higgins and Reece Harris flying over the crossbar.

However, on 12 minutes, a heavy spell of pressure from the hosts led to Ola Sogbanmu heading home a floated cross from Marc Weatherstone to open the scoring. Chances from Tommy Tejan-Sie for Wingate and Mitchell Gilbey for the visitors were well held by the respective goalkeepers before the visiting side equalised. On 22 minutes, Higgins, David Bryant and Tom Stephens combined well down Thurrock’s left and Bryant’s excellent cross was headed home by Connor Witherspoon to level the score.

David Knight had the chance to restore Wingate’s lead a minute later but his shot flew wide of David Hughes’ left hand post. More good work down Wingate’s right side between Rob Laney, Knight and Weatherstone led to the latter heading over from inside the box on 25 minutes.

On 36 minutes, an excellent flicked pass from Sogbanmu led to Knight controlling the ball inside the box but he was tripped and Wingate were awarded a spot kick. Knight took the penalty himself and sent Hughes the wrong way to put the hosts 2-1 up. Six minutes later, Knight found the net again in a contender for goal of the season. Richard Graham played the ball from deep in behind the visitors’ back four which Knight collected, steered past one defender and curled home a sublime effort from the edge of the penalty area across the helpless Hughes.

Wingate seemed to be going into half-time two goals to the good but the visitors responded straight away when Harris rifled home a loose ball from the edge of the penalty area to reduce the deficit back to one goal at the break.

The second half began with heavy pressure from East Thurrock, forcing Bobby Smith in goal to make several saves, including an excellent one on the hour mark from a Bryant shot on the edge of the box. However, he was beaten on 74 minutes when a square ball from Stephens allowed substitute Lewis Smith to tap in, and equalise, from six yards out. Two minutes later, the visitors took the lead when James Kaloczi tripped Smith in the area and Higgins sent Wingate keeper Smith the wrong way to put East Thurrock 4-3 up.

The visitors were holding on for their lives for the last 15 minutes as chances from Weatherstone and Ahmet Rifat were well saved by Hughes in goal for East Thurrock and two Kaloczi chances went over the bar. The game ended disappointingly for the hosts after another squandered lead cost them all three points.

Wingate:
Smith, Weatherstone, Kaloczi, Rifat, Wright (Marsh-Brown 45), Graham (Suddell 79), Lake, Sogbanmu (Goodman 66), Tejan-Sie, Laney, Knight. Subs: Joseph, Allen.

East Thurrock:
Hughes, Sammons, Stephens, Peddie (Paxman 70), Goodacre, Wood, Gilbey (Smith 52), Witherspoon, Higgins, Bryant (Symons 82), Harris.

Referee:
Benjamin James

Attendance:
138